Survey of Child Care

Detailed information for 1980





Record number:


The purpose of this survey was to gather information on child care in Canada.

Data release - August 30, 1996 (Microdata user's guide)


What do parents do when neither is available to care for their children? Who takes care of the children? What care arrangements are being used? How much does the average family have to pay for child care? How many hours per week does the average child spend being cared for by persons other than his/her parents? Why did the families choose their present care arrangements? The 1981 Survey of Child Care will provide answers to some of these questions. The answers to these questions are of particular interest since the last Survey of Child Care was conducted in 1973. Since then there has been a phenomenal growth in both the number of working mothers and single parent families. This growth has not been matched by an increase in the supply of licensed day-care facilities. Although Statistics Canada is sponsoring the survey we have enlisted the full cooperation and support of several groups including the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Women's Bureau of Labour Canada and the Status of Women in Canada.

Reference period: Most of the estimates refer to the week containing the 15th day of the month.


  • Child care
  • Child development and behaviour
  • Children and youth

Data sources and methodology

Target population

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. (These exceptions represent less than 3% of the population.)


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

The survey is based on the multistage stratified, clustered, probability, area sample of the Labour Force Survey.

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. (Telephone interviewing is confined to urban areas in households in their second to sixth months in sample.) Wherever possible the interviewer attempts to obtain the information directly from the respondent, but failing that, information is accepted from another household member.

Error detection

Data capture occurs in the regional offices and after the records are transmitted to Ottawa, they are subjected to comprehensive editing, imputation, and tabulation.


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 (55,000 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. An adjustment is made to the basic LFS sampling weight to reflect the subsampling of rotation groups and the difference in non-response between the LFS and the supplementary survey.

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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The estimates are based on a national sample of slightly less than 1% 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'.

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.

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