Survey on Savings for Persons with Disabilities (SSPD)

Detailed information for 2020




One Time

Record number:


The purpose of the Survey on Savings for Persons with Disabilities is to gather information about the knowledge and behaviours of Canadians with disabilities and their caregivers with regard to savings.

Data release - April 1, 2022


Results from the survey will be used by researchers and policy makers to inform disability-related programs and policy.


  • Disability
  • Health
  • Income, pensions, spending and wealth

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is Canadians age 49 and under who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) but do not have a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

The observed population is Canadians age 49 and under whose 2020 or 2019 T1 indicate DTC eligibility that do not have an RDSP as of 2018. The observed population excludes residents of the territories and all individuals that appear to live in a residence that has more than 10 DTC-eligible individuals.

Instrument design

The content for the Survey on Savings for Persons with Disabilities electronic questionnaire was drafted in consultation with Employment and Social Development Canada.

The questionnaire underwent cognitive testing in the form of in-depth interviews in both of Canada's official languages, conducted by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre. The goal of the qualitative study was to test the survey content.


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

This is a sample survey with a stratified, systematic sample and cross-sectional design.

This is a targeted response survey. The sampling unit is a person identified in 2020 or 2019 tax return (T1) data as being eligible for the disability tax credit.

The frame was stratified by province, with the Atlantic provinces combined into a single region. Within each province or region, the population was sorted by the number of individuals eligible for the DTC at the person's address, the mean age of the DTC-eligible individuals at the address, and the mean family income at the address, and a systematic sample was selected within each region.

Sufficient sample was allocated to each of the provinces and the Atlantic region so the survey could produce province-level estimates with the exception of the Atlantic provinces, where a region-level estimate could be produced. An initial sample of 12,000 people was allocated among the provinces and the Atlantic region using Kish allocation with Kish parameter 0.22.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2021-10-19 to 2021-11-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Invitation letters were sent out by mail. Respondents were invited to complete the survey in either official language. While self-response EQ was the primary method of collection for the SSPD, computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) was used to follow up in cases of non-response.

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

Error detection

Electronic files containing the daily transmissions of completed respondent survey records were combined to create the "raw" survey file. Before further processing, verification was performed to identify and eliminate potential duplicate records and to drop non-response and out-of-scope records.

In addition, some out-of-scope respondent records were found during the data clean-up stage. All respondent records that were determined to be out-of-scope and those records that contained no data were removed from the data file.

After the verification stage, editing was performed to identify errors and modify affected data at the individual variable level. The first editing step was to identify errors and determine which items from the survey output needed to be kept on the survey master file. Subsequent to this, invalid characters were deleted and the remaining data items were formatted appropriately.


Individual open-ended responses to the "Other" category for question DTC_Q65 were reviewed and then re-assigned to a corresponding answer category, when appropriate.

If a respondent's postal code was incomplete or missing, the postal code from the sample file was used to impute the value.

Cases where gender was reported as "Other" were randomly assigned a gender of either "Male" or "Female" for analytical purposes.


The estimation of population characteristics from a sample survey is based on the premise that each person in the sample represents a certain number of other persons in addition to themselves. This number is referred to as the survey weight. The process of computing survey weights for each survey respondent involves the following steps.

1) Each selected respondent is given an initial weight equal to the inverse of its selection probability from the sampling frame (created from 2020 and 2019 tax return (T1) data). Respondents identified as out-of-scope during collection are dropped from the sample.

2) The respondent's weights are then adjusted to take into account non-response based on their province/territory and other variables on the sample frame (based on 2020 or 2019 tax return data).

Quality evaluation

While rigorous quality assurance mechanisms are applied at all stages of the statistical process, the validation and detailed review of data by statisticians is the ultimate verification of quality prior to release. Many validation measures were implemented, they include:

a. Verification of estimates through cross-tabulations
b. Consultation with stakeholders internal to Statistics Canada
c. Consultation with external stakeholders

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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

Since the SSPD is a sample survey, all estimates are subject to both sampling and non-sampling errors.

Non-sampling errors can be defined as errors arising during the course of virtually all survey activities, apart from sampling. These include coverage errors, non-response errors, response errors, interviewer errors, coding errors, and other types of processing errors.

The response rate for the SSPD is 50.0%. Non-respondents often have different characteristics from respondents, which can result in bias. Attempts were made to reduce the potential nonresponse bias as much as possible through weighting adjustments.

Sampling error is defined as the error that arises because an estimate is based on a sample rather than the entire population. The sampling error for the SSPD is reported through 95% confidence intervals. The 95% confidence interval of an estimate means that if the survey were repeated over and over again, then 95% of the time (or 19 times out of 20), the confidence interval would cover the true population value.

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