Survey of Canadian Attitudes toward Learning (SCAL)

Detailed information for 2008





Record number:


The Survey of Canadian Attitudes toward Learning (SCAL) collects information on the views, attitudes and expectations of Canadians on issues pertaining to learning. The survey covers four main themes related to learning: early childhood learning, structured learning (elementary, secondary and post-secondary education), adult learning and health and learning.

Data release - February 23, 2009


The Survey of Canadian Attitudes toward Learning is conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) to assess Canadians' needs, opinions and knowledge concerning learning and education. The survey covers four domains that represent learning themes of current importance: early childhood learning, structured learning (elementary, secondary and post secondary), adult learning and health and learning. The results of this survey will be of considerable interest to those who help to plan the policies and services of current and future governmental and private sector programs and initiatives in the area of learning and education. The survey will help identify knowledge gaps that exist and lead to a deeper understanding of attitudes towards learning among Canada's population.


  • Education, training and learning

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Canadian population aged 18 to 74 in the ten provinces, not residing in institutions or on Indian reserves and excluding members of the Armed Forces.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was developed in collaboration with the Canadian Council on Learning. Survey questions relating to the respondent's labour force status and socio-demographic questions were selected from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as well as standardized questions from the Census and other Statistics Canada surveys. The standard entry-exit for Targeted Respondent surveys was used. Questions relating to attitudes toward learning were developed collaboratively with experts from the Centre for Education Statistics, Special Surveys Division, Operations Research and Development Division, Survey Operations Division and the Canadian Council on Learning. Questions from previous administrations of the Adult Education and Training Survey (AETS, record number 3879) as well as the General Social Survey (GSS) cycle 17 on Social Engagement (record number 5024) were also used. The questionnaire was focus group tested in December 2007.


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

The Survey on Canadian Attitudes toward Learning was administered in April and May 2008 to a sub-sample of 8,610 persons selected from dwellings in the Labour Force Survey (LFS, record number 3701) sample in the ten provinces. The sample design is therefore closely tied to that of the LFS.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2008-04-01 to 2008-05-16

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The SCAL was administered to one randomly selected individual per household using a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) questionnaire. The random selection was carried out prior to the beginning of data collection during the sample selection.

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

Error detection

Responses to survey questions are captured directly by the interviewer at the time of the interview using a computerized questionnaire. Some editing is done directly at the time of the interview. Where the information entered is out of range (too large or small) of expected values, or inconsistent with the previous entries, the interviewer is prompted, through message screens on the computer, to modify the information. However, for some questions interviewers have the option of bypassing the edits, and of skipping questions if the respondent does not know the answer or refuses to answer. Therefore, the response data are subjected to further edit and imputation processes once they arrive in head office

The first stage of survey processing undertaken at head office was the replacement of any "out-of-range" values on the data file with blanks. This process was designed to make further editing easier.

The first type of error treated was errors in questionnaire flow, where questions which did not apply to the respondent (and should therefore not have been answered) were found to contain answers. In this case a computer edit automatically eliminated superfluous data by following the flow of the questionnaire implied by answers to previous, and in some cases, subsequent questions.

The second type of error treated involved a lack of information in questions which should have been answered. For this type of error, a non-response or "not-stated" code was assigned to the item.


No imputation is done for this statistical program.


The principles behind the calculation of the weights for the SCAL are identical to those for the LFS. However, further adjustments are made to the LFS sub-weights in order to derive a final weight for the individual records on the SCAL microdata file.

The different adjustments were the same for individuals selected from the LFS frame, with exception of the 3rd adjustment which is applicable only to the provinces, that is, to the individuals selected from the LFS frame.

1) Probability of selection
The first adjustment consists of adjusting the weight of households selected in the SCAL sample to account for the weight of households that were not selected.

2) Number of persons in the household
The second adjustment aims at accounting for the size of the household selected in order to produce estimates in terms of persons as opposed to households.

3) Number of rotation groups
This adjustment applies only to the individuals selected in the provinces. Three rotation groups, that is one half of the six needed rotations of the LFS, were used to construct the sample for the SCAL in the provinces.

4) Adjustment for non-response
The fourth adjustment attempts to account for non-response during the survey. For this, we begin by creating groups of individuals (respondents and non-respondents) who had similar probabilities of responding.

5) Post-stratification
The last adjustment aims at ensuring that totals produced using data collected in this survey correspond with known demographic estimates. The selected respondents in the provinces were grouped by province, age grouping and gender.

The resulting weight WTPS is the final weight which appears on the SCAL microdata file.

Please refer to Chapter 11.0 (Weighting) of the User Guide for detailed information.

Quality evaluation

Quality assurance measures were implemented at each step of the data collection and processing cycle to monitor the quality of the data. These measures include the use of highly skilled interviewers, extensive training of interviewers with respect to the survey procedures and questionnaire, observation of interviewers to detect problems of questionnaire design or misunderstanding of instructions, procedures to ensure that data capture errors were minimized, and coding and edit quality checks to verify the processing logic.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data that 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.

All names, addresses and telephone numbers were removed from the share data file. Since the data relates to the personal views, attitudes and expectations of Canadians on issues pertaining to learning, there is no information that can be used to identify respondents. No Public Use Microdata File will be produced using this data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The response rate for the 2008 SCAL was 63.7%, combined with a 92.1% response rate for the LFS in the ten provinces yields an overall response rate of 58.7%.

Please refer to Chapter 8.0 (Data Quality) of the User Guide for detailed information.


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