Health data are facts and statistics that provide insights about the health, development and well-being of populations. These include information about health care services, health status, health behaviours (e.g. diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption), and the context in which people live and work.
Health data may be collected through interactions with the healthcare system or providers, such as visiting a family doctor or getting a blood test. They may also be gathered through clinical trials, health surveys, patient registries, remote patient monitoring and more.
The data are stored, processed and administered by provincial, territorial and federal data centres across Canada:
- British Columbia – Population Data BC
- Alberta – Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit
- Manitoba – Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP)
- Ontario – Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)
- Quebec – Institut de la statistique du Québec and Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec
- New Brunswick – New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training
- Nova Scotia – Health Data Nova Scotia (HDNS)
- Prince Edward Island - Centre for Health and Community Research, University of PEI
- Newfoundland & Labrador – Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Health Information
- Northwest Territories – NWT SPOR SUPPORT Unit
- Statistics Canada
- Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
No. The CDP centralizes and facilitates data requests from researchers. Data are never sold, exchanged, transferred, or otherwise shared with the CDP. The CDP never has access to the data.
No. As personal information (e.g. name, date of birth, personal health number, etc.) is separated from health data and stored on separate servers and networks, your local data centre will not be able to look up and provide you with your individual data.
Please contact your local data centre as they can put you in touch with the original data provider (e.g. Ministry of Health). You would then be able to make a Freedom of Information request and the original data provider will be able to disclose what data they have of yours.
You can also contact your primary care provider or the hospital where you receive healthcare services. They may be able to provide information about your health data.
Each data centre has stringent policies and requirements with regards to maintaining the confidentiality and security of data, including physical security controls, secure data facilities and data encryption. Data centres must comply with provincial and federal privacy legislation. Researchers enter into agreements with data centres and commit to the appropriate use and safeguarding of the data, which are already de-identified before the data centre makes them available to the researcher.
The personal information which may be used to identify you (e.g. name, date of birth, personal health number, etc.) is separated from your health data, and stored on separate servers and networks and never provided to researchers or the CDP.
For information about specific policies and procedures, please contact your local data centre.
The ability for your data to be used for commercial purposes varies by province and/or territory. Commercial entities must meet local eligibility criteria in order to access data. Please contact your local data centre for more information.
The data in the data centres have been de-identified, so we do not know how your individual data have been used.
Please contact your local data centre for more information about studies that have used the data.
Please contact your local data centre for more information.
Researchers and Institutions
Traditional sources of administrative data (e.g. physician payment information, hospital separations), as well as drug claims, patient assessments in long-term care and home care, and other clinical data, including data from Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).
A full list of data holdings can be found on the Data Access Support Hub (DASH).
Any researcher who meets the eligibility requirements for the jurisdiction can request data through the CDP. The permissions are jurisdiction specific.
In the first stage of the project, the CDP will prioritize requests from researchers from SPOR SUPPORT Units, SPOR Networks and recipients of Innovative Clinical Trials (iCT) grants.
Requests will be assessed using existing processes and protocols, including research ethics board review and other requirements.
The Data Access Support Hub (DASH) will respond to you within 10 working days of your submission to provide preliminary feedback, and schedule a consultation to review project details and address questions.
The time it takes to compile the data varies depending on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the request (e.g., the number of databases involved and whether the data request requires privacy consultation and approval).
The intent of the CDP is not necessarily to provide access to data more quickly, but rather to provide a single stop for multi-jurisdictional data requests and eventually, to offer comparable data across jurisdictions through the algorithm harmonization process.
The CDP will provide coordinated support and guidance throughout the data access request process.
For training, education or support on using the data, please contact your local data centre to find out what resources are available.
The data are stored, processed and administered by data centres across Canada.
The CDP acts as a facilitator which centralizes and receives data requests centrally, and coordinates support and processing of the requests. Data are never sold, exchanged, transferred, or otherwise shared with the CDP. The CDP never has access to the data.
Data resources from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) can also be requested.
The CDP is currently working to expand the multi-jurisdictional data that is available to be requested via the Data Access Support Hub (DASH) and to harmonize the data across jurisdictions. The expanded data is intended to include additional electronic medical records (EMR) and clinical data, genomic and other ‘omic’ information, data collected directly from patients and social data.
Harmonization of data across jurisdictions will generate analysis-ready data that are comparable or standardized across jurisdictions, making it easier for researchers to work with.