Dan Scott, dscott@laurentian.ca
Systems Librarian
J.N. Desmrais Library

Health promotion example

Problem statement:

Compare the prevalence of tobacco use in the Sudbury area versus the corresponding provincial and national rates.

Smoking prevalence - process

  1. Start at Statistics Canada home page
  2. Search for smoking. Suggested links points to Current smokers. This is a summary table segmented by population across Canada. The Source shows that the data comes from Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 105-0501.
  3. CANSIM table 105-0501 is scoped to Canada by default, reflecting all of the geographic areas across Canada. Click Add/Remove data to refine the results.
  4. Calculate percentages by downloading the CSV file into a spreadsheet and applying formula.
  5. If you have questions about the research methodology that was used to draw these conclusions, Related information links to a detailed description of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS).

Smoking prevalence - access to raw data

Smoking prevalence - <odesi> raw data

  1. Click Browse ODESI by Category → Health → CANADA → Canadian Community Health Survey → 2010 → View Survey. The CCHS 2010 survey page opens.
  2. We can check our assumptions about population size in the Codebook, under the Documentation heading.
  3. We can explore the data under the Explore & Download link
    1. Click the Filter button
    2. To limit to the geographic area of choice, select Geographic variables → Health Region → Add to subset, select the value 35961, SUDBURY DIST H., and click Add → OK
    3. To generate a table of types of smokers for this area, select Smoking → Type of smoker → Add to row. The table displays.
  4. We can download all of the raw survey data, or a subset of the data, by clicking the Download button. (Note: This can be a lot of data!)

Census of Canada

Census: a survey of the entire population that produces a "snapshot" of data from one specific point in time.

Combined with the long-form sample questionnaire, has been a good starting point for demographic data for researchers.

History of the Census

2006 Census

Currently the bulk of available data comes from the 2006 census:

Census geography

Census data is broken down for a variety of geographic areas ranging from the national level down to the highly detailed dissemination block (DB) level.

Census geography: hierarchy

Census geography: hierarchy (cont.)

Census data & maps: online

Census data & maps: print


Citing census data

You can generally incorporate materials from Statistics Canada such as computer files, tables, charts, maps, and other documents in your work, as long as you cite them appropriately.

Two great resources that can be hard to find:

For more information