Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey

Detailed information for 2006





Record number:


The primary objective of the survey is to obtain the views of all Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) employees about their workplace. The information will allow managers and employees to initiate concrete actions in the agency, and compare their results with the rest of the Public Service.

Data release - February 21, 2007 (No public use microdata file was produced by Statistics Canada and data will not be made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI).)


The first Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) was conducted in 1999. Almost 55% of the workforce participated, providing important information about how employees viewed their work and workplace. Departments and agencies launched a number of initiatives to address the workplace issues identified by Public Service employees in the 1999 PSES.

It should be noted that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a separate agency and not part of the target population that participated in the 1999 and 2002 follow-up of the Public Service Employee Survey. The CFIA decided to do its first employee survey in 2003 using the same questionnaire as the 2002 PSES. Statistics Canada was asked to implement the survey, including the development, collection and processing of the data for the CFIA.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey was designed to enable the agency to identify areas where it is doing well and point to other areas where improvement is still needed. The survey solicited views of CFIA employees on their work environment and overall job satisfaction. Employees expressed their opinions on their work unit, their communication with their supervisor, skills and career aspirations, client services and labour management relations. General information such as age, gender and years of service were collected and questions were asked on specific themes such as staffing fairness, official languages, health and safety, harassment and discrimination, and retention issues.

A fundamental objective of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey is to seek employee opinion on a variety of issues related to organizational effectiveness, workplace well-being and service delivery.

Statistical activity

The survey is currently administered as part of the Public Service Employee Survey Program (PSES). This program includes the main Public Service Employee Survey (record number 4438) and a number of other department or agency-specific employee surveys. The target population of the main Public Service Employee Survey is employees of the federal Public Service employed under Schedule I, Part I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA 1-1), while the other surveys are conducted for departments or agencies that are covered in Schedule I, Part II. The primary objective of the program is to obtain the views of employees of the federal Public Service about their workplaces. The information will allow managers and employees to initiate concrete actions in their own department or agency, and where warranted, across the Public Service.


  • Government
  • Labour

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the survey was all employees of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with the following exceptions:
1. Students;
2. Governor-in-council appointments; and
3. Minister's exempt staff.

Instrument design

The PSES questionnaire content was developed by an Interdepartmental Committee comprising representatives from small, medium and large departments/agencies, as well as representation from the Small Agencies Group, Statistics Canada, central agencies, bargaining agents and an external advisor. The questions for this survey were chosen based on their usefulness to employees, managers and bargaining agents in helping to identify problems and provide concrete solutions to improve the work environment. The 2002 and 2005 Public Service Employee Survey were follow-up surveys to the 1999 PSES. In order to ensure comparability between the 1999 and 2002 surveys, key questions from the 1999 PSES remained identical in the 2002 PSES, while minor changes were made to some other questions. New questions were added in place of certain questions from the 1999 PSES in order to explore new themes and provide additional information on issues identified in the first survey. There was no change in the questionnaire between 2002 and 2005.

Focus groups were held across the country and included employees at various groups and levels as well as English and French focus groups. Comments from the focus groups were integrated into the questionnaire and a final layout was decided. Participating departments and agencies were also invited to provide comments on the draft questionnaire. All Survey Champions (departments and agencies) were invited to briefings on the questionnaire and project plan.

The final questionnaire for the 2002 PSES was provided to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to assist in the efforts to deliver a comparable instrument. Only minor questionnaire changes were done to the CFIA questionnaire between 2003 and 2006.


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: 2006-09-20 to 2006-11-15

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey was a census. Each member of the target audience received a paper questionnaire to complete. The survey was anonymous; that is, the respondent's name or other identification was not required on the questionnaire.

The CFIA was responsible for distributing the questionnaires to its employees. The agency was given the choice to have their questionnaires delivered to one location or to give Statistics Canada a list of addresses and contacts for local distribution. The recommended target date for distribution of the questionnaires to all employees was September 20, 2006. However, the actual process was left to the discretion of the agency.

Once completed, the questionnaire was returned directly to Statistics Canada in a postage-paid return envelope. The established survey period was September 20 to November 15, 2006. The CFIA was asked to remind its employees to complete the survey and to return their questionnaires as soon as possible.

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

Error detection

The data capture of the approximately 3,350 questionnaires received was done between October and December 2006. The data were captured using imaging and automated data entry technology. A small proportion of questionnaires, those that could not be read by the optical scanners, were captured using heads-down keying by experienced operators. Standard quality control measures were used to verify the error rate of the capture operations. For the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey, based on the quality control sample that was selected, it was determined that the overall data capture error rate did not exceed 0.5%.

The data were processed by applying edit rules to identify missing, invalid or inconsistent data. Each question was examined to verify the presence of a valid code. If none was present then a "Not stated" response code of "9" was assigned. For example, an edit rule was applied that examined the flow of data from Question 102 to Question 103. Depending on the response to Question 102, superfluous data that did not respect the flow of data were eliminated.

As well, data inconsistencies were corrected.


No imputation is done for this statistical program.


The weight calculated for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey can be thought of as re-weighting the respondents so that the respondent and population distributions have the same overall distribution with respect to the occupational group. Simply put, if 20% of the employees in the agency are in a particular occupational group, then the weight ensures that this occupational group represents 20% of the number of respondents when tabulating the data. In other words, the weight compensates for the over and under representation of occupational groups. For occupational groups that were over represented, the weights are smaller than one. For occupational groups that were under represented, the weights are greater than one.

That is, if the weight is larger than one then each person represents, besides himself or herself, other persons who did not respond. This weight indicates that the occupational group was under represented within the agency. For example, if the weight is 2, each person represents 2 persons in the population.

The weighting step calculates this number for each record. This weight must be used to derive estimates from the microdata file.

For example, if the number of respondents who "Strongly agree" with the statement "I am proud of the work carried out in my work unit" is to be calculated, it is done by selecting the records for those respondents (Q33 = 1) and summing the weights.

Note that the sum of the weights is equal to the total number of responses. That is, the weights do not sum to the population counts. Therefore, when releasing demographic estimates no statements to that effect can be made.

Quality evaluation

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey is a census and therefore, there is no error due to sampling. However, the survey is subject to non-sampling errors such as non-response or other non-sampling errors that may occur at almost every phase of a survey operation. Respondents may make errors in answering questions, the answers may be incorrectly captured and errors may be introduced in the processing and tabulation of the data.

Quality assurance and control methods were implemented according to Statistics Canada's standard practices at each step of the data collection and processing cycle to monitor the quality of the data. These measures included focus group testing of the PSES questionnaire to detect problems of questionnaire design or misunderstanding of instructions, and using edit rules designed to detect missing, invalid or inconsistent data.

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.

No public use microdata file will be produced by Statistics Canada and data will not be made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI).

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

The target population for 2006 consisted of 6,280 individuals. The overall response rate for the 2006 Canadian Food Inspection Agency Employee Survey was 54%.

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