Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP)

Detailed information for 2004




Every 3 years

Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to collect data regarding unpaid volunteer activities, charitable giving and participation. The results will help build a better understanding of these activities which can in turn be used to help develop programs and services.

Data release - June 5, 2006


The Canada Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP) is the result of a partnership of federal government departments and voluntary sector organizations that includes Imagine Canada, Canadian Heritage, Health Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and Volunteer Canada. This survey is an important source of information on Canadian contributory behaviour, including giving, volunteering and participating.

The objectives of the CSGVP are threefold:

1) to collect national data to fill a void of information about individual contributory behaviours including volunteering, charitable giving and participation;
2) to provide reliable and timely data to the System of National Accounts; and
3) to inform both the public and voluntary sectors in policy and program decisions that relate to the charitable and volunteer sector.


  • Labour
  • Society and community
  • Unpaid work
  • Volunteering and donating

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the 10 Canadian provinces is all persons 15 years of age and older, excluding full-time residents of institutions.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was extensively tested using focus groups and a pilot survey was conducted in the provinces (April 2004).


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

The sample for the CSGVP 2004 was generated using random digit dialing (RDD) sampling. The sample is based on a stratified design employing probability sampling. The stratification was done at the province/census metropolitan area (CMA) level. Information was collected from one randomly selected household member aged 15 or older, and proxy responses were not permitted.

The territorial component of CSGVP was administered to a sub-sample of the dwellings in the Labour Force Survey sample. Unlike the LFS where information is collected for all eligible household members, the CSGVP only collected information from one randomly selected household member and proxy responses were not permitted. The LFS uses a probability sample that is based on a stratified multi-stage design.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2004-08-30 to 2004-12-19

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Provinces and Territories:
Data for the provinces was collected using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system, while the data for the territories was collected using CATI and computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) systems. Responses to survey questions are captured directly by the interviewer at the time of the interview using a computerized questionnaire. The CSGVP was administered to one randomly selected individual per household. The interviewer asked to speak to the randomly selected person. If the selected person was not available, the interviewer arranged for a convenient time to phone back. Proxy response was not allowed, hence the collection period was extended until December to allow the interviewers time to contact the selected individuals.

Further sub-sampling was carried out, in the provinces only, on respondents who were not volunteers. After completion of the first set of questions relating to volunteer activities, respondents who were not volunteers had a 50% chance of being dropped from the survey, which was determined by a pre-programmed random selection process. While these respondents were used in calculating the response rates, they are not included in the final data file.

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

Error detection

The first stage of survey processing undertaken at head office was the replacement of any "out-of-range" values on the data file with blanks. This process was designed to make further editing easier.

The first type of error treated was errors in questionnaire flow, where questions which did not apply to the respondent (and should therefore not have been answered) were found to contain answers. In this case a computer edit automatically eliminated superfluous data by following the flow of the questionnaire implied by answers to previous, and in some cases, subsequent questions.

The second type of error treated involved a lack of information in questions which should have been answered. For this type of error, a non-response or "not-stated" code was assigned to the item except for certain cases where an imputation process was used to derive a value.


All imputations involved donors that were selected using a score function. For each item non-response or partial non-response records (also called recipient records), we compared certain characteristics to characteristics from all the donors. When the characteristics were the same between a donor and the recipient, a value was added to the score of that donor. The donor with the highest score was deemed the "closest" donor and was chosen to fill in missing pieces of information of the non-respondents. If there was more than one donor with the highest score, a random selection occurred. The pool of donors was made up in such a way that the imputed value assigned to the recipient, in conjunction with other non-imputed items from the recipient would still pass the edits.


For the microdata file, statistical weights were placed on each record to represent the number of sampled persons that the record represents.

The weighting for the provincial component of the survey consists of several steps: calculation of a basic telephone weight, followed by several adjustments such as adjustments for unresolved telephone numbers and for dropping out-of-scope telephone numbers, adjustment for the number of telephone lines in the household, adjustments for non-response (household level and person level), adjustment for selecting only one person from the household, adjustment for sub-sampling non-volunteers and identification of outliers, adjustment of the weights for outliers and an adjustment of provincial charitable donation quartiles (replacing the previous cycle's personal income adjustment). The last step of weighting consists of an adjustment (calibration) to make population estimates consistent with Census projections for persons 15 years and older (by province / CMA; and by province, sex and age group).

The weighting for the territorial component of the survey takes into account the fact that the survey was conducted as a supplement to the LFS. The principles behind the calculation of the weights are identical to those for the LFS. However, further adjustments are made to the LFS weights in order to derive final weights for the CSGVP microdata file. The weighting for the territorial component of the survey consists of several steps: calculation of the initial weight, followed by several adjustments such as adjustments for non-response (household level and person level), adjustment for selecting only one person from the household, and identification of outliers and adjustment of the weights for outliers and an adjustment of provincial charitable donation quartiles (replacing the previous cycle's personal income adjustment). The last step of weighting consists of an adjustment (calibration) to make population estimates consistent with Census projections for persons 15 years and older (by territory, sex and age group; and for the Inuit population projection in Nunavut).

Bootstrap procedures were used for estimation of variances for both the provincial and territorial components.

Quality evaluation

Provinces and Territories:
Considerable time and effort was made to reduce non-sampling errors in the survey. Quality assurance measures were implemented at each step of the data collection and processing cycle to monitor the quality of the data. These measures included the use of highly skilled interviewers, extensive training of interviewers with respect to the survey procedures and questionnaire, observation of interviewers to detect problems of questionnaire design or misunderstanding of instructions, procedures to ensure that data capture errors were minimized and coding and edit quality checks to verify the processing logic.

Interviewer training consisted of reading the CSGVP Procedures Manual, Interviewers' Manual, practicing with the CSGVP training cases on the computer, and discussing any questions with senior interviewers before the start of the survey. A description of the background and objectives of the survey was provided, as well as a glossary of terms and a set of questions and answers.

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

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

While considerable effort is made to ensure high standards throughout all stages of collection and processing, the resulting estimates are inevitably subject to a certain degree of error. These errors can be broken down into two major types: non-sampling and sampling.

Non-response is an important source of non-sampling error.

The response rate for the 2004 CSGVP was 57%.

The response rate for the 2004 CSGVP was 87%.

The basis for measuring the potential size of sampling errors is the standard error of the estimates derived from survey results. Because of the large variety of estimates that can be produced from a survey, the standard error of an estimate is usually expressed relative to the estimate to which it pertains. This resulting measure, known as the coefficient of variation (CV) of an estimate, is obtained by dividing the standard error of the estimate by the estimate itself and is expressed as a percentage of the estimate.

Please refer to the Microdata User Guide for detailed information.


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