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Statistics & Data

Statistical and data information resources available at Saint Mary's University, including Statistics Canada, business and international sources

About StatCan Microdata & the DLI

The Data Liberation Initiative

The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) is a subscription agreement providing scholarly access to Statistics Canada Public Use Microdata files (PUMFs), selected StatCan databases and geographic information files, to students and faculty at participating universities.

PUMFs are non-aggregated data which are carefully modified and then reviewed to ensure that no individual or business is directly or indirectly identified.

Below you will find a variety of tools used to identify and retrieve Statistics Canada PUMFs. 

Datasets you are able to retrieve yourself are licenced to you under terms of the Statistics Canada Open Data Licence. Please read and be sure to abide by these licence terms before making use of StatCan micro datasets. 

Access Options - StatCan Microdata

Many DLI-licenced micro-datasets can be downloaded using these self-service tools:

Statistics Canada Rich Data Service (RDS)

  • Statistics Canada’s analytical platform for Public Use Microdata files (PUMFs) and their metadata. The RDS Explorer and Tabulation Engine's user-friendly interfaces allow users to browse, interact, and download data and metadata for online or offline analysis." Survey data can be exported in whole or in part, for use with most statistical software. Be sure to consult metadata and other survey documentation for full information.
  • See RDS Instruction Guide here

Statistics Canada Public Use Microdata Files


Abacus Repository (Statistics Canada) collection 

  • UBC-hosted repository of Data sets include Canadian census data, Public Use Microdata Files (PUMFs) from Statistics Canada (and other Open Data sources) 

ODESI (Search & Identify variables only) 

  • Saint Mary's does not subscribe to Odesi, but you can use it to do a variable search for Statistics Canada microdata available in the DLI collection. One important exception: microdata from many CORA opinion polls are available for download in Odesi.

Some DLI-Licensed datasets can only be accessed on your behalf via the DLI Librarian.

If you can't find what your looking for, please contact the Library Research Help Desk or Joyce Thomson, Digital Services Librarian (DLI) via Teams or email for further information.

CHASS Data Tools (Computing for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Toronto):

Specialized DLI Data Products:

If you're interested to use these, contact Joyce Thomson, Digital Services Librarian, Patrick Power Library

Postal CodeOM data products: PCCF and PCCF+

Discharge Abstract Database (DAD):

Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M) (Licence Terms Here)

Need more granular data than DLI PUMFs provide? Consider:

Canadian Research Data Centre Network (RDC):

If the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) public use microdata files do not fulfill your data requirements, Statistics Canada Research Data Centres can provide approved researchers with access to master files from population and household surveys. Access to a RDC is available only to approved researchers, as the centre provides access to confidential microdata files.

For Saint Mary's researchers, the nearest centre is the Atlantic Research Data Centre (ARDC) is located at Dalhousie University.

Start your application early, as it can take a very long time to complete this process.Contact Joyce Thomson for further information.