Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS)

Detailed information for 1987 (first follow-up)





Record number:


The survey was conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Studies of Children at Risk at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) is a long-term survey designed to evaluate the impact of early childhood experiences and development on later adult health, quality of life and functioning.

Please note that no public use microdata file was produced by Statistics Canada and data will not be made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI). For information related to the analysis of the data from this study, contact Yvonne Racine (905-521-2100 ext. 74345; fax: 905-521-4970; raciney@mcmaster.ca), McMaster University.

Data release - No public use microdata file was produced by Statistics Canada. Data will not be available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI).


Statistics Canada, in conjunction with McMaster University, originally collected information on a representative group of 3,294 Ontario children living in 1,869 families. This study, funded by the government of Ontario, was one of the first large-scale assessments of the physical and emotional health of Ontario's children. The survey was first conducted in 1983 and the children selected were between 4 and 16 years of age. The main purpose of the study was to look at the overall health of the children in Ontario, to see how their health needs were being met and to identify factors that helped or hindered their development.

A follow-up study with these same children was conducted in 1987 when these respondents were between 8 and 20 years of age. The study provided important information about which health aspects of these children had changed or remained the same over the previous four years.

Please note that no public use microdata file was produced by Statistics Canada and data will not be made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI).


  • Children and youth
  • Health and well-being (youth)

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the original 1983 OCHS included all children born from January 1, 1966 through January 1, 1979, whose usual place of residence was in a household located in the province of Ontario. The survey excluded children living on Indian reserves, those in collective dwellings such as institutions, and those living in dwellings constructed after June 1, 1981 (Census day); this excluded population represented 3.3% of the target population. For the 1987 and 2000 follow-up studies, the original longitudinal respondents were located and interviewed.


This is a sample survey with a longitudinal design.

The sample for the 1983 OCHS was selected from a frame consisting of all dwellings identified in the 1981 Census of Population. A stratified, clustered, random sample of dwellings was selected from this frame. The sample was stratified into four health regions; each region was then divided into three strata based on the population density (large urban, small urban or rural).

A total of 2,623 households were selected for the 1983 OCHS. Of these, 78.2% were found to be eligible for the survey (i.e. a child in the target population lived in the household); 91.1% of these households agreed to participate in the study. All eligible children living in a responding household were selected as longitudinal respondents for the study. This resulted in responses from 3,294 Ontario children living in 1,869 households.

All children and families who participated in the original OCHS were eligible for follow-up in 1987. Among the 1,869 households, 1,660 (88.8%) were traced and 1,546 (82.7%) agreed to participate.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: March 1987

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Selected households receive an introductory letter and are then visited by a Statistics Canada interviewer. The parent completes the Child Behaviour Checklist and the Family Health and Activity Questionnaire, while the child completes the Youth Self-report. The interviewer completes the Child Health Questionnaire and the Family Background Questionnaire.


No imputation is done for this survey.

Quality evaluation

Considerable time and effort was made to reduce non sampling errors in the survey. 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 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.

No public use microdata file will be produced by Statistics Canada and data will not be made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI).

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

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