Access, infrastructure, community
Access to municipal and community data is not always easy or affordable, nor has the infrastructure for cataloguing and accessing data always been available until the formation of the Community Data Program. Becoming a member of our consortia provides access to hard-to-get data at sub-municipal scales, data that can inform public policy, community-based research, community-based planning, and evidence-based decision-making.
Our website provides a hub for consortia members to not only access data, but to also access the 1500+ users across the county. One of the great benefits to our members is their ability to find a community of practice – from city sectors to nonprofit and research sectors. Local consortia meet regularly, have community events, and share resources.
The Community Data Program website also provides a variety of ways to share information – from our newsfeed/blog to consortia-specific pages – keeping members engaged and connected to the information they need.
Program Benefit Highlights
....Broadening access to valuable neighbourhood-level social data for hundreds of municipal governments and voluntary sector organizations
Based on formal agreements put in place with community consortia, the Community Data Program makes valuable social data available to over 400 organizations in over 20 urban regions, including more than 50 Canadian cities and towns located across Canada. Each consortium brings together anywhere from 5 to 50 members, including municipal governments, social-planning networks, health and family service agencies, school boards, police services, and United Ways.
...Negotiating a new data-package agreement with Statistics Canada on behalf of community consortia
A new data-package agreement was negotiated with Statistics Canada and ratified by members. The package includes over 700 data tables from both Census and non-Census sources, with a wide range of small and customized geographies. Non-Census tables are derived from the Survey of Household Spending, Labour Force Survey, Small Area and Administrative Data, Canadian Business Patterns, Canadian Crime Statistics, and Health Public Use Microdata.
...Supporting the development of a streamlined web-based data dissemination system between Statistics Canada and CDP consortia
Legal agreements between the Community Data Program and local consortia, which lay out terms and conditions and web-based tools and protocols for accessing and downloading data tables, were created to facilitate efficient data dissemination. The data include a national atlas, which displays the distribution of thousands of data tables; regional atlases, which display, for each consortium, the regional distribution (at the CT or DA level) of those indicators; the Inventory of Community Data sources; the data tables; and a catalog that permits users to locate and select the tables they require.
...Providing technical support to community consortia
The Community Data Program has created web-based tools to support consortium members, including an in-depth online help feature that explains: (1) How to use statistical data (including how to use Beyond 2020 Software), (2) How to use the Consortium web tools (including the online Atlas of Social Data), and (3) How to use Census Data. In addition to the help files, there are over three dozen links in a Community Data Inventory, a Helpful Tips section, and a FAQ page related to using data and the site. All consortia members have e-mail and telephone access to the CCSD technical team and associated consultants.
...Supporting the sharing of experience, learning, and tools
The Community Data Program is structured to encourage regular and active interaction and communication among and within community consortia. The Program brings together community data consortia from across Canada, providing important opportunities for learning and sharing experiences and perspectives around the use of social data to meet community challenges. The website makes available collaborative tools, including a members contact list, a members-only discussion forum, and links to local reports prepared by community consortia (see each consortia page) using community data. The local consortium lead organizations constitute a nationwide “hub and spoke” network of community-based social-data users. The pivotal role played by municipalities contributes valuable technical knowledge and support to local community organizations.
...Strengthened local social programs and policies
Public policy at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels benefits from new tools and information developed by community-based projects informed by social data. The customized data tables available through the Community Data Program have allowed data users to pursue a wide range of evidence-based analysis for informed decision-making.
With the Community Data Program data-acquisition and dissemination infrastructure in place, we are ready to attract new members. Increasing access to different sources community, neighbourhood and local scale data is being pursued through Community Data Canada with Statistics Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The Community Data Program is led by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD).