Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth (CHSCY)

Detailed information for 2016 (pilot)





Record number:


The Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth (CHSCY) is designed to paint a portrait of the health and well-being of Canadian children and youth by collecting information about factors influencing their physical and mental health. The survey covers a broad range of topics related to the overall health of children and youth including chronic conditions, injuries, physical activity, nutrition and their social environment (family, friends, and communities).

Data release - March 28, 2018


The 2016 Pilot Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth tested survey content, methodology, computer applications, interviewer procedures, reference material and data processing techniques in preparation for the 2019 survey collection.
Data results from the 2016 Pilot Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth are based on a sample of 1,528 respondents. Weights are not provided that would permit estimates representative of the Canadian population. Therefore, findings from the data file represent only the cohort who responded to the pilot survey. This sample data is intended for exploratory purposes and for providing Statistics Canada feedback on content, and not for benchmarking or policy-making. The data from the 2019 survey will permit representative estimates.

The main objectives of the 2019 Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth are:

- To provide current, detailed and ongoing health-related information on children and youth at the national, provincial and territorial levels;
- To provide information to support evidenced-based policy and program development and evaluation;
- To support research initiatives on children's health and well-being; and
- To support children's health surveillance programs by providing information on a regular and timely basis.

The data collected from the 2019 survey will be used by Statistics Canada, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, provincial and territorial ministries of health, as well as by other federal and provincial departments. The information collected from respondents will be used to monitor, plan, implement and evaluate programs to improve the health of Canadian children and youth. Researchers from various fields are also interested in the survey data and will use the information to conduct research into the various factors that affect the health and well-being of children and youth in Canada.

Collection period: Pilot survey: 2016-10-17 to 2016-12-23; Pedometer Follow-Up Study: 2017-03-22 to 2017-05-18


  • Children and youth
  • Health and well-being (youth)

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The 2016 Pilot Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth covered the population aged 1 to 17 living in the ten provinces and the three territories. Excluded from the survey's coverage were children and youth living on reserves and other Aboriginal settlements in the provinces, children and youth living in foster homes and the institutionalized population, persons living in the health regions of: Région du Nunavik and Région des Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James in Quebec, and Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabasca in Saskatchewan.

Based on a 2011 study comparing the Canadian Child Tax Benefit file with the 2011 Census of Population, there is at least 96% coverage for all provinces and 94% coverage for all Northern territories.

Instrument design

The survey content was developed based on consultation across Canada with key experts and federal and provincial stakeholders. The goal of the consultation was to provide advice to Statistics Canada on what survey content would be relevant for programs and policies and to fill data gaps related to children and youth. The questionnaire was developed by Statistics Canada, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada.

The data for the pilot were collected using an online questionnaire with computer-assisted telephone interview follow-up. A parent or guardian reported for the selected child if they were aged 1 to 11. When the selected child was aged 12 to 17, there were two questionnaires to complete: one for the parent or guardian and a second questionnaire for the youth.

As part of the pilot, a sub-sample of respondents aged 5 to 17 participated in a pedometer follow-up study which collected objective physical activity measures.

CHSCY respondents aged 5 - 17 who agreed to participate in the pedometer follow-up study were mailed an introductory letter, a pedometer, instructions and a log form. The respondents were randomly assigned to an unblinded (electronic questionnaire) or blinded (mail-back) collection method. The group assigned to the unblinded collection received an unsealed pedometer and were asked to complete an online log of step activity. The group assigned to the blinded collection received a sealed pedometer and were asked to complete a paper log form and mail both back to Statistics Canada for data extraction and capture.

Qualitative testing by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre, using face-to-face interviews, was conducted in November 2014, March 2015 and November 2015. Testing of the e-questionnaire was conducted in June 2016.


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

The sampling frame for the Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth was the Canadian Child Tax Benefit file.

The sampling units were children and youth aged 1 to 17 years of age.

The pilot sample was stratified into three age groups: children aged 1 to 4 years old, children aged 5-11 years old and youth aged 12 to 17 years old. The pilot sample was also stratified by province and territory.

The sample size for the pilot survey was 2,500 raw units.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2016-10-17 to 2016-12-23

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Respondents were given an opportunity to complete the questionnaire online using an e-questionnaire. If an e-questionnaire was not completed by November 13th, 2016, a Statistics Canada interviewer called and asked the respondent to complete the questionnaire over the telephone.

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

Error detection

Some editing of the data was performed at the time of the interview within the electronic questionnaire. The questionnaire had built-in checks for some out-of-range or extreme values that prompted respondents and interviewers to verify the recorded answer. Flow errors were controlled in the application through programmed skip patterns. For example, questions that did not apply to the respondent were not asked.

After data collection, a series of customized edits were performed on the data to identify gaps, inconsistencies, extreme outliers and other potential problems in the data. These consisted of validity checks within and across variables to identify inconsistencies, extreme outliers and other problems in the data. To resolve the problematic data identified by the edits, corrections were performed based on logical edit rules. For example, consistency edits were performed in relation to the grade enrolled in school (SCH_Q030) and the age of the selected child. Some discrepancies were observed in Quebec where the child was too old for the grade reported. For example, respondents who were 15 years of age and reported being enrolled in grade 4 were recoded to being enrolled in grade 10/ "Secondaire IV".


When household income was missing, this variable was imputed. Missing values due to either respondent refusal or respondent's lack of knowledge of household income were completed using statistical techniques. Approximately 10% of the values were imputed.

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.

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