Survey of Heritage Institutions

Detailed information for 1999/2000





Record number:


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

Data release - December 4, 2002


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 of questionnaires to Culture Subdivision, documentation of data quality and data collection, and the production of a work file. The Culture Subdivision of Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics (CTCES) is responsible for questionnaire receipt, survey design and management, maintaining reference files, file preparation for mail-out, data quality, data release and liaison with data users.

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


The total non-responses were estimated. For heritage institutions (excluding nature parks), units estimated for total non-response represented 2.0% of total attendance and 0.8% of total operating revenue. The units estimated for nature parks represented 1.8% of total attendance and 1.1% of total operating revenue.


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

A total of 3,448 questionnaires were sent out in December 2000 to heritage institutions. Of this number, 338 were out-of-scope, 157 were inoperative for the current year, 146 were out of business, and 203 were duplicates, bringing the eligible universe to 2,604 organizations. Of these, 126 establishments did not respond to the survey. The total number of respondents (2,478) divided by the total eligible population (2,604) gives an overall 95% response rate.

The following limitations pertain to the data collected from the 1999-2000 survey:

-Not all questions apply equally to all types of institutions: for instance, a question about the number of visits by researchers is relevant to archives and museums but less pertinent with respect to parks and zoos.

-Certain respondents did not provide a complete breakdown of their revenues and expenses.

-The 95% response rate does not necessarily apply to each question. Item response rate varies by question.

-The 1999-2000 results include estimations with respect to total non-response and key item non-response.

-Nature parks, historic parks or waterways are included in the survey population only if they have an interpretation or education centre. The data, however, cover the whole park and not exclusively the interpretation centre.

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