The Research Data Centres (RDC) program is part of an initiative by Statistics Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and university consortia to help strengthen Canada's social research capacity and to support the policy research community.
RDCs provide researchers with access, in a secure university setting, to microdata from population and household surveys. The centres are staffed by Statistics Canada employees. They are operated under the provisions of the Statistics Act in accordance with all the confidentiality rules and are accessible only to researchers with approved projects who have been sworn in under the Statistics Act as 'deemed employees.'
RDCs are located throughout the country, so researchers do not need to travel to Ottawa to access Statistics Canada data.
The Centre is open to all persons who have appropriate clearance from Statistics Canada. Access to data is allowed after approval of an application that has been peer reviewed through a process managed jointly by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council and Statistics Canada.
Workshops, trainings, and conferences about statistical techniques and the use of data are periodically conducted for researchers. Projects undertaken at the RDC have generated products including master’s thesis, doctoral dissertations, and publications in books and journals. The Centre highlights research findings at the RDC. A Council advises the RDC management.