Study on International Money Transfers (SIMT)

Detailed information for 2017




One Time

Record number:


The objective of this study is to collect information about international money transfers, from residents of Canada to their relatives or friends living outside Canada.

Data release - April 17, 2019


The objective of this study is to collect information about international money transfers, from residents of Canada to their relatives or friends living outside Canada.

This study explores topics such as the various ways to send money, reasons for choosing one method over another, and the different uses of the money, as well as amounts transferred, fees and frequency of transferring money.

The results of this study will be used by Global Affairs Canada to help guide policies and programs with the goal of lowering the costs to send money outside Canada, and allow for safer, more reliable money transfers.

Collection period: April to July, 2018

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population comprises landed immigrants, temporary residents of Canada, and naturalized Canadians who were born in Official Development Assistance (ODA) recipient countries and are 18 years of age and over as of April 1, 2018. The temporary residents covered by the survey are refugee claimants and persons with a work permit in 2017. The survey does not cover individuals who arrived in Canada after August 2017. Residents of the ten provinces are included, while residents of the three territories are excluded. Full-time residents of institutions are excluded as well.

Instrument design

The survey content for the Study on International Money Transfers was drafted in consultation with Global Affairs Canada.

The questionnaire underwent both sensitivity testing and qualitative testing in both official languages, conducted by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Centre.


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

The survey frame was a person-based list frame, constructed from two sources. The first source was the 2016 Longform Census which was used to cover naturalized Canadians and landed immigrants. The second source was administrative files from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which were used to cover immigrants that landed after the 2016 Census, refugee claimants and temporary residents with a valid work permit. Persons aged 18 and over as of April 1, 2018, and persons born in ODA recipient countries were kept on the frame.

Three high-level strata were formed: the Census immigrants, the IRCC new immigrants, and the IRCC temporary residents. Within each of these three strata, five substrata were formed based on the country of birth: the Americas, Africa, East and Southeast Asia, South Asia and other ODA recipient countries. A stratified random sample of 40,000 persons was selected and sent to collection.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2018-04-18 to 2018-07-16

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

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

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 respondents 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 the 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.


Imputation is a process used to determine and assign replacement values to resolve problems of missing, invalid or inconsistent data. Hot deck donor imputation was performed to replace missing values for amount remitted in 2017. For respondents who remitted to more than one country, the amount remitted was the sum of several variables. Of the respondents who remitted in 2017, about 6% had at least one variable imputed which was used to derive the amount remitted in 2017.


The principle behind estimation in a probability sample is that each unit in the sample "represents", besides itself, several other units not in the sample. For example, in a simple random 2% sample of the population, each unit in the sample represents 50 units in the population. The weighting phase is a step which calculates, for each record, what this number is. This weight appears on the microdata file, and must be used to derive meaningful estimates from the survey.

Weighting for SIMT was performed separately for persons selected from the Census portion and the IRCC portion of the frame.

The following steps were performed to produce weights for persons selected from the Census portion of the SIMT frame:
1) The Census longform weights were obtained for each person selected in the SIMT sample.
2) SIMT initial weights were computed by multiplying the Census weight by the inverse of the probability of selection for SIMT.
3) The weights of the respondents were adjusted to account for the persons who did not respond to the survey.
4) The Census dissemination data was used to generate control totals; the weights were calibrated so that the sum of the SIMT weights match these control totals.

The following steps were performed to produce weights for persons selected from the IRCC portion of the SIMT frame:
1) SIMT initial weights were generated by computing the inverse of the probability of selection.
2) The weights of the respondents were adjusted to account for the persons who did not respond to the survey.

Quality evaluation

While rigorous quality assurance measures 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.

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 type does not apply to this statistical program.

Data accuracy

Since the SIMT 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 SIMT was 57.5%. 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 SIMT 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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