Civil Court Survey (CCS)

Detailed information for 2022/2023





Record number:


The primary objective of the Civil Court Survey is to develop and maintain a national civil court database of statistical information on court events and cases. It is intended to collect comparable, national level baseline data on civil court activity in Canada.

Data release - March 27, 2024


The Civil Court Survey is a census survey and when fully implemented, it will collect data from all civil courts in Canada, including all the superior and provincial-territorial courts hearing civil matters including general civil, family, probate and small claims. Appeal courts, federal courts (e.g., Tax Court of Canada) and the Supreme Court of Canada are not covered by the survey. The collection of data is from administrative records, in which data are derived from records originally kept for non-statistical purposes. In particular, survey data are obtained from case files located in existing civil court automated information systems. Given that the data collection methodology requires the existence of detailed operational information systems that have not yet been developed in all jurisdictions it will take time for the survey to achieve full coverage.

The data are collected to respond to the needs of the provincial, territorial and federal departments of justice and attorneys-general, researchers and policy analysts, academics and the media, as well as to inform the public on how family and general civil matters are dealt with in Canada.

Reference period: The 12-month fiscal period between April 1st and March 31st

Collection period: Data are collected quarterly in the month following the end of the quarter (July, October, January and April).


  • Children and youth
  • Civil courts and family law
  • Divorce and separation

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The universe of the Civil Court Survey includes all court events and cases in all civil courts in Canada, including all the superior and provincial-territorial courts hearing civil matters including general civil, family, probate and small claims.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


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

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2022-07-05 to 2023-06-30

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are extracted from administrative files.

Micro-data are extracted electronically from administrative databases by means of a software interface and submitted to Statistics Canada in an electronic format.

The Civil Court Survey (CCS) draws on information from the administrative databases in operation in the civil courts in the provinces and territories. The data are collected so as to conform to a set of national definitions, rather than provincial or territorial level definitions.

Computer interfaces are developed that map survey concepts to the information system of each participating province or territory. The data are then electronically pulled off the system as microdata. These data files are forwarded to the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics (CCJCSS) electronically according to a reporting schedule.

Error detection

A number of tools have been developed for the CCS to minimize or correct errors.

System error may be introduced during the extraction and transcription of provincial or territorial data into CCS format. The CCJCSS minimized this source of error by implementing a standard interface development methodology that requires a complete testing of the software by both the CCJCSS and the province or territory prior to implementation.

To ensure system error is not introduced by the CCS data processing systems, the systems were subject to logic testing by the developer, user acceptance testing performed by the CCJCSS and/or the Methodology Division of Statistics Canada, and volume testing performed by the system developer.

The CCS central processing system contains an automated edit module that examines all incoming data for format and consistency.


Field values that do not meet edit specifications or are out of range are deemed to be 'not available' and are recoded accordingly such that processing may continue. Imputations such as donor imputation are not performed.

Records that are missing key fields (province or territory, case identification number, court level, court location, type of court, type of action, event and date of event) are rejected.


This methodology does not apply.

Quality evaluation

The incoming data are assessed for consistency and completeness. Every year, a data quality report and a set of verification tables are sent to reporting jurisdictions for their review and verification prior to release. These reports also highlight problems, if any, that were observed during analysis of the data, and include a historical trend analysis of the main indicators, such as caseload.

The products from this survey are subject to both institutional and peer review (justice departments, etc.).

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.

The CCS collects microdata, but no names of individuals are collected. Furthermore, sensitive variables which might pose a risk of disclosure are not used in cross-tabulations with other variables which could be used to potentially identify individual cases.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

The CCS collects census data as extracted and compiled by provincial/territorial ministries of justice responsible for courts. Formal data quality indicators, beyond annual respondent verification and review for accuracy and consistency, are not part of the survey methodology.

Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut participate in the survey. These ten participating provinces and territories represent approximately 73% of Canada's population. (Populations are based on October 1st 2023 estimates from Statistics Canada, Demography Division.)

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