Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating (SGVP)

Detailed information for 2023




Every 5 years

Record number:


The General Social Statistics Program (GSSP) has two main objectives: (a) to collect data on social trends in order to monitor changes in the living conditions and well-being of Canadians and (b) to provide updated information on particular social policy issues of current or emerging interest. As part of the GSSP, the Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating (SGVP) provides a comprehensive overview of the contributions Canadians have made by donating their time and money; it also provides data-driven information to the non-profit sector to help organizations strengthen their capacity for action, mobilize funds, recruit volunteers and manage their operations.

Data release - To be determined


This survey is the result of a partnership of federal government departments and voluntary sector organizations that includes Canadian Heritage, Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Finance Canada, Statistics Canada, the University of Ottawa, Imagine Canada, and Volunteer Canada. This survey is an important source of information on Canadian contributory behavior, including giving, volunteering and participating.

The objectives of the survey are threefold:

1) to collect national data to fill an information gap on individual contributory behaviors including volunteering, charitable giving and civic participation;

2) to provide reliable and timely data to the System of National Accounts;

3) to inform both the public and voluntary sectors in policy and program areas of decisions that relate to the charitable and volunteer sector.

Statistical activity

This record originated in 1985 and is part of the General Social Survey Program (GSSP). GSSP data are integrated from administrative data, statistical modelling and alternative data collection approaches, in addition to detailed survey data collected on a given topic. The GSSP is comprised of surveys on core topics, using focus or exploratory questions and a standard set of socio-demographic questions used for classification. More recent GSSP surveys have also included some qualitative questions, which explore respondent intentions and perceptions.

Reference period: Past 12 months preceding interview date


  • Labour
  • Society and community
  • Unpaid work
  • Volunteering and donating

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the SGVP is all persons 15 years of age or older, living in the 10 provinces of Canada, excluding institutionalized persons and residents of First Nations reserves.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was designed based on research and extensive consultations with data users. Qualitative testing of the survey questions, conducted by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Center (QDRC), was carried out with respondents who were screened in based on representative criteria. Questions which worked well and others that needed clarification or redesign were highlighted. QDRC staff compiled a detailed report of the results along with their recommendations. All comments and feedback from qualitative testing were carefully considered and incorporated into the survey when possible. In addition, the EQ application underwent extensive qualitative testing by the Centre of Expertise in Accessibility (CEA). Recommendations from CEA were implemented into the final version of the application.


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

The sample design is a stratified two-phase design based on the 2021 Census of Population. The first phase is the Census itself and corresponds to the sample of households selected to receive the long-form questionnaire (about one household out of four, systematically selected across Canada). The second phase corresponds to the sample of persons selected for the survey.

Due to the potential difficulties in reaching volunteers as a result of their prevalence in the population, an approach called 'rejective sampling' was chosen as part of the sample design. After a respondent is classified as either a volunteer or non-volunteer, sub-sampling is carried out for selected respondents who are not volunteers. All respondents who are volunteers do a complete interview. Those who are NOT volunteers are randomly divided into two groups. One group does a complete interview, while the other group does a partial interview.

Sampling unit:
This is a targeted respondent survey. The sampling unit for the first phase (Census of Population) is the household, while that of the second phase is the person.

Stratification method:
Strata were defined to achieve sufficient sample sizes in each domain of estimation and optimize sample allocation. The frame for the SGVP was stratified by province and racialized group. The domains of estimation consist of the provinces in addition to the racialized groups of interest at the national level cross-classified separately with gender, age group, and education.

Sampling and sub-sampling:
Within each stratum, a sample was drawn using systematic sampling, after sorting the frame by collection unit, to reduce the possibility of sampling more than one person per household.

Through a new program called the Disaggregated Data Action Plan (DDAP), Statistics Canada is producing detailed data to address gender gaps, racism and other systemic barriers, to apply fairness and inclusion to decisions that affect all people in Canada.

With DDAP funding, the SGVP has increased its sample size and oversampled some racialized groups.

The total sample size for the SGVP is 80,000 individuals. A completion of 32,000 questionnaires is expected.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2023-09-15 to 2024-03-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents either through an electronic questionnaire or through CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing). No proxy reporting is allowed. The respondents has the choice between French and English. The average time to complete the survey is estimated at 45 minutes.

The information collected during the 2023 SGVP is planned to be linked with personal and household level tax record files (T1, T1FF and T4) and with the Longitudinal Immigration Database for completed cases. The linkage falls under the omnibus record linkage authority (Type B) as the linkage will be used for data replacement purposes.

Respondents will be notified of the planned linkage before or at the exit of the survey. Any respondents who object to the linkage of their data will have their objections recorded, and no linkage to their administrative data will take place.

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

Error detection

The metadata will be provided upon release.


The metadata will be provided upon release.


The metadata will be provided upon release.

Quality evaluation

The metadata will be provided upon release.

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 type does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The metadata will be provided upon release.


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