Biotechnology Use and Development Survey

Detailed information for 1999




Every 2 years

Record number:


The survey provides information on companies developing new products and processes using biotechnologies.

Data release - November 14, 2002


The Biotechnology Use and Development Survey (BUDS), administered by the Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division (SIEID), provides information on companies developing innovative products or processes using biotechnologies.

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.

The survey addressed the following question: What are the characteristics and activities of firms that use or develop biotechnology as an important part of their activities?

Data are provided on the firms' revenues, research and development activities, imports and exports, human resources, strategies, intellectual property issues, and use and development of biotechnologies.

This survey is the latest in a series of initiatives to develop a biotechnology statistics program. Statistics Canada conducted surveys previously concerning biotechnologies. The first, the Biotechnology Use Survey -- 1996 (Survey # 4221), examined the use of biotechnologies in selected Canadian industries. The second, the Biotechnology Firm Survey -- 1997 (see the "Other reference periods" sidebar), was aimed at firms actively conducting research and development and considered to be the core biotechnology firms. The Biotechnology Use and Development Survey combines elements and the legacy of the previous surveys (1996 and 1997) in order to provide statistics on biotechnology. The survey was designed to differentiate between biotechnology users and biotechnology innovators.

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

Target population

The survey's target population includes all firms, in Canada, that are related to the following NAICS codes: 1125, 2111, 311 (except 3113, 3118 and 3119), 3221, 325, 3254, 4145, 4183, 5417, 6215, 21112, 221119 and 321216. The establishments of an enterprise located in the same province and industry type were grouped to form the statistical unit. Excluded from the survey were not-for-profit organizations, universities, government laboratories, hospitals, companies that use only traditional biotechnologies, and service sector firms. In addition, respondents had at least $100,000 in R&D expenditures and, according to the Business Register, revenues in excess of $250,000.

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.

Two types of units make the sample of the survey. Units that are sampled with certainty, also referred to as "must-take-all" list, and a take some-list. The must-take-all 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.

The design of the sample from the take-some list is based on the Establishment Data (ESTDATA) of Statistics Canada's Business Register (BR) which contains an Integrated portion (IP) and a Non-Integrated Portion (NIP). Two main considerations are at play in the selection of these sample units, namely, to reach the target population; and, to minimize respondent burden. To this end, the Gross Business Income (GBI), R&D expenditures and the number of employees are used as selection criteria. The selection also takes into account three dimensions that make the data strata: province/territory, industrial sector based on the North American Industry Classification (NAICS) codes and firm size.

Industries are surveyed at levels other than 4-digits; small firms with fewer than 5 employees and spending $100 000 on R&D are excluded; so are universities/hospitals; contract research organizations (CRO); and not-for-profit organizations.

By applying these selection criteria, 3,377 firms were retained and sent the questionnaire.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: April 2002 to July 2002

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.


Firms were selected to provide a representative sample based on size, industry and province. The overall response rate was 66%. 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.

Quality evaluation

The quality of the data has been checked against quality standards at Statistics Canada, namely, data relevance, accuracy, timeliness, accessibility, interpretability and coherence.

Data relevance was insured by the active collaboration in the questionnaire design between the Science, Innovation and Electronic Information Division (SIEID) of Statistics Canada, 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.

Data accuracy was insured by conducting cognitive interviews in both official languages with potential respondents. Their comments were integrated into the final design and wording of the questionnaire.

From the close of data collection to the first data release four months elapsed, thus insuring data timeliness.

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 has received a very good respondents' co-operation. The response rate was 66%.
The imputation rate was generally low for the survey: ranging from 0 to 19.8% for an average imputation rate of 12.9% for the entire survey. Analysis of non-respondents was also conducted. No evidence of bias was found as this analysis showed that non-respondents had the same characteristics as respondents.

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