Survey of Federal Government Expenditures in Support of Education (FEDEX)

Detailed information for 2011-2012





Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to collect data on federal government expenditures in support of education.

Data release - July 2, 2014


The Federal Government Expenditures in Support of Education survey enables Statistics Canada to determine, in detail, direct federal government financial support for education at all levels by department and by province/territory. A standard questionnaire is sent to all federal government departments and agencies with programs related to education and training.

Users of these data include stakeholders from both inside and outside of Statistics Canada. The information collected from this survey, as well as the other finance surveys, gives governments and various associations involved in the field of education, information which assists in the formulation of education policy. External users of these data include federal government departments which of course are also data providers. Data collected are also used to reconcile financial data from other sources. Moreover, these data are included as part of the inputs under ''Total education revenues and expenditures in Canada'' which is required by many organizations.

Other divisions within Statistics Canada also use these data "indirectly" as inputs into their statistical programs, for example, annual benchmarks are produced for sub-annual surveys of labour income and to feed the System of National Accounts and the Public Institutions Division. Data from this survey are also used to feed information to international organizations such as the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Moreover, these data are also used as inputs to the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program as well as the Canadian Social Trends publication.

Reference period: April 1 - March 31

Collection period: March to December


  • Education finance
  • Education, training and learning
  • Government

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is federal government departments, agencies, commissions, boards and crown corporations.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was originally designed many years ago by Statistics Canada and other federal government departments which were directly involved in the education sector. Since the original design dates back to the early 1980s, information on details of the questionnaire design, testing or focus groups is not available.

A few minor changes were made in the questionnaire design in the early 2000s, including an "Authorization to release Statement" as well as statement indicating to respondents that if they choose to send data by fax or other electronic means, Statistics Canada cannot guarantee their confidentiality. Only when the data are actually received can the Statistics Act guarantee confidentiality.

The questionnaire with reference year 2003-04 was re-designed in 2004-05 as cell numbers had to be added in order to be compatible with the new "Blaise" data capture program.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys.

Introductory letters, questionnaires and guideline booklets are mailed out to a frequently updated list of federal government departments, agencies, commissions, boards and crown corporations every February requesting three years of data: the most recent actual, the budgeted data for the subsequent year and the estimated data for the year after that.

The collection process extends over most of the year as some departments take longer than others to reply depending of course on the complexity and number of educational programs at all four levels of education.

Questionnaires are received in various forms such as FAX, mail, e-mail, etc. within a month or so. If not, follow-ups are started.

Beginning with reference year 2003-2004, data are captured using Blaise software.

Derived supplementary data are obtained from a survey conducted by Statistics Canada called "Federal Science Expenditures and Personnel, Activities in the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences" (record number 4212).

Both the derived and questionnaire data are then combined in SAS by support staff and various tables are produced so that the analysts can verify and analyse the data.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

The Blaise system applies pre-programmed edits and flags potential errors in the early stages of the data capture. At this stage, Blaise's capture edits ensure that certain cells are not left blank, that others are numeric or textual only. Some edits ensure that answers are restricted to a certain size to meet the requirements of the answers being sought. For example, the year variable can only have four characters. Furthermore, some cells are hard-coded with an answer so that the respondent can see what answer was given in the past and can make the necessary changes to them, i.e. education program names if required.

After the capture edits, the Blaise system does the edit checks to ensure that "Recipient Type", "Expenditure Item", "Expenditure Type" and "Level of Education" are completed for all respective cells and all years. If not, a warning message pops up. In addition, the Blaise system does numerous checks and control totals for the actual dollar amounts in the cells of the questionnaire. For example, "flags" are raised if the total of certain cells exceeds, or shows a blank, in some other corresponding cell within the same category.

The edit failures are corrected accordingly and re-entered in the questionnaire. These corrections are done by either simple means or having to contact the respondents.


Imputation for missing, invalid or incomplete (i.e. after thorough follow-up attempts) is generally done by the survey manager and is based on historical estimation using the same department's responses from the previous year(s) and in(de)flation. Other published sources are rarely but sometimes used.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Before finalizing or releasing the data each year, they are compared to the previous year's figures by the survey manager using percentage increases or decreases of the dollar amounts. Relatively large increases or decreases, by program, are investigated and there maybe call-backs to the institutions if warranted. Data from this survey can be checked with other published sources. For example, if a department shows or announces, in its Public Accounts, general increases in spending for certain education programs during a particular year and the Statistics Canada FEDEX survey they filled in shows a decrease on the other hand, then a call-back would definitely be made.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

No seasonal adjustment or calendarization is necessary for this survey. The survey manager makes revisions to the Final year figures if necessary and material.

Data accuracy

Only non-sampling errors apply to this survey as no sampling process was used to produce the final results. Also, since the response rate for the data collected by questionnaire is over 85% annually on average and only 15% is imputed using previous year's trends, it can be said that the data are quite accurate. Furthermore, the fact that we collect three years in one, (a final, and two estimates for future years) gives added confidence when imputing figures for missing data during a particular year. Furthermore, given that the survey respondents are also public institutions such as Statistics Canada, there is more willingness, in general, for the respondents to complete the questionnaire and to do so in an accurate and timely fashion. In addition, the guidelines that are sent with the questionnaires are quite explicit and fairly easy to understand thus contributing to the accuracy of the survey.

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