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Researchers use RDC microdata to investigate a wide range of social, economic and health-related issues, from child poverty to eldercare, from school success to workplace stress, from Aboriginal well-being to immigrant integration, from family-life balance to mental health. This section informs you about the application procedure for accessing these microdata.

To find out what datasets are available in the RDCs, refer to our data page. For past publications using these data, consult our online bibliography in the publications section.To learn more about the research currently underway throughout the Network, you can browse the list of projects on Statistics Canada's website.

How to access RDC data

Protecting confidentiality in the RDCs

Note that researchers whose projects are approved will be subject to a security check before being sworn in under the Statistics Act as a 'deemed employee' of Statistics Canada. Deemed employees are subject to all the conditions and penalties of regular Statistics Canada employees, including fines and/or imprisonment for breach of confidentiality. Effective December 1, 2016, the RCMP requires all federal public servants in Canada (including RDC researchers and staff) to undergo fingerprinting as part of their security clearance. Additionally, Treasury Board of Canada requires a credit check. Please contact your local RDC to learn more about the security clearance procedure.

All results to be physically removed from secure areas will be carefully screened for confidential data, whether as direct listings or as possible residual disclosures.

Application process for academic researchers

Researchers wishing to access the RDC should create an account on the Statistics Canada Microdata Access Platform and follow the steps to create a new proposal. The proposal is evaluated by Statistics Canada for feasibility before access can be granted. In addition, if you are a student, your thesis supervisor must write a letter in support of your RDC application and join the application as a co-investigator. For other academic users, a completed peer-review may be required. The review must be conducted by a tenured faculty-member at an accredited Canadian university. Researchers who are required to submit such a peer review can source their own peer reviewer, or contact CRDCN for assistance if they are unable to find a suitable candidate. 

Application process for government researchers

Government researchers should create an account on the Statistics Canada Microdata Access Platform and create a new application, these proposals will be reviewed in a process distinct from academic proposals.


Any researcher may also contact his/her local RDC for information or assistance with an application, or click here to learn more.

Access fees for certains users

Fees can apply to certain research projects conducted in the RDCs. Consult the Access & Fee-For-Service Policy to learn more.

Additional requirements for census, NHS and LISA users.

Ethics reviews

Applicants often inquire about whether an ethics review is required for RDC research. A statement from the CRDCN on ethics reviews for RDC research can be accessed here.

Should I apply for RDC access?

Before submitting an application for access to an RDC, we recommend that you check whether Statistics Canada public use files (PUMFs) through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) could meet your research needs. More than 75 Canadian universities participate in the DLI. To help you determine whether a PUMF meets your needs or if you need to access the Master File in a RDC, you can use the Master File documentation on the DLI Nesstar website.

You can also consult Statistics Canada's public and free database where you will find a large range of tables on various topics with the latest statistics available in Canada.