Survey of Heritage Institutions

Detailed information for 1997/98





Record number:


This survey is conducted in order to gain a better understanding of the not-for-profit heritage institutions in Canada.

Data release - March 30, 2000


This survey is conducted to provide data to government and cultural associations in order to gain a better understanding of the not-for-profit heritage institutions in Canada and to help in the development of policies, the conduct of program evaluations and policy reviews, and the area of advocacy in the heritage sector.

Statistical activity

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: Fiscal year

Collection period: June to October


  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Business performance and ownership
  • Culture and leisure
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Information and culture
  • Museums, historic sites, archives and other heritage institutions

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The survey covers those publicly and privately owned heritage institutions whose purpose is to acquire, preserve, study, interpret, and make accessible to the public (for its instruction and enjoyment) objects, specimens, documents, buildings, and land areas of educational and cultural value including artistic, scientific, historical, technological and nature-related material. Excluded are institutions which operate primarily for the sale of objects exhibited or as profit-making endeavours or which were closed to the public during the survey period. Heritage institutions include museums (including art galleries), archives, historic sites, buildings, parks or communities, nature parks and conservation areas with interpretation or educational programs. Other related institutions include exhibition centres, planetariums, observatories, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, arboretums and conservatories.

Instrument design

The collection instrument was designed in consultation with data users and questionnaire design specialists. It was last revised in 1997.


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

This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

This survey, of non-profit heritage institutions in Canada, uses a mail-back questionnaire and telephone follow-ups. The survey is administered in the field through the Regional Offices of Statistics Canada. These offices are responsible for the mail-out, data collection, follow-up, key entry, manual and computer edits and transmittal to Culture Sub-division, documentation of data quality and data collection and the production of a work file. The Culture Subdivision of Education, Culture and Tourism Division (ECTD) is responsible for questionnaire receipt, survey design and management, maintaining reference files, file preparation for mailout, data quality, data release and liason with data users.

Error detection

Completed questionnaires are subjected to an initial manual edit at Regional Offices. A more detailed edit is performed at Head Office and respondents are followed up as required by both Regional and Head Offices. Following data capture, all questionnaires are subjected to an exhaustive computer edit to ensure correct total summations and consistency with previous year's data for key cells (e.g. revenue).

It should be noted that a number government institutions, namely parks, have reported a substantial surplus. In most cases, the institutions are not allowed to spend these surpluses, the amounts are credited to the treasuries of their governing authorities.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

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.

Data accuracy

Since not all questions apply equally to all types of institutions, some institutions may find it easier than others to answer certain questions. Consequently, response rates for specific data items differ from the total response rate to the survey.

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