Biotechnology Firm Survey

Detailed information for 1997




Every 2 years

Record number:


The Biotechnology Firm Survey provides information on companies developing new products and processes using biotechnologies. The survey was designed to differentiate between biotechnology users and biotechnology innovators.

Data release - August 19, 1998


The Biotechnology Firm Survey was aimed at firms actively conducting research and development and considered to be the core biotechnology firms. The survey was conducted as part of a project to develop biotechnology statistics under the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy. It was funded under the Canadian Biotechnology Strategy. Partners include Industry Canada, the Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat, Agriculture Canada, National Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Resources Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Health Canada, and Environment Canada.

These federal departments along with other government agencies, provincial government departments, business and academia are the principal audience.

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.


  • Biotechnology
  • Research and development
  • Science and technology

Data sources and methodology

Instrument design

The questionnaire was prepared with active input from partners and in consultation with a group of biotechnology experts with a variety of specialties and interests. Following the initial design work, the questionnaire was field-tested with potential respondents, whose comments on the design and content were incorporated into the final version


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

The sample of the survey is made of units that are sampled with certainty, also referred to as "must-take-all" list. This list is made of firms which names and addresses are provided by Statistics Canada, industry experts and other partners to the survey, namely, Industry Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and BioteCanada. This list was made of 475 firms that received the questionnaire.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: April to July of the year following the reference period

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data was collected through respondent completed questionnaires in paper format (mail or fax). The first questionnaire was used as a pre-contact and helped target the population and determine the name and correct mailing address for the respondent. Questionnaires were mailed out with mail, telephone and fax follow ups carried out for to elicit a response from non-respondents. In some cases, respondents completed the questionnaire over the phone with responses entered on a paper questionnaire by the interviewer.

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


Two imputation techniques are used. Deterministic or deductive imputation is used in cases where logical relations exist among variables. In other cases, hot-deck imputation consisting in choosing a random donor from the same homogenous response group as the non-respondent, is used.


The overall response was 83%. The results were weighted to reflect the entire count of firms in the selected industries. Estimates were vetted for compliance with confidentiality rules. Data quality was assessed in consultation with the methodology team, and when the data were unreliable, they were not published.

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 survey received a very good respondents' co-operation. The response rate was 83%. The imputation rate was generally low for the survey: ranging from a low of 0 to high of 5.3%, resulting in an average imputation rate of 3.7% for the entire survey.
Analysis of non-respondents was also conducted. No evidence of bias was found as these analyses showed that non-respondents had the same characteristics as respondents.

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