Data category descriptions:
Data categories indicate a broad area of information that is contained in a dataset, e.g., laboratory test results, dispensed drugs, or demographics. You can use these categories to search for datasets that may be relevant to your study. See below for descriptions and examples.

Data Category Description Examples
assessment A measure arising from a process applied to existing data about a person and designed to evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of something associated with that person. CVD 5-year risk score, Apgar score.
demographics Data relating to a set of factors which characterize a population or segment of a population. Note: date of birth, date of death, and date(s) of marriage are included under the category “vital statistics”. Income and employment are included under “socioeconomic”. Sex, gender, age [at some event], race, ethnicity, marital status, etc. E.g., age at clinical diagnosis
diagnosis Data representing the conclusion of a clinical diagnostic process. The “diagnosis” label does not include patient-reported conditions. Codes such as ICD-9/10, etc. Can include fields such as “COVID-19 status” with values such as “confirmed”, “suspected”, etc. Can include morbidity.
disability Information relating to a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on a person's ability to do daily activities, and often recognized in law and/or professional practice. Code for a disability, disability flag.
drugs (dispensed) Data relating to the process of dispensing a drug compatible with a drug prescription and is generally dispensed by pharmacies/pharmacists. Includes anesthetics and devices. Codes from drug dictionaries such as RxNorm or ATC (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical) etc., as well as the date or time of an order or the amount dispensed. May also be a flag indicating a drug was dispensed.
drugs (prescribed) Data relating to the process of prescribing a drug compatible with a drug prescription. Instructions for a pharmacy from a physician. Can include anesthetics and devices. Codes from drug dictionaries such as RxNorm or ATC (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical) etc.
education history Information relating to the activities and achievements of a student, collected and managed by a school division/district (primary and secondary), university or other post-secondary institution. Grade levels or qualifications obtained, courses attended, TOEFL score, faculty name.
employment Information relating to paid work. Includes self-employment and unemployment. Salary, employment status, employment title, occupation code.
ethnicity Information relating to a "multi-dimensional concept referring to community belonging and a shared cultural group membership." [definition from CIHI:] "Socio-demographic characteristics, including language, religion, geographic origin, nationality, cultural traditions, ancestry and migration history, among others." [definition from CIHI:]
geographic location Data relating to a location that has a geospatial description. Postal code, province, street address, health region, etc. Can include spatial point and spatial region.
healthcare encounter Data relating to an encounter between a patient and healthcare provider(s) for the purpose of providing healthcare service(s) or assessing the health status of a patient. Note the focus is on the activity (encounter) and not the location, which is covered under the category “healthcare facility”. Date or time of encounter, as well as the reason for the healthcare encounter.
healthcare facility Data relating to a facility with the function to provide healthcare and that is administered by a healthcare organization for the purpose of providing healthcare to a patient or patient population. May relate to the identity (name or code) of a facility, or its type, e.g., acute hospital, mental health facility, emergency department, pharmacy, family physician’s office, virtual facility, or patient residence.
housing Information relating to the dwelling for a person. Kind of property, quality of property, age of property, sanitory (living) conditions, living arrangements. Includes overnight or emergency shelters, temporary stays with others or in hotels or rooming houses, and being unhoused/unsheltered.
imaging An information artefact representating a physical feature of a person, made using physical transmissions (radiation) of some kind (and often named according to the radiation involved). X-ray, ultrasound, MRI (radio waves), PET (gamma rays), other radioisotope techniques
justice records Information relating to civil or criminal offences associated with a person, whether convicted or not. Does not include collections for statistical studies. Nature of charge/offence, conviction status, sentences imposed, guardian (for child offences), rehabilitation.
lab evaluation requests Data relating to a request for the capture of a biological specimen, and the subsequent assays to be performed on the specimen in a manner removed from the patient (source organism), e.g., the specimen is analyzed in a laboratory setting. This description therefore specifically excludes requests for observational data obtained by in-situ methods, such as measurement of blood pressure. Includes: e.g., test request codes for 'sodium ion concentration within the plasma of a blood specimen’, 'HbA1c', ‘Full blood count'. Excludes: e.g., ‘blood pressure’, 'forced expiratory volume in 1 second' from a lung function test.
lab evaluation results Data relating to the reported results of a laboratory evaluation request. Laboratory evaluation reports may have multiple parts, each of which include the identification of the assay, value(s) of the result, unit(s), normal range(s), time assay performed, etc. These could include results from biochemistry, immunology, haematology, microbiology or pathology testing. E.g., test code for blood plasma sodium concentration, or unit, e.g., mmol/l, or timing, e.g., 2021-06-23
medical procedure Data relating to a medical intervention intended to acquire information or to achieve a result in the care of a person with medical conditions. Date and time of procedure, code for procedure from a suitable classification scheme. Medical procedures may include: cosmetic procedures, biopsies, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), procedures such as endoscopy in an outpatient setting, surgery within a hospital setting, transplantation, immunization/vaccination, occupational therapy procedures.
migration Demographics which relate to the long-term change of (internationally defined) residence of an individual. Migration has both an outgoing (emmigration) and incoming (immigration) component. Country of birth, country of residence (current), year of immigration to Canada, immigration category, class, or status
observation A measure arising from a process or procedure applied in-situ to a person, and unlikely to alter that person in any way. Height, weight, systolic BP, FEV1 from a lung function test, etc.
population census Data relating to an official census that is the outcome of a population survey. Census subdivision, census tract name, census questions and responses.
questionnaire A set of responses to questions designed to gather information directly from a person, the questions usually having specfic semantics which may also be only applicable for a limited period of time or under certain circumstances How long have you lived at your current address? How satisfied were you with how the doctor completed the check up? Confidence scale in health care. Perceived stress at work.
race Information relating to a "social construct used to judge and categorize people based on perceived differences in physical appearance in ways that create and maintain power differentials within social hierarchies. There is no scientifically supported biological basis for discrete racial groups." [definition from CIHI:] African Canadian, Caucasian (White), South Asian, etc.
social care encounter Data relating to an encounter between a person and social care provider(s) for the purpose of providing care service(s) or assessing the social status of a person, particularly in relation to available service(s). Note the focus is on the service (encounter) and not the location. Date and time of social care encounter.
socioeconomic Data relating to measures of an individual's or a group's social and economic characteristics in relation to other individuals or groups. Can include (for individuals) fields relating to income received for work, social assistance, or through investments. Can include education level or social and material deprivation indices. E.g., average income, specific incomes, flags for types of income.
vital statistics Demographics concerning human life and the status/characteristics of the population. Vital statistics refer to selected characteristics of persons and include dates of birth and death (and stillbirth), and date(s) of marriage(s). Date of death, date of birth, date of marriage.