Youth Custody and Community Services (YCCS)

Detailed information for 2006/2007





Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to provide important indicators as to the nature and case characteristics of youth in correctional services and are of use to justice agencies, the media and the public.

Data release - May 13, 2009


The Youth Custody and Community Services (YCCS) survey provides important indicators as to the nature and characteristics of correctional caseflow that are of use to agencies responsible for the delivery of these services, the media and the public. The survey collects annual data on the delivery of youth correctional services from the provincial/territorial correctional systems. Key themes include: new admissions (commencements) to correctional programs of sentenced custody, probation, and other community-based programs. The survey uses two collection instruments: aggregate data are entered into a database; and automated extraction of micro-data from local information systems. Units of count are tabulated from the micro-data and included as part of the annual YCCS survey process described above.

Statistical activity

The survey is currently administered as part of the National Justice Statistics Initiative (NJSI). Since 1981, the federal, provincial and territorial Deputy Ministers responsible for the administration of justice in Canada, with the Chief Statistician, have been working together in an enterprise known as the NJSI. The mandate of the NJSI is to provide information to the justice community as well as the public on criminal and civil justice in Canada. Although this responsibility is shared among federal, provincial and territorial departments, the lead responsibility for the development of Canada's statistical system remains with Statistics Canada.

Reference period: Fiscal year - April 1 to March 31


  • Children and youth
  • Correctional services
  • Crime and justice
  • Crime and justice (youth)

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Youth Custody and Community Services Survey describes the services provided by governmental agencies responsible for youth correctional services in the provincial and territorial sectors. More specifically, the data examine caseload characteristics relating to youth custodial and community supervision services; including custodial remands, custodial sentences, and probation.

Instrument design

The data for the YCCS process come from respondent local operational systems. Data are either submitted via information request questionnaires which are completed manually, or are extracted electronically via computer interface.

YCCS: The YCCS questionnaire was developed with the assistance of representatives from the federal, provincial and territorial agencies responsible for the delivery of youth correctional services in Canada. The questions are based on a set of information requirements that were developed through consultation with these representatives.

The questionnaire is sent directly to the respondents who complete the instrument locally. Computer-aided data collection techniques are not used other than local programming used to extract administrative data from information systems.

ICSS: YCCS data for respondents that participate in the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS), a person-based survey, are tabulated from micro-data that have been electronically extracted via computer interface. The micro-data are extracted according to the survey's interface specifications which are based on a set of national data requirements. The rules pertaining to the YCCS units of count are applied to the extracted micro-data -- the output from which forms the input data to the YCCS.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.

The ICSS is a census survey based on electronically-extracted micro-data that is conducted annually. It is also longitudinal in that it follows correctional histories of offenders. Therefore, YCCS has become a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.

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

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2007-11-07 to 2007-12-05

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

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

Administrative data are collected directly from the respondent local operational systems. YCCS - Aggregate: Provincial headquarters answer a mail-out/mail-back data request questionnaire and, for some respondents, these data are entered directly into a database. Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario as well as Alberta community corrections data are collected through the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS), a new person-based survey that is currently being implemented in several jurisdictions across Canada. These micro-data are collected through three distinct records organized by; (1) offender (e.g., socio-demographic characteristics such as age, sex, Aboriginal identity, etc.); (2) legal status such as sentenced custody, remand, probation and the characteristics of the status (e.g., aggregate sentence, conditions of supervision, etc.); and (3) events that occur while under supervision (e.g., escapes, temporary absence, releases, breaches of probation, etc.). Once all aggregate data, including units of count derived from the ICSS micro-data, have been entered a preliminary (review copy) set of data tables/footnotes is sent to each respondent for finalization.

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

Error detection

YCCS - Aggregate: Data are reviewed by survey staff on their receipt to identify missing or partial responses. The incoming cell counts are compared to the same cells from earlier years to check for outliers and general consistency. Automated error procedures are not applied to the results of this aggregate survey, partly due to the small number of respondents. However, issues that arise are reported to the local data suppliers to assess whether there is a problem and the actions to be taken.

ICSS -- Micro-Data: the ICSS central processing system contains an automated edit module that examines all incoming data for format, logic and consistency. Field values that do not meet specifications or are out of range are deemed to be 'not available' and are re-coded accordingly such that processing may continue. Imputations such as donor imputation and estimation are not performed.


YCCS -- Aggregate: Formal imputation is not performed on this survey. Missing data or obvious error situations are resolved in consultation with the local data suppliers. From time to time, local suppliers will provide estimates (occasionally with the assistance of survey staff) in situations where only partial annual data are available.

ICSS -- Micro-Data: This survey does not impute data values through more formal methods such as estimation, historical or donor imputation


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

The incoming data are assessed for completeness, historical inconsistency, the existence of outliers and reasonability. Processed data, including Integrated Correctional Services Survey data that have been tabulated into the Youth Custody and Community Services Survey units of count, are then returned to the respondents for verification.

The variation in delivery of correctional services across the jurisdictions hinders, to some extent, precise cross-jurisdictional comparisons as the data elements captured are continually being refined to reflect local and legislative variations. The key measures presented although not perfectly precise, are still sufficient to monitor correctional trends, to stimulate policy analysis, and to evaluate legislative changes in a general way.

Factors impacting on cross-jurisdictional comparability are both definitional and systemic in nature. Definitional inconsistencies, which are in part a reflection of administrative differences, are outlined in table footnotes. Major administrative differences are: division in responsibility, administration of youth and adult services, and differing types of information systems. Information systems and the data elements used in these systems are generally established to serve local needs. Therefore comparable national data are not always achieved by aggregating data from local operational systems, even though labels used to describe the data are the same.

The products from this survey are subject to both institutional and peer (respondents, heads of correctional services, etc.) review.

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.

Preliminary results are not released or available to the public. Information pertaining to personal characteristics are presented as percentages and not released as 'units of count' in order to maintain confidentiality.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

YCCS -- Aggregate: This survey collects aggregate census data as extracted and compiled by local respondents, including those that are generated from the ICSS micro-data process. Formal data quality indicators, beyond annual respondent verification and review for accuracy and consistency, are not part of the survey methodology.

ICSS -- Micro-Data: the specification of standard survey outputs has not been completed and, as such, accuracy of ICSS data is assessed through the tabulation of YCCS units of count, derived from ICSS micro-data, and included in the general YCCS verification process.


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