Fertilizer Shipments Survey

Detailed information for third quarter of the fertilizer year 2007/2008





Record number:


The survey will produce statistics on shipments of fertilizer in Canada by manufacturers, wholesale distributors and major retailers.

Data release - July 29, 2008


This survey is conducted by Agriculture Division on behalf of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The survey produces statistics on shipments of fertilizer in Canada by manufacturers, wholesale distributors and major retail distributors. This survey is a continuation of a survey that was formerly conducted by the Canadian Fertilizer Institute, and covers all major Canadian manufacturers, wholesale distributors and retail distributors.

The information is essential to AAFC to support Canada's international reporting obligations of inventory of Greenhouse Gas emissions governed by the terms of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol agreements.

Reference period: Fertilizer year quarter (a fertilizer year runs from July 1 to June 30.)

Collection period: July-September, October-December, January-March and April-June


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Environment
  • Land use and environmental practices

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population includes all Canadian producers, wholesale distributors and major retail distributors of fertilizer products.

Instrument design

The Fertilizer Shipments Survey questionnaires were designed by a project team made up of Statistics Canada and Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) employees, based on the questionnaire used by CFI in the past. Questionnaire design specialists were consulted in Statistics Canada.

To develop this survey, respondents were consulted in September 2007 in one-on-one in-depth interviews that asked specific questions on the best way to collect information on fertilizer shipments, to obtain accurate and reliable data. A further email study was conducted in October 2007 to clarify reporting questions, mainly to determine: how records are kept; the best way to avoid double-counting of fertilizer products with respect to use of chemicals in down-stream products; and reporting arrangements for flows of shipments (among producers, wholesale distributors and retail distributors).

The questionnaires were then revised based on questionnaire design specialist recommendations and consultation with CFI employees and industry experts.


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

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The data are collected through a process providing respondents with the option of telephone or electronic filing methods. Follow-up procedures are applied when a questionnaire has not been received after a pre-specified period of time: respondents are phoned or sent an email to remind them to send their questionnaire.

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

Error detection

The data are examined for inconsistencies and errors using automated edits coupled with an analytical review. Reported data are compared to previous reports to ensure that the commodities reported are the same. Any changes are reviewed for reasonableness.


Imputation is not generally required; where necessary, prior company data will be used to estimate for current data with adjustments for current trends.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

This is a census and the data quality is maintained by standard editing techniques which are rigorous. Survey results are validated by a statistical group of industry experts each quarter, with follow-up of issues and revisions as required. Company-level reports are investigated and follow-up with respondents is done as required; tabulations are revised when necessary.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which 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.

Data are suppressed where confidential. For much of the data, permission to release data has been obtained from participating companies to minimize suppressions.

Data accuracy

Since this is a census, there is no sampling error.

While considerable effort is made to ensure high standards throughout all stages of collection and processing, the resulting estimates are inevitably subject to a certain degree of non-sampling error. Examples of non-sampling error are coverage error, data response error, non-response error and processing error. The major sources of non-sampling error for this survey are considered to be coverage error and non-response error.

Coverage error can result from incomplete listing and inadequate coverage of the population. Coverage is considered to be very good.

Data response error may be due to questionnaire design, the characteristics of a question, inability or unwillingness of the respondent to provide correct information, misinterpretation of the questions or definitional problems. These errors are controlled through careful questionnaire design and the use of simple concepts and consistency checks.

Non-response error is related to respondents that may refuse to answer, are unable to respond or are too late in reporting. Attempts are made to obtain as high a response rate as possible.

Processing error may occur at various stages of processing such as data entry, editing and tabulation. Measures have been taken to minimize these errors. A few trained staff work on this survey and review the estimates.

This survey is a census of companies in the population, and there is minimal non-response. Every effort is made to minimize reporting and processing errors and the data confrontation process is used to validate data before publication. Where necessary, any specific concerns are footnoted in the applicable tables.

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