Canadian Veteran Health Survey (CVHS)

Detailed information for 2022




Every 2 years

Record number:


The Canadian Veteran Health Survey is a cross-sectional survey that collects information on the transition from military to civilian life, general health and well-being, chronic conditions, labour force participation and other related information. An important goal of the survey is to understand the transition period from military to civilian life and health outcomes in Canadian Veterans.

Data release - July 20, 2023


The Canadian Veteran Health Survey will provide insight into the health and well-being of Canadian veterans after their transition to civilian life. The survey asks questions about physical and mental health, as well as the use of health care services and supports.

Results from the survey will be used to:
- compare the health status of Canadian veterans with that of other Canadians
- understand factors that affect veterans' health and their access to health care services
- help ensure that services for veterans, including health, wellness, employment and family programs, continue to improve to meet their needs.

Reference period: Varies according to the question (for example: "over the last 12 months", "over the last 6 months", "during the last week", etc.)

Collection period: October to December


  • Diseases and health conditions
  • Health
  • Health care services
  • Labour
  • Mental health and well-being

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all veterans who were released prior to May 11th, 2021, who are not re-enlisted at the time of the survey and not still serving in the forces. Veterans in the targeted population were to be living in the 10 provinces of Canada, 18 years of age or older, and were not to be living in institutions. Specifically excluded were people living in the three territories, people living on a reserve and people living in institutions.

Instrument design

CVHS content had been developed in collaboration with specialists from Statistics Canada, and survey sponsor, Veterans Affairs Canada. Questions are designed to be answered directly by the respondent via an online electronic questionnaire (EQ), or over the phone by computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) for follow up on non-responses.

The questionnaire is largely comprised of 2022 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) content. Five groups of questions (referred to as modules), which are important to understanding the health of veterans, were added to CVHS. These additional questions are from the previous cycles of CCHS.

Qualitative tests using individual cognitive interviews were used to ensure that new questions and concepts are appropriately worded.


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

The frame consists of veterans on the Census 2021. Duplicate records, veterans living in institutions and on Indigenous reserves were excluded.

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

Sampling Unit
The CVHS sample has a one-stage design: the sampling unit is the person.

Stratification method
The frame was stratified into the following four groups:
- Visible minorities;
- Indigenous;
- Females (who are not identified as visible minorities or indigenous);
- Males (who are not identified as visible minorities or indigenous).
A systematic sample of veterans was selected independently within each stratum.

Sampling and sub-sampling
Sufficient sample was allocated to each of the strata so that the survey could produce estimates of good quality for each stratum. An initial sample of 7,000 veterans was selected.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2022-09-29 to 2022-12-31

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data is collected from survey respondents either through an electronic questionnaire (EQ) or through CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing).

An invitation letter is mailed to the selected respondent. In the letter there is a secure access code to the online questionnaire.

Collection by electronic questionnaire completed by the respondent will start first in October. A Statistics Canada interviewer may follow up by calling the respondent if a completed online questionnaire is not received within a certain period of time.

Proxy reporting (when a selected respondent is unable to answer because of a health condition, a physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging) is allowed on CVHS, although certain questions may be skipped.

The questionnaire is available in both official languages and can be completed by interview in either English or French.

The average time to complete the survey is 50 minutes.

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

Error detection

Most editing of the data is performed at the time of completing the electronic questionnaire or the interview by the computer-assisted interviewing application. It is not possible for respondents and interviewers to enter out-of-range values and flow errors are controlled through programmed skip patterns. For example, the application ensures that questions that did not apply to the respondent are not asked.

In response to some types of inconsistent or unusual reporting, warning messages are invoked but no corrective action is taken at the time of completing the questionnaire. Where appropriate, edits are instead developed to be performed after data collection at Head Office. Inconsistencies are usually corrected by setting one or both of the variables in question to "not stated".


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


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 several steps.

1) For CVHS, the sample was selected from 4 strata. Therefore, in each stratum, every selected respondent is given an initial weight equal to the inverse of its selection probability from the sampling frame. Respondents identified as out-of-scope for reasons such as deceased, moved outside Canada, living in an institution, during collection are dropped from the sample.

2) The respondents' weights are then adjusted to take into account non-response as well as out-of-scopes due to individuals never having served. Since those represent a significant portion of the respondents, this type of out-of-scopes was kept during the non-response adjustment phase to account for non-respondents who would be in fact out-of-scopes.

3) Drop the out-of-scope units that were kept at step 2.

Variance estimation is based on a re-sampling method called bootstrap estimation.

The Generalized Estimation System from Statistics Canada (G-Est) was used to generate the survey weights and bootstrap weights.

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

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 (CI) or coefficient of variation (CV).

Non sampling error
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.

Non-response bias
The survey estimates are adjusted to account for non-response through the survey weights. To the extent that the non-responding persons differ from the rest of the sample, the results may be biased.

Coverage error
Coverage errors arise when there are differences between the target population and the observed population. To the extent that the excluded population differs from the rest of the target population, the results may be biased.

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