Frequently Asked Questions
Researchers interested in accessing multi-jurisdictional data are welcome to consult the DASH website and the resources available. Coordinated data access support is provided to research studies that meet our partner data centres' eligibility criteria.
If the researcher's multi-jurisdictional data need can be met solely by pan-Canadian data assets held at the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) or at Statistics Canada (STATCAN), please proceed directly to CIHI’s Make a Data Request page or STATCAN's Access to Microdata page.
HDRN Canada is currently focused on supporting public sector researchers and does not have a policy or process for responding to private sector requests. Until such time as we have established HDRN Canada policies and processes for private sector research, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of contacts at individual HDRN Canada Organizations that may be positioned to work with the private sector.
These individual HDRN Canada Organizations have agreed to work together (e.g. to identify a single coordinating organization) for private sector requests. Please note that the organizations who are able to respond to your request will have different policies and processes for working with the private sector.
To determine which jurisdictions may be able to support the request, please be prepared to provide the following information:
- Data holdings of interest
- If you are seeking study design support
- If you are seeking access to data [most places] or analytic services
The Data Access Support Hub (DASH) Data Assets Inventory may help you decide which organizations to include, or you can write the contacts provided to determine who (a) has relevant data and (b) can fulfil your request.
Currently, the data access request (DAR) process and requirements such as policies and procedures, forms required, and processing times vary by jurisdiction. This can be challenging and time-consuming for researchers to navigate. DASH provides a one-stop resource for requesting access to data from multiple provincial, territorial and pan-Canadian sources.
DASH staff will also provide ongoing support for researchers throughout the data access request process.
Multi-jurisdictional data from pan-Canadian data holdings hosted at the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and Statistics Canada (STATCAN) can be accessed "in one place" through these two organizations. Beyond these, jurisdictional data can be accessed as per partner data centres' policies and procedures for distributed data analyses.
Health Data Research Network Canada (HDRN Canada) and the Data Access Support Hub (DASH) can support research funding proposals in two ways:
- By providing a general letter of support from HDRN Canada where there is alignment between the proposed research project and HDRN Canada's objectives, and
- By providing cost and feasibility estimates for conducting the project using data provided through DASH
Both options require that the research team create a DASH account and submit an intake form. The intake form collects the information required for DASH/HDRN Canada to assess the request and advise on next steps. Please note that a minimum of 2-4 weeks weeks in advance of the requested due date is required.
DASH does not charge a fee for a requestor to submit data requests through DASH. However, fees will be charged by the partner data centres as per each centre's cost recovery process.
The first step is to create a DASH account in order to complete and submit an intake form. DASH will confirm eligibility and feasibility of your request and work with each data center to develop a cost estimate. DASH will provide a feasibility and cost estimate letter that researchers can append to their grant applications.
The charges for a project are driven by multiple factors, including but not limited to: the complexity of the study population, the number and type of data files requested, the number of different data providers involved, whether remote access to a secure environment is needed, and whether any data linkages are required.
Please allow 2-4 weeks after submitting an intake form to receive a cost estimate and feasibility confirmation letter for your project.
The time it takes to compile the data varies depending on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the request (e.g., the number of databases involved and whether the data request requires privacy consultation and approval). By coordinating the responses from various data centres, the DASH endeavors to provide a more seamless experience.
Over time, we will strive to make the process more efficient and data access more expedient as we harmonize access processes across our partner data centres.
DASH will provide coordinated support and guidance throughout the data access request process.
For training, education or support on using the data, please contact your local data centre to find out what resources are available.
The data are stored, processed and administered by data centres across Canada.
DASH acts as a facilitator which centralizes and receives data requests centrally, and coordinates support and processing of the requests. Data are never sold, exchanged, transferred, or otherwise shared with DASH. DASH never has access to the data.
Yes. While we cannot guarantee data access, we may be able to facilitate conversations with other data sources from the jurisdictions.
DASH will continue to work with various data centres to provide the most comprehensive list possible.
Data resources from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) can also be requested.
DASH supports and respects OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) Principles when requesting, accessing and using First Nations data, as set out by the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC). Learn more.
DASH is currently working to expand the multi-jurisdictional data that is available to be requested and to harmonize the data across jurisdictions. The expanded data is intended to include additional electronic medical records (EMR) and clinical data, genomic and other ‘omic’ information, data collected directly from patients and social data.
Harmonization of data across jurisdictions will generate analysis-ready data that are comparable or standardized across jurisdictions, making it easier for researchers to work with.
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