Police Administration Survey (PAS)

Detailed information for 2023





Record number:


The purpose of the Police Administration Survey (PAS) is to collect statistics on public policing personnel and expenditures from municipal, provincial and federal police services in Canada. The information collected is used by federal and provincial policy makers, individual police services as well as officials responsible for police budgets. The data are also used by the media for the purpose of providing information to the general public.

Data release - March 26, 2024


This survey collects data from police services across Canada under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. All municipal, provincial and federal police services in Canada are surveyed.

Respondents provide the number of police officers, civilians, special constables and recruits employed by the police service (in full-time equivalents). The actual number (headcount) of employees by their status as paid or unpaid, permanent or non-permanent, and full or part-time, is also collected. Information for police officers is categorized by rank (i.e., commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and Constables) and by gender and age group. Information for civilians and special constables is provided by their duties and functions in the police service. Information on hirings, departures, long-term leave, and eligibility to retire is provided, as well as Indigenous and visible minority identity of employees. Other questions collect data on operating expenditures broken down into salaries/wages and benefits, and other non-salary operating expenditures by type of expenditure. Information on capital expenses are also collected by type of expense. In addition, detailed spending amounts on selected types of policing information technology and police equipment is collected. Lastly, information on current and emerging issues related to policing in Canada is collected.

Data from this survey provide information on total expenditures on policing and the number of officers in each province and in Canada as a whole, as well as the number of officers per 100,000 population.

The data are intended for police services, for officials with responsibility for police budgets, for policy-makers with policing-related responsibilities, and for members of the general public.

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: May 15th of the reference year, as well as annual information for the respondent's previous calendar or fiscal period.

Collection period: April of the reference year to the Fall of the reference year.


  • Crime and justice
  • Justice system spending

Data sources and methodology

Target population

All Canadian municipal, provincial and federal police services that were active on May 15th of the survey year.

The target population and observed population are the same.

Instrument design

For municipal and provincial police services, an electronic questionnaire (EQ) is used. The electronic questionnaire is a respondent-completed instrument. Some questions ask for a single number (e.g., the number of male constables or the dollar amount spent on salaries), while closed response questions are presented in the form of check-boxes. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) transmit data in flat files outside of the electronic questionnaire.

This survey was designed and developed in 1962, with collaboration from the Chiefs of Police. The survey was tested by consulting questionnaire design specialists, as well as the policing community. Any changes to the survey are made with consultation from police respondents.


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

Data collection for this reference period: 2023-04-28 to 2023-09-29

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Respondents are contacted initially by a letter or e-mail containing a secure access code to access an electronic questionnaire (EQ). The data are collected via the electronic questionnaire into a collection environment. A system of edits flag directly in the electronic questionnaire to indicate any missing key information or inconsistencies in the data entered in the questionnaire. In some cases, an edit may be flagged if the data exceeds predetermined tolerances based on data submitted to the previous reporting period. Contact with the respondent is initiated to correct errors and clarify survey responses. In case a variation is deemed acceptable after contacting the respondent, a comment is added to those records explaining the reasons. Once all the data has been captured, tolerance and outlier edit programs are run against the data to identify any data falling out of the prescribed tolerance range. Such cases are resolved after verifying the respondent status for the current year. Any jurisdictional changes are taken into account when resolving data issues.

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

Error detection

During data collection in the electronic questionnaire (EQ), errors are flagged with edit messages to identify missing, invalid or inconsistent responses. There are two types of edits used; additive edits and tolerance edits. Errors which are identified as a higher priority are followed on with the respondent by telephone from the collection office. If key errors remain on the record after collection is completed, the subject matter area may identify these records for additional follow-up during processing and contact the primary respondent for correction or clarification before finalizing the record.


Each year, a small number of police services do not respond to the survey. If data for a non-responding police service were available for the previous year, then the historical data were used to represent the current year.


This methodology does not apply.

Quality evaluation

Data are verified by the police services prior to availability for public dissemination. Once a respondent has finalized their data submission in collection, a final verification report is produced by subject matter which include information submitted by the respondent to the Police Administration Survey (PAS). A designated representative from each police service is asked to verify that all information is accurate and to 'sign-off' on their jurisdictional submission. This ensures that the information reported to the PAS electronic questionnaire (EQ) matches what will be reported by the survey for that respondent.

In addition, data quality is evaluated by doing historical trend analyses of key variables. Historical analyses of rates are done based on personnel and expenditure data (police per 100,000 population, per capita costs, etc.). Police-civilian ratios are also checked over time to verify historical consistency. Overall per capita costs are derived and analyzed historically.

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.

A cover letter requesting respondent participation and a waiver for respondents to provide permission to publicly release the data at the respondent level is sent to each respondent to seek their approval. An authorization form confirming their finalized information is also sought by subject matter as part of the final verification process.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The cut-off for submission / revision of previous annual data is in Fall of the reference year. After that time, the datasets are 'frozen' and no further changes can be made until the following reference year. Each year, some respondents send in revisions to data submitted for the previous year. These revisions may result from internal audits done by the respondents, or they may result from data quality queries initiated by the survey manager. If there is inconsistency in the year-over-year data comparisons, the respondent may review the information sent by them in previous years and decide to revise them. In some cases, revisions are made to correct prior misinterpretation of definitions.

Data accuracy

Non-response error is related to respondents that may refuse to answer, are unable to respond or are too late in reporting. In these cases, data are imputed. The extent of any imputation error decreases with increases in the response rate and attempts are therefore made to obtain as high a response rate as possible while minimizing the response burden.

Processing error may occur at various stages of processing such as in data entry. Measures have been taken to minimize these errors. Edits are in place to verify totals and inconsistent responses for key information.

Coverage error can result from incorrect addresses of police services or absence of contact information for new police services. To prevent coverage error and limit its impact, the Police Administration Survey frame is updated on a regular basis by communicating with police services about any changes to their police service (e.g., amalgamations, turnover of staff, boundary changes).

Data response error may be due to questionnaire design, the characteristics of a question, inability or unwillingness of the respondent to provide correct information, misinterpretation of the questions or definitional problems. These errors are controlled through careful questionnaire design and the use of simple concepts and consistency checks. However, since the respondents and/or their staff have been changing quickly due to amalgamations and regular turnover, some lack the background to ensure consistency. Therefore, the survey analyst is conscious of the need to monitor reporting and to discuss any anomalies with the police services in question. Detection of data errors is done at a very early stage. As soon as a survey response is received, the responses are compared to the previous year's data and if necessary, a trend analysis is done. Jurisdictional changes are kept in mind when doing these checks. If a response is over a tolerance range, the respondent is called and explanations and/or changes are made as a result. In some cases, part-time employees are not converted to full-time equivalents and this is resolved after discussing it with the respondent.

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