Survey of Innovation

Detailed information for 1994-1996





Record number:


The information collected by this survey provides information on innovation and innovation activities of Canadian businesses and their characteristics.

Data release - -


The survey is part of an on-going program to measure innovation in Canada. To meet this objective the survey collects information on new and significantly improved products and processes introduced during a three year time period. The information collected by this survey provides information innovation and innovation activities of Canadian businesses and their characteristics. Some topics can include innovation activities, sources of information, problems and obstacles, impact of innovation, cooperative and collaborative arrangements for innovation, business success factors, intellectual property protection, and use of government support programs. The survey is conducted every 3-4 years, depending on need, and covers a 3-year reference period. Industries surveyed may vary from survey to survey. Coverage is largely determined by client sponsorship.

Estimates produced from the survey are used by:
" firms for market analysis;
" trade associations to study performance and other characteristics of their industries;
" government to develop national and regional economic policies.

Surveys of innovation at Statistics Canada have included the 1993 Survey of Innovation and Advanced Technology which surveyed manufacturing firms; the Survey of Innovation, 1996 which surveyed the communications, financial services and technical business services industries; the 1999 Survey of Innovation, Advanced Technologies and practices in the Construction and Related Industries Survey; and the Survey of Innovation 1999 which surveyed manufacturing and selected natural resource industries for the reference period 1997-1999. The Survey of Innovation 2003 surveys information and communication technology industries; selected professional, scientific and technical services industries; selected natural resource support service industries; and selected transportation industries for the reference period 2000-2003.

Statistical activity

Science and technology (S&T) and the information society are changing the way we live, learn and work. The concepts are closely intertwined: science generates new understanding of the way the world works, technology applies it to develop innovative products and services and the information society is one of the results of the innovations.

People are looking to Statistics Canada to measure and explain the social and economic impacts of these changes.

The purpose of this Program is to develop useful indicators of S&T activity in Canada based on a framework that ties them together in a coherent picture.

Collection period: end of fall of reference period


  • Innovation
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Three broad industry groups were targeted for the survey. The communications industries include telecommunication carriers, radio broadcasters, television broadcasters, cable companies, combined radio and television broadcasters, and other telecommunication industries. The financial services industries are comprised of chartered banks, trust companies and life insurers. Finally, technical business services includes four industries from Business Service Industries: computer services, related computer services, the offices of engineers, and other scientific and technical service industries.


This is a sample survey.

The frames for each of the industry groups were drawn from three distinct sources. For the communications industries, a census was taken of all business organizations licensed to operate in Canada by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). For financial services, a list of chartered banks, trust companies and life insurers, based on the survey strategy was used. This consisted of a census of banks and trust companies and a near-census of life insurers (a small sample was drawn of some of the smaller units). For technical business services industries, a sample was drawn from Statistics Canada's Business Register, a comprehensive database of all businesses in Canada. For the first two industry groups, the survey was conducted at the firm level. For the latter group, the survey was conducted at the establishment level.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The survey was conducted in three stages. Initial contact with some larger companies confirmed the name of the person who would receive and complete the questionnaire. This was followed by a mail-out of the questionnaire to survey respondents. Finally, interviewers conducted follow-up telephone interviews with respondents who had returned incomplete questionnaires or who had not responded to the mailed out questionnaire. The majority of responses to the survey were collected through telephone interviews.

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

Error detection

Validity and flow edits were built into the data capture system and were applied during data collection and data entry. Validity edits ensured that responses to particular questions fell within a limited range of possible values. Post collection consistency edits were applied to complete questionnaires.


Response rates on a question-by-question basis were generally between 95% and 100%. In light of this, imputation for missing data was not extensively required. However, the importance of having data on firm size, as measured by employment, necessitated imputing data for a small number of cases where information on firm size was not provided. The value imputed was based on a variety of factors known to be related to employment size, including industry, revenue, and innovation status.
Responses were weighted to reflect the average respondent within that population. Within technical business services and financial services, responses were weighted to reflect both the sampling strategy and non-response. Within the communications sector, only the latter correction was necessary, given that a census was taken.


The response rate for the survey was calculated as the total number of completed questionnaires as a percentage of the total active, in-scope survey sample.

Given the low rate of non-response to the survey, it was decided that it would be reasonable to assume that the characteristics of the non-response population were the same as the respondent population. Accordingly, it was decided that the contribution of non-response to the estimates was to be accounted for by adjusting the sample weights of the respondent population.

Estimates based upon the responses to the survey questions are population estimates; that is, they represent the percentage of businesses in the population that exhibit a particular characteristic. The population estimates are generated through the accumulation of the product of the response variable and the sample weight for the defined tabulation cells.

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

The response rate for the survey was calculated as the total number of completed questionnaires as a percentage of the total active, in-scope survey sample.

With response rates between 84% and 89%, non-response bias was minor.

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