Canadian Correctional Services Survey (CCSS)

Detailed information for 2022/2023





Record number:


The objective of the Canadian Correctional Services Survey (CCSS) is to collect detailed information on each person who is supervised by a correctional services program in Canada for all or part of a fiscal year, including both adults and youth.

Data release - March 19, 2024


The Canadian Correctional Services Survey (CCSS) is conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics (CCJCSS), and is an administrative data survey that collects data electronically from correctional services programs in Canada. The survey collects data on the characteristics of persons being supervised, their legal hold status while in correctional services, offences and conditions related to the various court orders, events related to the person that occur during the period of supervision, and results of any needs assessments done on persons while in correctional services. CCSS data requirements were developed with the assistance of representatives from correctional service programs in Canada and other federal and provincial government departments responsible for the administration of justice.

The CCSS can provide indicators that describe the use of correctional services in Canada. This includes average daily counts and intakes. Average daily counts provide a snapshot of the corrections population on any given day and intakes measure the number of persons beginning a period of supervision in either custody or community supervision during the year.

The information would be of interest to federal and provincial policy makers in the field of justice and public safety, managers of correctional services programs, researchers and academics, and the public.

Reference period: The 12-month fiscal period for which the final day occurs on or between April 1st of the reference year and March 31st of the following year.

Collection period: The first quarter following the March 31st end of the fiscal year (April through June).


  • Children and youth
  • Correctional services
  • Crime and justice
  • Crime and justice (youth)

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The Canadian Correctional Services Survey (CCSS) describes the persons being supervised and the services provided by correctional services programs in Canada, including both adults and youth, and custody and community supervision.

Instrument design

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.

The Canadian Correctional Services Survey is a census survey based on electronically-extracted microdata that is conducted annually. It is also longitudinal in that it follows correctional histories of offenders, so is a census with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up. Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2023-05-02 to 2023-08-31

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

Capture method:
Information about the supervision of clients, inmates and offenders by correctional service programs are entered into automated operational systems by corrections staff. These data are processed and stored in relational databases, and form part of the information systems maintained by correctional service programs.

Collection method:
Data collected directly from respondents through interfaces that collect administrative data electronically from information systems maintained by each correctional service program in Canada. A unique interface is developed for each correctional service program, through a joint project between CCJCSS and a participating program. When fully implemented, the survey will support 17 data collection interfaces with each correctional services information system in operation in Canada.

Follow-up method:
Every year, a data quality report and a set of verification tables are sent to reporting jurisdictions for their review and verification prior to release. These reports also highlight problems, if any, that were observed during analysis of the data, and include an historical trend analysis of the main indicators.

Languages offered to potential respondents:
English and French

The Canadian Correctional Services Survey collects administrative data directly from the respondent's local operational systems. These data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Canada Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-13.

The survey is currently administered as part of the National Justice Statistics Initiative (NJSI). Since 1981, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Deputy Ministers responsible for the administration of justice in Canada, with the Chief Statistician, have been working together in an enterprise known as the National Justice Statistics Initiative. The mandate of the NJSI is to provide information to the justice community as well as the public on criminal and civil justice in Canada. Although this responsibility is shared among Federal, Provincial and Territorial departments, the lead responsibility for the development of Canada's statistical system remains with Statistics Canada.

The statistical use of the administrative data is to develop and disseminate key indicators, such as average daily counts and intakes, to describe the operation of correctional services in Canada. As well, the CCSS will provide source data for research projects into the administration of justice in Canada.

Significant processing is done on the raw data collected by the CCSS from correctional service programs to develop indicators. For example, movement-in and -out of correctional facilities by offenders is organized to determine location of offenders each day of the year, which in turn is used to calculate custodial average daily counts for a reference fiscal year.

Error detection

The Canadian Correctional Services Survey central processing system contains automated edit modules that examine all incoming data for format, logic and consistency. Editing is done on microdata records only, no edits are applied at the macro level. All edits are applied during data processing.


Field values that do not meet specifications or are out of range are deemed to be 'not applicable' or 'unknown' and are re-coded accordingly. Potential data quality issues are flagged with a warning, and may be investigated manually by CCJCSS staff. Imputations such as donor imputation and estimation are not performed.

Records that are missing key fields (province or territory, person identification number, key dates, etc.) are rejected.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

The incoming data are assessed for completeness, historical inconsistency, the existence of outliers and reasonability. Data quality reports are then returned to the respondents for verification.

The variation in delivery of correctional services across the jurisdictions hinders, to some extent, precise cross-jurisdictional comparisons as the data elements captured are continually being refined to reflect local and legislative variations. The key measures presented although not perfectly precise, are still sufficient to monitor correctional trends, to stimulate policy analysis, and to evaluate legislative changes in a general way.

Factors impacting on cross-jurisdictional comparability are both definitional and systemic in nature. Definitional inconsistencies, which are in part a reflection of administrative differences, are outlined in table footnotes. Major administrative differences are: division in responsibility, administration of youth and adult services, and differing types of information systems. Information systems and the data elements used in these systems are generally established to serve local needs. Therefore comparable national data are not always achieved by aggregating data from local operational systems, even though labels used to describe the data are the same.

The products from this survey are subject to both institutional and peer (respondents, heads of correctional services, etc.) review.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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. CCJCSS has a policy of not releasing any tables that may identify a particular individual.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

Formal data quality indicators, beyond annual respondent verification and review for accuracy and consistency, are not part of the survey methodology. Loss of precision due to imputation is minimal.

A number of tools have been developed for the CCSS to minimize or correct errors.

System error may be introduced during the extraction and transcription of the correctional service program data into CCSS format. The CCJCSS minimized this source of error by implementing a standard interface development methodology that requires a complete testing of the software by both the CCJCSS and the correctional service program prior to implementation.

To ensure system error is not introduced by the CCSS data processing systems, the systems were subject to logic testing by the developer, user acceptance testing performed by the CCJCSS and/or the Methodology Division of Statistics Canada, and volume testing performed by the system developer.

Some data elements in CCSS are not collected by all correctional service programs. Thus, some data analysis can only be done for specific provinces and territories, and will not be available nationally.

Non-sampling error:
Differences in policies, definitions and information systems may affect comparability of data across correctional service programs. To better account for these differences, CCJCSS has done extensive consultations with all correctional services programs. These differences are documented in the "CCSS Analyst's Handbook" and well as footnoted in data tables and reports released to the public. The CCSS system also allows for customized data processing for each unique data provider, and this approach to processing mitigates some of these differences.

Date modified: