Elementary/Secondary Education Staff Survey (ESESS)

Detailed information for 1999-2000





Record number:


The purpose of the Elementary/Secondary Education Staff Survey is to provide the main characteristics of educators (e.g., age, sex, employment status, and staff position) in primary and secondary schools. Primary and secondary schools include public schools, private schools, federal schools, and schools for special needs students or people with vision and hearing loss in Canada.

Data release - September 18, 2003


This survey was discontinued after the 1999-2000 reference year. These data are now collected by the Elementary-Secondary Education Statistics Project (see the link in the "Documentation" section).

The purpose of the Elementary/Secondary Education Staff Survey is to provide some basic characteristics of educators. Information collected includes variables such as their age, sex, employment status, and staff position.

The information about educators is generally used by provincial or territorial departments or ministries of education, national and provincial teachers' associations, school boards, journalists and researchers, as well as the OECD and UNESCO.

Reference period: Academic year (September to June)


  • Education, training and learning
  • Teachers and educators

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Elementary/Secondary Education Staff Survey (ESESS) population includes all educators, both part-time and full-time, in primary and secondary schools in Canada.

Educators are defined as all teaching and non-teaching academic staff. This includes regular classroom teachers and instructional personnel, other instructional personnel such as substitute or resource teachers, teacher aides and teaching/research assistants, pedagogical and academic support staff such as guidance counsellors and librarians, health and social support staff such as psychologists and nurses, principals, vice-principals, other school supervisory staff, board or higher level management and board or higher level administrative personnel.

School level administrative personnel such as administrative assistants, receptionists and clerks are excluded.

Personnel on leave for the full school year are excluded.

Instrument design

The questionnaire, first developed in 1972, was designed as a paper-pencil instrument that is mailed to the principal of the school who then fills it in and mails it back.


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

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 1999-12-01 to 2000-03-31

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

There are several data sources and formats used in the creation of the Elementary/Secondary Education Staff Survey database. Statistics Canada obtains data from provincial and territorial ministries of education, or directly from schools. Depending upon the source, the format can vary from a paper questionnaire with aggregate counts to detailed electronic records submitted through Statistics Canada. The data on educators in public schools are collected from the administrative files of the provinces and territories. The data on educators in private schools, federal schools and schools for students with special needs or visually and hearing impaired are collected from questionnaires that are sent to the principals of the schools. The two sources of data are combined to create one comprehensive database.

The request for administrative electronic data files is mailed annually in December to the schools and the departments or ministries of education. It requests data from the previous completed school year. The provincial and territorial contacts are then followed up by mail or telephone.

The paper questionnaire is mailed annually in October to the principals of the schools. It requests data as of September 30th of the current school year. Data collection, data capture, preliminary editing and follow-up of non-respondent principals are all done by the Operations and Integration Division of Statistics Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. Data capture and preliminary editing are performed simultaneously to ensure the validity of the data.

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

Error detection

The data are submitted to an edit process that checks for internal consistencies, compatibilities and completeness of each data item. Error reports are generated and reviewed. Corrections are made at the microdata level.

Data tables are generated at the provincial and territorial level and compared with results from previous years and to the reports of the provincial and territorial departments or ministries of education.


The imputation of the data is done at the micro level using information from data of the same data record from previous years. Missing age variable is imputed from the 'number of years of experience' variable. For some provinces this type of imputation is automated. Information for missing data can also be estimated using other provincial or territorial departments or ministries of education files on institutions and enrolments.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

A series of quality checks are carried out which include:
1) Producing basic tabulations to ensure that Statistics Canada's data are consistent with provincial and territorial departments or ministries of education data that have been published;
2) checking for internal consistencies such as running frequencies on certain data elements; and
3) comparing the most recent data year with past date years to detect any unusual or unexpected changes. After the final file has been approved, a public release is announced in The Daily.

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.

The data are aggregated by province and territory. The tables are evaluated in accordance with the Statistics Canada rules on confidentiality.

In regard to client requests for cross-classified data, Statistics Canada does not supply any tables that could identify a person or facility. As a guideline, a cell with a count of under 3 is suppressed, and in order to avoid residual disclosure, other cells are also chosen for suppression.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The methodology of this survey has been designed to control errors and to reduce the potential effects of these. However, the results of the survey remain subject to errors - e.g. coverage, response and processing error, and errors as a result of non-response.

For public schools, the coverage of the survey is considered to be 100% of all educators in Canada.

For private schools, federal schools and schools for students with special needs and visually and hearing impaired schools the coverage of the survey is considered to be 70%.

Coverage error:
The survey frame is updated every year and ideally includes all schools for Canadian citizen students that are public, private, federal or for special needs students or people with vision or hearing loss. Every year new schools open and schools close. Although a system is in place to update the frame, it is possible that some of these changes are missed year to year. The information may not have been updated or available at the time of the creation of the source files from provincial and territorial departments or ministries of education.

Processing errors:
Within the ten provinces and three territories there are differences between the administrative data files. The codes that the provinces and territories use differ as well as some definitions such as staff positions. When converting the provincial and territorial files into a standard format there may be errors in assigning educators to the appropriate staff position.

Coefficients of variation (CV): CV's are not calculated as this survey is a census.

Response rates:
The response rates vary for the territories and from province to province. Generally the response rates are from 60% - 100%.


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