Survey of Annual Work Patterns

Detailed information for 1985





Record number:


The purpose of the Survey of Annual Work Patterns was to examine three important activities during the year, namely: working, looking for work and going to school.

Data release - -


Note: The Survey of Annual Work Patterns, which began in 1976, was discontinued after the 1985 reference year.

The survey collected data from all persons 15 years and over in randomly selected households. The purpose of the Survey of Annual Work Patterns was to examine three important activities during the year, namely: working, looking for work and going to school. For Canadians in general, how were these three activities distributed over the calendar year? The information obtained will provide: 1. the number of persons who worked all year; 2. the number of persons who did not work all year; 3. the number of persons who looked for a job when they were out of work; 4. the number of persons who did not work at all; 5. the number of students who worked anytime during the year. Employment and unemployment are vital factors in the growth and stability of the Canadian economy. The statistics obtained from this survey aided in the continuing study of problems associated with employment and unemployment in Canada.

Reference period: Calendar year preceding the interview


  • Employment and unemployment
  • Labour

Data sources and methodology


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The Survey of Annual Work Patterns is conducted as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey. The survey is based on the multistage stratified, clustered, probability, area sample of the Labour Force Survey. The sample represents all persons 15 years of age and over residing in Canada with the exception of inmates of institutions, full-time members of the Armed Forces, and residents of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and Indian reserves.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

All interviewing is done by personal visit or by telephone. Data capture occurs in the regional offices and after the records are transmitted to Ottawa, they are subjected to comprehensive editing, imputation, and tabulation.

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


The LFS records are weighted using what can be thought of as a three-stage process. The first stage involves the assignment to each record of the inverse of the design sampling ratio applicable to the geographic area where the respondent represented by that record resides. The second stage involves adjustments to the weight assigned in the first stage. These include an adjustment for the rural/urban distribution of the population and an adjustment for non-response (both performed for relatively small sub-provincial areas). It also includes an adjustment for unanticipated population growth in particular small areas selected for the sample (clusters) and an adjustment for the fact that the sample size remains constant (47,500 households) resulting in a slowly declining sampling ratio as the population grows. The third stage involves the comparison of the sum of the weights assigned to the records in the first two stages to population totals derived from sources independent of the LFS. These comparisons are done for 38 age-sex groups for each province. The weights for all records belonging to an age-sex-province group are then adjusted so that their sum is equal to the corresponding independently derived population total. The independently derived population totals are obtained as projections from the annual post-censal estimates of population produced by Demography Division with adjustments to reflect the exclusions described in 'Design and Procedures'.

Quality evaluation

Sampling errors: The estimates are based on a national sample of slightly less than one percent of the population. The resulting sampling errors, which can be measured, vary according to a number of factors the most important of which is the size of the estimate. Sampling variance indicators are published in the Labour Force. Non-sampling errors: Errors unrelated to sampling can occur at every stage of a survey. These non-sampling errors range from the respondent misunderstanding the question to errors introduced during processing. Mechanisms to minimize these errors are in place although the final estimates are still affected to some degree.

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.

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