Survey Series on People and their Communities

Detailed information for 2022/2023





Record number:


The Survey Series on People and their Communities (SSPC) involves creating a panel of people who agree to complete a series of short surveys. This is the third time that Statistics Canada is conducting this type of survey.

Data release - October 10, 2023 (SSPC-CE & SSPC-SWCPESV Actual); Scheduled for December 2023 (SSPC-QLSIT)


The SSPC is a series of social surveys that began in 2022. This project falls under the umbrella of the Disaggregated Data Action Plan (DDAP). Overall, DDAP will produce detailed statistical information to highlight the lived experiences of specific population groups, such as women, Indigenous peoples, racialized groups and people living with disabilities. It will also shed light on intersections such as those between racialized identity and sexual orientation, or between age and gender. Questionnaire content will cover a variety of social topics. Using the 2021 Census survey frame, the sample for the SSPC includes an oversampling of immigrants, and Canadians self-declaring as being part of racialized groups. By doing this, differences and commonalities in the experiences of racialized groups and immigrants will be revealed. The SSPC was specifically designed to provide estimates within individual racialized groups and immigration status categories.

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the SSPC are those aged 15 years and older living in the ten provinces of Canada, with a focus on ensuring coverage of racialized groups and immigration status through oversampling. Specifically excluded from the survey's coverage are:

- residents of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut;
- full-time residents of institutions, for example, inmates of penal institutions and chronic care patients living in hospitals and nursing homes;
- residents of reserves and other Indigenous settlements.

Since the survey frame is based on the respondents to the 2021 long-form Census, the observed population does not include individuals who immigrated to Canada after the census reference date on May 11, 2021.

Instrument design

Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre (QDRC) provided input and feedback of the survey questionnaires. Question wording adheres as closely as possible to questions established by the Harmonized Content Committee at Statistics Canada.

The questionnaires follow standard practices and wording used in a computer-assisted interviewing environment, such as the automatic control of flows that depend upon answers to earlier questions and the use of edits to check for logical inconsistencies and capture errors. The computer applications for data collection were tested extensively.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design. The survey series sample consisted of a total of 70,000 individuals from the 2021 long-form Census survey frame. The entire SSPC sample was comprised of two subsamples; Subsample 1 was made up of half of the 70,000 individuals, and Subsample 2 was made of the remaining half. Subsample 1 was asked to respond to the SSPC for the first time during the October 14, 2022 to January 3, 2023 collection period and Subsample 2 was asked to respond to the SSPC for the first time during the May 5 to July 25, 2023 collection period.

During the respondents' first survey in the SSPC they were asked to participate in future surveys in the series by providing a phone number and email address. Those who provided a valid phone number or valid email address were then contacted as the panel sample for subsequent surveys in the SSPC.

Sampling unit
The sampling unit of this survey is a person.

Stratification method
To ensure that we can produce reliable estimates disaggregated for domains of interest, we stratify by geographic region, racialized groups and immigrant status.

In order to allow for comparisons and to cover the entire target population, we also sampled individuals who did not self-identify as belonging to a racialized group.

Sampling and sub-sampling
Within each stratum, a simple random sample was selected.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: October 14, 2022 to October 22, 2023

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Respondents are contacted through mail, email, or telephone for their first survey of the SSPC. Respondents are contacted through email or telephone for subsequent surveys in the series. Data are collected directly from survey respondents either through an electronic questionnaire (EQ) or through computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI).

In addition to English and French, the survey was translated into Vietnamese, Spanish and Arabic.
Proxy responses are not allowed.

To enhance the data from this survey and to reduce the response burden, Statistics Canada will combine the information provided by respondents with information from the 2021 long-form Census, including data extracted from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) and personal tax data.

Information provided by a respondent via the questionnaire will be linked to the information for that respondent from the 2021 Census.

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 drop duplicate and non-response records. Records that did not meet minimum response criteria were identified and removed.


Imputation is a process used to determine and assign replacement values to resolve problems of missing, invalid, or inconsistent data. This is done by changing some of the missing values and the responses on the record being edited to ensure that a plausible, internally consistent record is created. Imputation was performed on the socio-demographic variables included in the SSPC. Since the 2021 Census long-form was used as a frame, missing data was imputed on SSPC using census variables.


