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Survey methodology

Survey objectives
Survey methods
Data limitations

Survey objectives

The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) is a survey designed to study the process by which new immigrants adapt and integrate into Canadian society, including the various stages in the integration process, the factors that help or hinder integration, and the impact of different resettlement services. The survey also examines how the socio-economic characteristics of immigrants influence the process by which they integrate into Canadian society.

The results of this survey will provide valuable information on how immigrants are meeting various challenges associated with integration and what resources are most helpful to their settlement in Canada. The main topics being investigated include housing, education, employment, income, health, values, attitudes, language skills, recognition of foreign credentials, development and use of social networks and satisfaction with the settlement experience.

The respondents will be interviewed in three waves, each at a separate stage after their arrival in Canada. This will allow the LSIC to compile a dynamic picture of the experiences of these newly arrived people.

Survey methods

The target population for the survey consists of immigrants who meet all of the following criteria:

  1. immigrant’s arrival in Canada took place between October 2000 and September 2001;
  2. immigrant was aged 15 years or older at the time of arrival;
  3. immigrant landed from abroad and, therefore, must have applied for admission to Canada through a Canadian Mission Abroad.

This target population includes about 165,000 out of the total 250,000 persons admitted to Canada during the reference period. All individuals who applied within Canada have been excluded from the survey as these people may have been here for a considerable length of time before being granted permanent resident status and would likely demonstrate different adaptation characteristics from those recently arrived. Refugees granted asylum from within Canada have also been excluded from the scope of the survey.

The population of interest for the LSIC, a subgroup of the target population, includes the immigrants in the target population and those who reside in Canada at the time of a given wave. Therefore, those immigrants who moved back to their original country or to another country have been excluded from the population of interest.

The survey is based on a longitudinal design with three waves of interviews. Immigrants were interviewed about six months after landing in Canada. This same group of immigrants will also be interviewed two years after arrival and then, finally, four years after arrival. The sample is made up of 12 independent monthly samples selected over consecutive months. Collection was completed separately for each month of landing.

For the first wave, the majority of interviews were conducted face to face and lasted about 90 minutes. They were completed in 1 of 15 languages, including English and French. With the exception of the Territories, the interviews were conducted across Canada.

In total, 20,322 immigrants were selected from the target population, with a total of 12,128 responding to the survey in the first wave. Each respondent in the survey has been assigned a specific weigh, which estimates the number of other immigrants represented by this respondent in the population of interest. As a result of the complexity of the sample design and response adjustments, it is important to use the survey weights in order to generate unbiased and reliable statistics.

Data limitations

The figures appearing in this report are estimates based on the data collected from the sample of respondents and are subject to potential error. In all surveys, error can be divided into two components: sampling and non-sampling error.

Sampling error is the difference between an estimate derived from a sample and the one that would have been obtained from a census using the same procedures to collect data from every person within the population. The size of the sampling error can be estimated from the survey results. An indication of the magnitude of the sampling error is provided for the estimates in this report. If the estimated sampling error is greater than 33% of the estimate, it is considered too unreliable to publish. If this error occurs, it is indicated in the table cells by the dash symbol (–). Although not considered unreliable to publish, values with an estimated error between 16.6% and 33.3% of the related estimate should be qualified and used with caution. These are identified by an asterisk symbol (*).

All other types of errors—such as coverage, response, processing and non-response—are considered non-sampling errors. Many of these errors are difficult to identify and quantify. Coverage errors arise when there are differences between the target population and the surveyed population.

To the extent that non-responding immigrants differ from immigrants who were untraceable and—more importantly—from immigrants who responded to the survey, separate weight adjustments were introduced in the final weights in order to compensate for the non-completed questionnaires.

A total of 72% of the LSIC sample was traced in the first wave. Of those traced, a total of 82.6% responded to the survey. Therefore, the overall response rate in terms of questionnaires completed was 59.2%. While there were some partially completed questionnaires and non-response items, the occurrences were minimal. In these instances, imputation methods were used to correct these errors.

For more details about the LSIC sample design, use of weights and non-response adjustments, please refer to the LSIC User’s Guide.

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Date Modified: 2003-09-26 Important Notices