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Advancing your research during emergency measures

With limitations in access to the RDCs during emergency measures, consider the following options to advance your research, which include developing code and conducting data exploration.

1) Use a Public Use Microdata File (PUMF)
Statistics Canada offers a subscription-based service to access the collection of available Statistics Canada public use microdata files (PUMF). Public use microdata files contain anonymized, non-aggregated data. Using statistical software, a user can manipulate and analyze data variables in these files. A list of available PUMFs and publicly available tables can be found here

Most universities that host an RDC already subscribe to this service. Contact your local Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) contact using this list of participating institutions and their contacts. Researchers of subscribing institutions can search the Nesstar platform to download PUMFs or search for Masterfiles metadata. You can also contact the person listed for your institution to gain access to other products available through the DLI, such as: Discharge Abstract Database (DAD; Research Analytic Files from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI); Postal Code Conversion files; and Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M).

Please note that Statistics Canada will be releasing more up-to-date PUMFs including health related datasets. For more information please contact the DLI team.  
2) Use the Real-Time Remote Access (RTRA) system
The RTRA system is an on-line remote access facility allowing users to run SAS programs, in real-time, against microdata sets located in a central and secure location. Researchers using the RTRA system do not gain direct access to the microdata and cannot view the content of the microdata file. Instead, users submit SAS programs to extract results in the form of frequency tables (the system also allows users to calculate means, percentiles, percent distribution, proportions, ratios, and shares). As RTRA researchers cannot view the microdata, becoming a deemed employee of Statistics Canada is no longer necessary. This relationship is the basis that allows the RTRA to service its clients rapidly.

The list of RTRA datasets can be found here
More general information about RTRA can be found here
A user guide for RTRA can be found here.

3) Get a headstart on your next project
If you haven’t yet had the chance to create an account on the new Microdata Access Portal, now is a good chance to familiarize yourself with the process. In creating a proposal, you can use the resources above, or contact your analyst for help or to provide you with the non-confidential documentation for the datasets you need. Proposal reviews are still ongoing during the COVID-related shutdown and you can come back with a headstart on your next research projects.

Create an account here

4) Keep up to date on the new data in the RDC
Check the CRDCN website for new datasets that might be of interest to you. A full list of our data can be found here along with a list of releases month-by-month. You can also sign up for updates from Statistics Canada.

5) Keep up to date on Statistics Canada data releases and other relevant information
If you have not consulted the Statistics Canada website recently, it may be useful to periodically review it for updates that may be relevant to your research. If you have not signed up for updates, you can do so here.  

6) Consult resources such as rapid response funding available at your home institution
In the context of the COVID-19, many universities are providing rapid response funding opportunities for their faculty members. Please remember to consult the website for the Vice-President Research Office of your home institution.