What is the Community Data Program?
The Community Data Program (CDP) is a gateway for municipalities and community sector organizations to access customized tables from Statistics Canada and other providers to monitor and report on social and economic development trends within their communities. Members access customized tables from Statistics Canada and other sources to get the evidence that supports sound decisions and social development programs. Established in the mid-1990s, the CDP helps members access and use a wealth of data products, valued at over $1 million.
The Community Data Program is made up of a national network of over 30 community data consortia. The communities they represent account for over 60 percent of the Canadian population. Consortium users rely on CDP data to monitor and report on social and economic development trends and conditions within their communities. Members include more than 350 organizations and over 1500 active users, including local police, social planning councils, health and family service agencies, school boards United Ways and other organizations working on the ground for social development.
There are three core purposes to the Community Data Consortium model:
- Purchase and facilitate access to social data at the smallest geographies possible
- Train organizations to analyze community data and use it for better decision making
- Communicate and disseminate the results as widely as possible
Lead representatives ("Leads") serve as the liaison between their Data Consortium and the Community Data Program management team. The Leads meet on a quarterly basis for discussion and feedback on the program. Many of these members are involved in working groups to help the Community Data Program management team in the development and outreach of the program:
- The Data purchase and access working group (DPAWG) identify data needs, improve data access, acquire data, and and address related technical concerns.
- The Training and Capacity Building Working Group (TCBWG) review and submit ideas to improve the training and learning tools provided by the program, to increase the capacity of the membership to make use of the data and to produce research products, and to improve the website to support the work of the membership.
The Community Data Consortium model has enabled the CDP to negotiate with Statistics Canada and other data providers for the preparation and lower-cost purchase of a wide variety of data that is geographically specific for planning local programs and services, and includes a replication of income and demographic data bought in previous years (see Data Purchase Schedule B). Tables are acquired from a variety of sources, both survey and administrative, down to the smallest scale possible. The Program can also acquire Statistics Canada data for custom boundaries.
What do Member Organizations get?
Access to Data: Members enjoy direct access to over $1 million worth of relevant and credible community data products capturing trends and conditions related to hundreds of topics at the smallest geographies available for the entire country. The entire CDP data repository is available from a members-only online catalogue. The program has created a unique compendium of over 800 data products from 20 public and private sector data providers offering data at municipal and neighbourhood geographies.
Training & Capacity Building: The CDP team is committed to building the capacity of members to access and use data to create evidence-based information products. CDP’s technical support services are designed to reach members with a range of skills and knowledge, from power data users to data novices. These services include customized training, email and phone support, access to web-based data access and analysis tools, and webinars connecting members to a Canada-wide network of like-minded community data users.
Cross-Canada Networking: The CDP connects a growing and dynamic network of over 1,500 individuals, working in over 350 municipal and community sector organizations across the country. An annual meeting, newsletters, community data stories, and live and recorded webinar events all contribute to raising awareness about evidence-based social development. Hosting a Community Data Consortium in your own community strengthens local evidence-based collaborative initiatives and connects local networks of data users and connects members to a Canada-wide network of hundreds of like-minded organizations.
Get more information on the Community Data Program by visiting the Program Resources page.
Join the Community Data Program
Already part of a Data Consortium?
If you are already part of a Data Consortium but have not signed up for access to communitydata.ca, you can register as a user. You will receive an email within one business day confirming that your account has been activated. Note that if you haven't been pre-approved by your Consortium Lead, we will get in touch with you and your Lead to confirm your status.
Join an existing Data Consortium as a Member Organization
If a Consortium already exists in your community, you can join them as a Member Organization.
To be eligible, your organization must:
The cost to join a Consortium varies by community. At a minimum, it requires a $125 Membership Fee to CCSD per year per organization.
If there's no Consortium in your community, we encourage you to start one! It's a great way to access small-area data, bring together local groups, and join the Canada-wide CDP network.
The annual Consortium Fee is based on your community's underlying population and can be shared among an unlimited number of Member Organizations. Each Member Organizations is required to pay a $125 Program Membership Fee per year.
Each Consortium has a Lead Organization, usually the largest member municipality, although a community organization may also be a Lead. To create a Consortium, the Lead Organization enters into an agreement with the CCSD.
Get in touch
Community Data Program
C/O Canadian Council on Social Development
P.O. Box 13713
Kanata, ON K2K 1X6
The Community Data Program is led by the Canadian Council on Social Development. CCSD is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization, which was founded in 1920. CCSD’s mission is to develop and promote progressive social policies inspired by social justice, equality and the empowerment of individuals and communities. CCSD does this through research, consultation, public education and advocacy. Its main product is information. Its sources of funding include research contracts, the sale of publications and memberships, and donations.