Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) Technical Report, 2019
6 Dissemination

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Once the linkage is complete, the data files (see Section 6.3) are stored on Statistics Canada servers for data users to create customized tables and model output. Statistics Canada disseminates output via tabular and analytical products while maintaining strict adherence to the confidentiality of the data. Members of the Research Data Centres (RDC) have direct access to administrative microdata files (see Section 6.2).  Confidentiality rules are maintained in order to ensure data safety and security (see Section 6.4).

Accessing data via the RDC Program

The Research Data Centres (RDCs) are secure areas in which to view Statistics Canada microdata that are located across Canada. The RDCs are hosted by 29 Canadian universities and are run by Statistics Canada analysts, whereas the FRDC (Federal Research Data Centre), located in Ottawa, has been established to support the analytical needs of federal departments. RDCs offer secure conditions governing all aspects of data usage, from data access to its publication.

6.1 Analytical products

At Statistics Canada, the common repository is an online database which holds data tables that report immigrants’ income by various individual characteristics and geographies. From the main page of the Data search engine at Statistics Canada website, the IMDB tables can be accessed by selecting “Immigration and ethnocultural diversity”, “Immigrants and non-permanent residents”, and then “Longitudinal Immigration Database” under “Survey or statistical program”. It should be noted that Statistics Canada has replaced the Canadian Socioeconomic Information Management System (CANSIM) tables with a common repository in June 2018, where the IMDB tables can be found. It is to be noted that yearly updates of the IMDB are independent from one other. From year to year, there may have been changes to data processing. The income measures (averages and median) available on the tables are wages, salaries and commissions, employment insurance, investment incomes, self-employment earnings, and social welfare benefits (for details on how these measures are derived, see Appendix D.8).

For the 2019 IMDB, four tables were released at both national and provincial level, where incomes are in 2018 constant dollars:

Table 1 (43-10-0026): Income of Immigrant taxfilers, by sex, pre-admission experience, knowledge of official languages, immigrant admission category, admission year and tax year, for Canada and provinces, 2018 constant dollars;

Table 2 (43-10-0017): Interprovincial migration of immigrant taxfiler, by province of intended destination, province of residence, age groups at taxation year by sex, pre-admission experience, knowledge of official languages, immigrant admission category, admission year and tax year, for Canada;

Table 3 (43-10-0018): Interprovincial migration of immigrant taxfilers, by age groups at taxation year by sex, knowledge of official languages, immigrant admission category, pre-admission experience, admission year and tax year, for Canada and provinces; and

Table 4 (43-10-0027): Income of Immigrant taxfilers, by sex, immigrant admission category, socio-demographic profile, admission year and tax year, for Canada and provinces, 2018 constant dollars

All tables offer provincial breakdown. It is to be noted that the province is based on the province of residence on December 31 of the tax year (variable PRCO).

Additional tables will be released at sub provincial level and about immigrant children outcomes

In addition, several analytical articles related to the IMDB have been written over the years (see Appendix C). Moreover, Statistics Canada analysts take ad hoc data requests from researchers and data users. These are filled on a cost-recovery basis.

6.2 Requesting analytical files

Once the IMDB has been released, all the analytical files described in this report  (e.g.  IMDB_T1FF_YEAR, PNRF_1980_2019, NRF_PERSON_1980_2019 and NRF_PERMIT_1980_2019) are also available to on-site researchers, who are granted access once they have deemed employee status with Statistics Canada. These individual micro-data are stripped of all identifying information (such as exact date of birth, landing date, Social Insurance Number (SIN), and name). Researchers unable to be physically present at Statistics Canada’s headquarters can access files through the Research Data Centres (RDC) throughout the country. The RDCs provide researchers with direct access to a wide range of population and household surveys, as well as administrative data in a secure university setting. IMDB users can request custom tabulations from Statistics Canada; such requests are filled on a cost-recovery basis, and cost will vary according to the nature and type of each request.

Before any output can be released, results are vetted for confidentiality by Statistics Canada. Minimum cell size requirements and rounding minimize the risk of breach of confidentiality.

6.3 Other statistical programs using IMDB data

IMDB data are used in many Statistics Canada programs for a variety of purposes. The Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD) uses IMDB data to include a sample of 20% of IMDB records in its sample. The LAD also uses IMDB records to add immigrant-specific variables, such as landing year, to its databank.

The Canadian Employer-Employee Dynamics Database (CEEDD) is a set of longitudinal analytical data files maintained by Statistics Canada to provide matched data between employees and employers of the Canadian labour market for 2001 and subsequent years. The CEEDD files cover all individuals that can be identified from the T1 and T4 files as well as employer or self-employment information that individuals can be linked to. The IMDB is one of the component files of CEEDD, and this linkage allows researchers to conduct analysis related to labour market outcomes and job dynamics with respect to the immigrant population in Canada.

The 2013 General Social Survey (GSS) on Social Identity (SI) collects detailed information on the social networks and civic participation and engagement of Canadians. The 2013 GSS on SI was linked to the IMDB for the purpose of selecting a representative sample of the immigration population to support and evaluate immigrant policies and programs. In particular, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) used this linked data file to develop a descriptive profile of the social connections and civic engagement of immigrants across admission categories.

DEMOSIM,Note a Statistics Canada microsimulation model, uses the IMDB-LAD for population projections for the provinces, territories, census metropolitan areas, and selected smaller geographies, on the basis of a number of characteristics. Census programs use the database for certification of immigration data.

The content of the IMDB has been integrated to multiple data sources, including the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC), the Longitudinal and International Study of Adults (LISA), and the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). As a result of the IMDB being linked to SDLE, linkages to other statistical programs are now possible.

6.4 ConfidentialityNote

Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of individuals. For that reason, data safety and security is a top concern. Statistics Canada strives to protect the data of Canadians. All personal information created, held, or collected by Statistics Canada is protected by the Privacy Act, as well as by the Statistics Actin the case of respondents to the agency’s surveys. The confidentiality of data is enforced through the Statistics Act, the Access to Information Act, and the Privacy Act. For more information, visit Using New and Existing Data for Official Statistics. For additional information on Trust, the data’s safety and privacy, as well as transparency and openness, visit Statistics Canada's Trust Centre.

In view of its unique mandate as the national statistical agency in collecting personal information solely for statistical and research purposes, Statistics Canada has prepared privacy impact assessments that address privacy issues associated with its survey activities.

Statistics Canada initiated a privacy impact assessmentNote following approval by its Policy Committee (the agency’s senior executive committee, chaired by the Chief Statistician) of significant changes to the Longitudinal Immigration Database. The purpose of this assessment was to determine whether there were any privacy, confidentiality or security issues associated with these changes and, if there were, to make recommendations for their resolution or mitigation.

This assessment concluded that, given existing Statistics Canada safeguards as well as the additional measures put into place for the Longitudinal Immigration Database, the risk of inadvertent disclosure is extremely low. The importance of the data to public policy outweighs the privacy implications. The governance mechanisms in place constitute safeguards against inappropriate use of the data. Through the periodic review by its Policy Committee, Statistics Canada regularly assesses the continued relevance of the IMDB and the value of the information against the implied privacy invasion.

The agency’s statistical work involves record linkage projects that bring together information about individual respondents for research purposes. This is a recognized source of valuable statistical information, but the linkage must always serve a public good. To address possible privacy intrusions from this type of research, Statistics Canada not only has a directive in place, but also practices a well-defined review and approval process for all record linkages.

To ensure confidentiality, it is mandatory to round tabular and descriptive output when producing tables with IMDB data (see Appendix D.5).

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