Film, Video and Audio-visual Production Survey

Detailed information for 1997





Record number:


This is a census of film, video and audio-visual production operations in Canada. Financial, production and employment statistics on this industry are collected.

Data release - April 3, 2000


This is a census of film, video and audio-visual production operations in Canada. Data from this survey will provide financial, employment, production (number of units produced) and content (Canadian) statistics on this industry.

Data are also available by type of client. This survey is one of a number done by the Culture Statistics Program, Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics, Statistics Canada. These surveys are intended to provide a better understanding of the size and dimensions of the industries which make up the broad culture field across Canada, and changes over time.

The data are intended to reach an audience comprised of businesses (for market analysis), trade associations, government officials, academics, researchers and policy makers.

Data from this survey are used with data from the Film, Video and Audio-visual Post-production Survey (record number 2415) to provide a composite picture of the film industry.

Statistical activity

Statistics Canada data, which describe the Canadian film and video industry, are collected through four separate surveys. Each describes a different segment of the industry. Given the volatility of activity in this sector, data are collected annually through census surveys. This approach ensures the production of reliable indicators for monitoring the health and vitality of the industry.

The surveys that are part of this program are:
Film and Audio-visual Distribution (record number 2414);
Film, Video and Audio-visual Post-production (record number 2415);
Film, Video and Audio-visual Production Survey (record number 2413); and
Motion Picture Theatres Survey (record number 2416).

The survey is currently administered as part of the Culture Statistics Program, which was established in 1972 to create, maintain and make available timely and comprehensive data on the culture sector in Canada. Specialized client-driven information needs are met through analytical studies of such topics as the economic impact of culture, the consumption of culture goods and services, government, personal and corporate spending on culture, the culture labour market, and international trade of culture goods and services.

The Guide to Culture Statistics (available through the online catalogue number 87-008-GIE (free)) has been developed by the Culture Statistics Program to facilitate access to culture information throughout Statistics Canada.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: Collection usually starts three to four months after the reference period end date. It typically lasts for five months.


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Business performance and ownership
  • Culture and leisure
  • Film and video
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Information and culture

Data sources and methodology

Target population

This survey covers all businesses or organizations engaged in film, video and audio-visual production in Canada. This includes foreign-controlled units operating in Canada. Revenues of subsidiaries or foreign branches are not included. Data for government boards, agencies, crown corporations or departments are not released.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was originally designed in 1952 in consultation with industry association members and experts.

A detailed question on international service receipts was added in 1997.


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

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Questionnaires are usually mailed in the late second quarter or early third quarter, and collection is completed by the fourth quarter of the same year.

The respondent is asked to mail in the completed questionnaire, but in some cases, for example when the respondent is late in responding or has misplaced the return envelope, data are collected by the interviewer over the phone. Faxing in the data is not recommended because of the potential breach in confidentiality that may result (i.e. if fax is sent to wrong number).

Data are captured using the BLAISE system. If there are critical errors during data capture, the data capture program will indicate this immediately. The data entry officer will then either correct the error, or contact the respondent to verify the data or confirm that the data are incorrect and obtain the correct value. Once data is entered a failed edit report is run to isolate other errors.

Mail and telephone are used in follow-ups for late respondents, while telephone only is used for data verification or correction.

Error detection

Electronic edit specifications built into the BLAISE data capture system detect errors in the field, whether through historic checks, verification of changes or extreme values, or consistency of two or more current cells. These are noted in a failed-edit report. The electronic edits are done at the micro-level.

Further error detection is done by the project manager. Specifically, checks are done for the largest units, and large or significant year-over-year changes. These are done at the micro- and macro-levels.


Imputation is done using previous year's records if available, and other sources of data such as company web pages, other Internet sources, directories, etc. If none of this is available, data of similar units (same province, approximate revenue or employment) are used.

If no information is available for the respondent other than province, a random unit is selected from that same province. A revenue restriction is also used in the selection as it is assumed that the respondent is a smaller unit with low or mid-sized revenues, given the lack of data and information concerning this unit.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Data quality is largely dependent upon the accuracy of the figures reported by respondents, as well as accuracy of data entry. Data for the current year are compared with data reported for the previous year, and large amounts or variations are confirmed with the respondents. This is done at the micro-level.

Large amounts or large year-over-year changes for publicly traded companies can be verified using Sedar (on the Internet) or on company websites.

Macro-level comparisons are also done once micro-level ones are complete. If macro-level year-over-year comparisons show substantial changes, further micro-level verifications are performed.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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.

Strict disclosure guidelines are used to ensure that standard tables, as well as special request data meet confidentiality requirements. These include checks on cells counts, dominance by one (1) or several units for particular cells, and residual disclosure (when comparison of two sets of data results in disclosure of individual data). If tabular data are confidential, they are suppressed, and noted as such. To avoid residual disclosure, the value of a second cell is also suppressed. In some cases, particularly for special requests, data categories are collapsed in order to provide data as per client needs.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

Potential sources of error for the Film, Video and Audio-visual Production Survey include:
Overcoverage (i.e. double counting, or two producers reporting the same data);
Undercoverage -- missing units whether newly formed or existing for some time;
Respondent error;
Data entry errors by Statistics Canada staff; and
Compilation and dissemination errors.

Given that this is a census of film production operations not a sample survey, coefficients of variation were not calculated.

Errors are corrected by the survey manager once the complete data file has been received from Survey Operations Division. Changes are made by referring to previous years data, published sources (on Internet or otherwise), or general industry trends. For each series of changes to the raw datafile, the electronic edit check program is re-run and the failed-edit report is looked at to see if errors have been fixed, or if new ones have been introduced.

The data accuracy for the section on Production Activities is questionable given a low response rate for this section, and the difficulty in imputing for individual titles. In fact, parts of this section (production and development budget, tax credit information) are not imputed.

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