Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs (TLAC)

Detailed information for 2016/2017





Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to collect tuition fees and living accommodation costs for all publicly funded universities and degree-granting colleges in Canada.

Data release - September 7, 2016


The Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs (TLAC) survey collects data for full-time students at Canadian degree-granting institutions that are publicly funded. This annual survey was developed to provide an overview of tuition and additional compulsory fees, and living accommodation costs for an academic year.

The TLAC survey data are used to
- provide stakeholders, the public and students with annual tuition costs and changes in tuition fees from the previous year
- contribute to a better understanding of the costs to obtain a degree
- contribute to education policy development
- contribute to the Consumer Price Index
- facilitate interprovincial comparisons
- facilitate comparisons between institutions.

Reference period: Academic year (September 1 to April 30)


  • Education, training and learning

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all public degree-granting institutions (universities and colleges) in Canada; that is, those who offer programs leading to degrees as defined by the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC). These are: Bachelor's degrees, Applied (Bachelor's) degrees, Applied Master's degrees, Master's degrees, and Doctoral degrees. Such degrees are more commonly offered by universities.

Instrument design

The questionnaire for this survey has remained stable over the years, although the format and wording have been modified based on feedback from survey respondents and data users.

In 2007/2008, the TLAC questionnaire was restructured to correspond with the changes to Statistics Canada's Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). As a result, the fields of study for which the TLAC survey collects and disseminates data became subject to the CIP. The CIP is developed jointly by Statistics Canada and the National Center for Education Statistics. It is based on work undertaken as part of the creation of the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) by Canada, the United States and Mexico.

For the 2008/2009 TLAC data collection, changes were made to the TLAC questionnaire CIP groupings to increase data quality and comparability. The new fields of study presented for both undergraduate and graduate programs were adapted from the CIP.

At the undergraduate level, the "Medicine" field of study was subdivided into four individual fields of study: Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary medicine.

At the graduate level, "Business Management and Public Administration" was subdivided into Executive MBA and Regular MBA.

As of 2008/2009, the undergraduate and graduate fields of study used for TLAC are:

- Education
- Visual and Performing Arts, and Communications Technologies
- Humanities
- Social and Behavioural Sciences
- Law, legal professions and studies
- Business, Management and Public Administration
- Physical and Life Sciences and Technologies
- Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences
- Engineering
- Architecture and Related Technologies
- Agriculture, Natural Resources and Conservation
- Dentistry
- Medicine
- Nursing
- Pharmacy
- Veterinary medicine
- Other Health, Parks, Recreation and Fitness
- Personal, Protective and Transportation Services
- Other

As of 2008/2009, the fields of study for undergraduates and graduates are virtually the same, but the graduate fields of study also include Executive Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Regular MBA.

Each year TLAC collects data for the previous and current academic year. The previous academic year data are revised and finalized; the current academic year data are preliminary and will be revised and finalized in the next collection cycle.


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

Data collection for this reference period: 2016-04-13 to 2016-07-29

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

As of 2011/2012, all universities and degree-granting colleges began reporting their fees using an Excel file distributed through the Electronic File Transfer Service (EFTS). Formerly, a paper questionnaire was used for data collection.

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

Error detection

A Statistical Analysis System (SAS) program is run on the completed file, comparing each institution to the previous year's results. Any significant changes are investigated with the respondents.


No imputation was done.


This methodology type does not apply to this survey program.

Quality evaluation

Each year a data comparison is done (percentage increases for major cells) for each university and college. Any major discrepancies are investigated with the respondent.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which 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.

Institution-level data are available for purchase upon request.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey program.

Data accuracy

All surveys are subject to errors. Only non-sampling errors apply to this survey given that there was no sampling process used to produce the final results. While considerable effort is made to ensure that universities and colleges are preparing information in accordance with the General Instructions to ensure comparability of the information at the aggregate level and ensure consistency and comparability over time in institutional reporting, major differences in operations and/or policies and/or differences in institutional interpretation/implementation of the General Instructions affect the comparability of the information over time and with other institutions.


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