Financial Information of Universities Survey (FINUNI)

Detailed information for 2022/2023





Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to collect financial information (income and expenditures) concerning all universities and degree-granting colleges across the country.

Data release - Scheduled for August 2024


The Financial Information of Universities Survey was developed to provide financial information (income and expenditures) on all universities and degree-granting colleges in Canada.

This information provides for a better understanding of the financial position for that level of education. The survey classifies the type of income received (grants, fees, donations and investments), by funds such as: general operating, sponsored research and capital.

Expenditures include general operating, special purpose and trust, sponsored research, ancillary, and capital. Operating expenditures include salaries and benefits, materials and supplies, utilities, externally contracted services, as well as scholarships, bursaries and prizes. These expenses can be further classified by function (instruction and non-sponsored research, library, physical plant and student services).

Reference period: Fiscal year

Collection period: Between September and March of the following year


  • Education finance
  • Education, training and learning

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all degree-granting institutions (universities and colleges) in Canada.

Instrument design

The collection process is made up of two separate questionnaires:
a) Survey done in conjunction with the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO):
This questionnaire was designed and implemented by the CAUBO Finance Committee which is made up of financial administrators from six universities. They meet twice a year and any proposed changes to the questionnaire and guidelines are discussed and implemented by the Committee.

b) Non-CAUBO questionnaire:
This questionnaire is a carbon copy of the CAUBO questionnaire. Any change / modification to the CAUBO questionnaire and guidelines is applied to the non-CAUBO questionnaire.

These questionnaires were last revised for the 2003-04 cycle year when a new column ("External relations") was added on Table 4.


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 voluntary.

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

All universities except for Ontario CAUBO universities report via questionnaire. The Financial Information of Universities (FINUNI) uses an electronic (Excel) questionnaire, in both CAUBO and non-CAUBO formats.

Ontario CAUBO universities report to its own collection authorities (Council of Finance Officers -- Universities of Ontario (COFO)). This information is sent to Statistics Canada (STC) as a one large flat file. A mapping and integration process is then done to convert the COFO data into the CAUBO format database.

All material is mailed out by the education finance unit (EFU) of STC. CAUBO questionnaires are returned to CAUBO headquarters where they are copied and then sent on to EFU for processing. Non-CAUBO and COFO data are sent directly to STC. EFU conducts telephone follow-up of all non-CAUBO institutions.

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

Error detection

The CONVERT system, developed by the System Development Division, applies several edits to the incoming data to ensure they meet the main criteria (numeric, cross-reference or data carry-overs conducted properly, totals, etc.).

A Statistical Analysis System (SAS) program is run on the completed file, comparing each institution to the previous year's results. Any significant changes are investigated with the respondents.

EFU does another post-processing mail-out to all COFO institutions so they can compare their original COFO submission to the mapped CAUBO data. STC makes any further adjustments as required by respondents. Prior to publication, STC provides the CAUBO Finance Committee the CAUBO file for a final review.


Missing, invalid or inconsistent responses (i.e. after thorough follow-up attempts) are imputed based on historical estimation using the same institution's responses from the previous year(s) and in(de)flation based on current enrolment and/or Consumer Price Index (CPI) changes.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Each university and college returns their questionnaire with accompanying audited financial statements, thus ensuring data accuracy. Nevertheless, each year a data comparability is done (percentage increases for major cells) for each university and college and any major discrepancies are investigated with the respondent resulting in changes, if any.

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

CAUBO prepares the covering letter including authorization to release data publicly at the institution level. Since the CAUBO questionnaire is technically theirs (it does not have an STC logo on it), the information is not confidential.

For non-CAUBO institutions, a covering letter is sent to each institution requesting their participation and confirming their signed permission to publicly release the data via an accompanying authorization form. Non-CAUBO data are amalgamated with the CAUBO data at the provincial level.

Data for non-CAUBO institutions are not released publicly at the institution level. They can only be released at the provincial level.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

All surveys are subject to errors. Only non-sampling errors apply to this survey given that there was no sampling process used to produce the final results. While considerable effort is made to ensure that universities and colleges are preparing information in accordance with the prescribed Guidelines to ensure comparability of the information at the aggregate level and ensure consistency and comparability over time in institutional reporting, major differences in operations and/or funding/accounting policies and/or differences in institutional interpretation/implementation of the Guidelines affect the comparability of the information over time and with other institutions.

There is a 100% response rate for CAUBO institutions. For non-CAUBO institutions, the missing responses are imputed as indicated above.

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