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 weighting of the sample for the SSPC has multiple stages to reflect the stages of sampling and response to obtain the final set of respondents. The steps for weighting, including non-response adjustment and calibration, are described in chapter 7 of the SSPC User Guide. These steps adjust the weights so that they align with the target population, with regards to certain characteristics, such as age-sex groups by province and education levels. To the extent that these characteristics are correlated with the variables of interest, these adjustments can improve the accuracy of the survey estimates. Variance estimation is based on a two-phase bootstrap. Please refer to section 7.5 of the User Guide for how to use the variance multiplicative factor when calculating estimates of sampling error, such as variance, standard error or CV.

Quality evaluation

While quality assurance mechanisms are applied at all stages of the statistical process, the validation and review of data by statisticians is the final verification of quality prior to release. Validation measures that were implemented include:
a) verification of estimates through cross-tabulations
b) consultation with stakeholders internal to Statistics Canada

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.

For microdata: content is reduced and modified. For tabular data: sensitive cells correction methods such as cell collapsing and suppression are applied.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

Survey errors come from a variety of different sources. One dimension of survey error is sampling error. Sampling error is defined as the error that arises because an estimate is based on a sample rather than the entire population. Sampling error can be expressed through a confidence interval or coefficient of variation.

Response rates
Response rates by survey step for the Survey Series on People and their Communities - Community Engagement (SSPC-CE):
Both subsamples responded to SSPC-CE content during their first survey of the series.
Subsample 1 response rate: 54.1%
Subsample 2 response rate: 52.3%
Complete sample response rate: 53.2%

Response rates by survey step for the Survey Series on People and their Communities - Sport, Workplace Culture, Political Engagement and Shared Values (SSPC-SWCPESV):
Subsample 1 respondents who gave contact information at their first participation in SSPC were recontacted for SSPC-SWCPESV.
Subsample 1 who gave contact information to participate in future SSPC surveys: 52.4%
Subsample 1 response rate to SSPC-SWCPESV among those who gave contact information: 28.4%
Subsample 1 cumulative response rate: 15.4%
Subsample 2 responded to SSPC-SWCPESV content during their first survey of the series.
Subsample 2 response rate: 52.3%
Complete sample response rate: 33.8%

Non-sampling error
Non-sampling errors can be defined as errors arising during most survey activities excluding sampling. They are present in both sample surveys and censuses (unlike sampling error, which is only present in sample surveys). Non-sampling errors arise primarily from the following sources: non-response, coverage, measurement, and processing.

Measurement errors (sometimes referred to as response errors) occur when the response provided differs from the real value; such errors may be attributable to the respondent, the questionnaire, the collection method or the respondent's record-keeping system. Such errors may be random or they may result in a systematic bias if they are not random.

Processing errors are the errors associated with activities conducted once survey responses have been received. They include all data handling activities after collection and prior to estimation. Like all other errors, they can be random in nature, and inflate the variance of the survey's estimates, or they can be systematic, and introduce bias. It is difficult to obtain direct measures of processing errors and their impact on data quality especially since they are mixed in with other types of errors (nonresponse, measurement and coverage).

Non-response bias
Survey weights were adjusted to minimize potential bias that could arise from survey non-response. Non-response adjustments were applied to survey weights using available auxiliary information from the long-form Census. To mitigate potential non-response bias, the survey weights are adjusted for total non-response taking into account socio-demographic variables such as racialized group, education level, household composition and immigration status, and are calibrated to population totals for age, sex and geography.

Coverage error
Coverage errors consist of omissions, erroneous inclusions, duplications, and misclassifications of units in the survey frame. Coverage errors may cause a bias in the estimates and the effect can vary for different sub-groups of the population.

The SSPC data is collected from people aged 15 years and over living in private dwellings within the 10 provinces. Excluded from the survey's coverage are: residents of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut; full-time residents of institutions, and residents of reserves. These groups together represent an exclusion of less than 2% of the Canadian population aged 15 and over. Moreover, since the survey frame is based on the respondents to the 2021 Census, the observed population does not include individuals who immigrated to Canada after the census reference date on May 11, 2021.

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