Workplace Survey

Detailed information for 2011





Record number:


The survey collects data on a wide range of labour characteristics, such as workplace demographics, workplace employment profile, labour turnover, job vacancies, hard-to-fill jobs and their impacts for employers, as well as current and future skills-shortage vacancies.

Data release - April 28, 2015 (First in a series of releases for this reference period.)


The survey collects data on a wide range of labour characteristics, such as workplace demographics, workplace employment profile, labour turnover, job vacancies, hard-to-fill jobs and their impacts for employers, as well as current and future skills-shortage vacancies.

Particular focus is given to job vacancies, skills shortages, as well as which occupations are in greatest demand. In addition, the survey collects information on foreign workers and green jobs in the economy. Survey data will be used by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to address current and emerging policy issues affecting workplaces and employment conditions.


  • Labour
  • Labour mobility, turnover and work absences

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the survey is defined as all business locations operating in Canada that have paid employees, with the following exceptions: employers operating in crop production and animal production; fishing, hunting and trapping; religious organizations; private households; federal, provincial, and territorial public administration; and other extra-territorial public administration.

Instrument design

The questionnaire for the survey was designed by Labour Statistics Division of Statistics Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada). The 2010 pilot survey of the questionnaire resulted in major revisions to the questionnaire.

These revisions were tested by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre, through the use of cognitive testing with businesses in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Labour Statistics Division reviewed and revised the questionnaire based on the recommendations and results of the testing.


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

The initial sample size of the Workplace Survey is 30,000 business locations. The sample is stratified by industry and size of business. Prior to the collection of the main survey, there is a pre-contact phase to verify and correct contact information for the respondents. After the pre-contact, a final sample of 25,000 is selected for the main survey. The 5,000 cases eliminated from the final sample were cases that were confirmed as out-of-scope, or that could not be contacted.

The out-of-scope units are defined in the following manner:

1. workplaces operating in the following industries: agriculture and related industries; fishing and trapping; private households; religious organizations; federal and provincial/territorial public administration; international and other extra-territorial public administration; and
2. units without employees or units with only one employee who is assumed to be both the employer and employee.

With a view to maximize the probability that the selected unit is alive, any unit that was not confirmed as alive in the last 13 months before sample selection was eliminated.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2012-01-03 to 2012-03-31

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Prior to the start of the collection period, all companies in the sample are pre-contacted to determine through a series of filter questions whether they are in-scope for the survey and to identify the contact person best placed to respond to the questionnaire. The pre-contact phase is done by computer-assisted telephone interview.

After the pre-contact phase, questionnaires are mailed to those companies found to be in scope. Telephone follow-up is undertaken with companies that did not respond within a period of 21 days of the mailing. Respondents also have the option to complete the questionnaire by CATI interview. Questionnaires that are mailed back are optically scanned.

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

Error detection

A series of edit rules are applied to the captured data during processing. Invalid or inconsistent data are corrected by imputing valid entries. The edit rules include ratios, equalities and inequalities applied at the micro level during data processing.

The processing phase of the survey is for the most part concerned with applying consistency edits and validity edits to the data reported. Consistency edits ensure that data reported in one question does not contradict information reported in another question. Validity edits ensure that the data reported is valid (i.e. that percentage values reported do not exceed 100%, that values that are supposed to sum up do in fact sum up, that skip patterns are followed, etc.).


Imputation is used to replace partially missing data and invalid or inconsistent entries. Imputation is done automatically using a deterministic (common sense) approach.


Adjustment for non-response is based on the result of the pre-contact and on the final survey result. The adjustment is made at the level of the sample stratum, or at a more aggregated level as required. The estimates and variances are calculated using Statistics Canada's Generalized Estimation System for a stratified sample.

Quality evaluation

Only the portion of the questionnaire with a good response rate is processed and disseminated. The final response rate is 71.6%.

Prior to the release, the estimates were compared with those from the monthly Business Payrolls Survey Job Vacancy supplement.

As expected, the coefficients of variation obtained from the Workplace Survey are generally lower than those derived from the monthly Business Payrolls Survey Job Vacancy supplement. This is mainly due to the fact that the Workplace Survey sample size is larger, but there could be some impact from the sample design as well.

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 response rate of the Workplace Survey was 71.6%. Amongst the major industries, the response rate varied from 60.4% to 77.8%, while by province, it varied from 61.1% to 74.8%.

The coefficient of variation of the national vacancy rate was 5.2%. At the province level it varied between 9.2% and 20.1%.

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