Data Liberation Initiative (DLI)

The Geoffrey R. Weller Library pays an annual subscription fee that allows current faculty, students, and staff access to selected Statistics Canada data, including public use microdata files (PUMFs), aggregate data, and databases.

Important:  Use of these files fall under the terms of the DLI license agreement. This agreement includes an Amendment and Appendix IV, both of which relate to the Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M), and Appendix II, which relates to postal code data.

Not sure what Statistics Canada data might be relevant to your needs?  

Use one or all of the following tools to discover which Statistics Canada surveys include variables relevant to your research.  Then check the DLI, as described below, for PUMFs and/or aggregate data from those surveys:

  • Search function on Statistics Canada Web site. (Statistics Canada produces many articles and summary tables which can serve to lead you to an appropriate survey.)
  • Statistics Canada’s list of surveys and statistical programs.
  • Variable-level search in UT/DLS: microdata analysis and subsetting with SDA.  (Click on Search all data sets, and then click on Search variable-level information among data sets in SDA.)
  • Variable-level search in DLI Nesstar. (Connect to the DLI site, click on Nesstar, and click on Search DLI variables).

Accessing PUMFs:

Public use microdata files (PUMFs) are based on corresponding confidential master data files from specific Statistics Canada surveys. To create PUMFs, the data are modified (e.g., selected variables collapsed or suppressed) to ensure that there is no risk of breaching confidentiality.  Note that microdata files contain organized raw data (rows of numbers and letters).  To be useful, these files must be used in conjunction with supporting documentation (documentation that describes the data file) and statistical software (e.g., SPSS or Stata).

PUMFs in the DLI collection may be accessed using the following tools: 

Important: If a PUMF does not meet your needs, consider applying to use the corresponding confidential master file at the RDC@UNBC.  The variables for many of the master files may be reviewed in DLI Nesstar (connect to the DLI site, click on Nesstar, and click on the plus sign next to Statistics Canada metadata for Master Files (RDC).

Accessing aggregate data:

  1. Connect to the DLI site.
  2. Click on DLI Beyond 20/20 Web Data Server (WDS).
  3. Explore the folders to access aggregate data in various formats (e.g., PDF, Excel, Beyond 20/20). 

Tip: Statistics Canada presentation showing how to navigate and use the WDS. (Start with Slide #5.)

Other DLI data

Please contact the Data Services Librarian to request access to any of the following files (no charge due to UNBC's DLI membership):

DLI-related and other aggregate databases containing Statistics Canada data:

  • Canadian Census Analyser (from the University of Toronto’s CHASS Data Centre) – Contains census data at the federal and provincial (1991-2011), federal electoral district (1991 – 2011), census division (1981-2011), census subdivision (1981-2011), census tract (1961 – 2011), and enumeration area/dissemination area (1981 – 2011) levels; and Census / National Household Survey (NHS) microdata files for 1971 – 2006.
  • CANSIM @ CHASS (from the University of Toronto’s CHASS Data Centre) – Statistics Canada’s CANSIM (Canadian Socio-Economic Information Management System) database contains times series data relating to such topics as the system of national accounts, labour, manufacturing, construction, trade, agriculture, and finance. Selected demographic and social data, such as population estimates and vital statistics, are also included in this product. Updated daily.
  • Trade Analyser @ CHASS (from the University of Toronto’s CHASS Data Centre) – includes tables for world trade and for Canadian imports and exports.

Free Canadian Data

  • DataBC – Freely available BC Government machine-readable data.
  • Open Data – Collaborative effort amongst Government of Canada departments and agencies to provide access to machine-readable data (general and geospatial) managed by the federal government.
  • Ipsos Canadian Data Wilfrid Laurier University has made a significant amount of data donated by Ipsos Canada freely available. This collection includes a range of opinion polls and surveys on topics such as national and provincial politics, real estate buying habits, and Canadian heritage, among others.