Table of Contents

Criteria for Inclusion

Primary Canadian Data Sources
Indicators & Community Profiles
Community Data Models in Other Countries
Select International Social Statistics

Summary & Next Steps





Inventory > Introduction

Inventory of Community Data Sources


The Community Social Data Strategy (CSDS) is a national consortium of 16 regional social data user networks, led and supported by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD), which provides a gateway for municipalities and community-based organizations to access social data from Statistics Canada and other sources. CSDS members include municipal planners, social researchers and service providers. Since its inception in 2001, the CSDS has facilitated access to over $1 million worth of data to communities across Canada. Moreover, it has provided a much-needed structure through which communities gain new knowledge and tools, and a greater capacity to respond to local needs.

In January 2007, the CCSD received one-year funding from HRSDC to build and strengthen the CSDS network, negotiate a new data package with Statistics Canada (based on the 2006 Census), and scope out potential new areas of data demand and supply.

To assist the network in determining how their data needs could be met, the consortium needed to know what data were available at the neighbourhood/community level, who collects these data, and how the data could be accessed or obtained. Thus, one component of the second phase of the CSDS project was the preparation of an inventory of the principle sources of social data. Such an inventory can be used to identify what data are readily available, what data are collected, but are not routinely disseminated at a community or neighbourhood level, and what data gaps exist.

This paper distinguishes between primary data sources − that is, individual databases that are routinely collected − and dissemination models in which data have been assembled from a number of sources. The focus is on databases that could yield information at the community or neighbourhood level.

The CSDS consortium is also interested in looking at what other countries have done to make available community/neighbourhood data and to determine if their models could be applied in Canada. Because there is interest in social data more generally, a non-exhaustive list has been included of international and academic organizations or networks involved in the collection and analysis of social data.

The inventory is divided into eight sections:


Note: In most cases, descriptions of the databases have been taken directly from the relevant websites listed as a “Link,” and thus are shown in quotation marks.


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