Appendix III: Other 2015 sample design changes

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In this survey redesign, clusters – the first stage of sample selection – were primarily constructed from the Dissemination Areas defined for the 2011 Census. Clusters that were considerably larger or smaller, than the ideal size of between 100 and 400 occupied dwellings were then split, or combined, to form clusters that were reasonably sized and still geographically-contiguous. These clusters were grouped to create the LFS design strata. For operational reasons, special strata were created in the CMA of Toronto for large individual buildings that, as clusters, could not be easily split.

In addition to the usual exclusion of clusters that are Indian Reserves, clusters that were identified as extremely remote or of low population density were excluded from the survey’s coverage. The number of households excluded in this design was increased, but it still is estimated to be less than 2% of the Canadian total.

In order to reduce the complexity of the design to some degree, and be consistent with the changes above, the 2015 sample design required changes to special strata and to the types of sampling plans that are used. Immigrant strata in the three largest CMAs, high vacancy and high cost strata were no longer found necessary. High income strata were retained, but only for the benefit of the Survey of Household Spending, which uses these in its design. In addition, the three-stage design that was previously used for isolated population centres has been dropped, and Prince Edward Island is now covered by a single-stage design.

One innovation that was introduced with the 2005 design, the use of existing lists of addresses, has been extended significantly with the 2015 design. Statistics Canada’s residential address register (AR) has been incorporated into a new household survey frame service which is now being used to produce the list of addresses for over 90% of the dwellings in the LFS sample. This reduces the work of field interviewers who would otherwise have to create the list of addresses by canvassing the neighbourhoods in the LFS sample. The frame service also supplies telephone numbers that will help interviewers in establishing contact with sample households.

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