For over two decades, Population Data BC (PopData) has been providing academic researchers with access to a comprehensive collection of population health data, including health services, education, workplace and environmental data. These data sets, many from 1985 forward, include longitudinal, person-specific, de-identified data on BC's 5 million residents.
Over the years we have expanded the number and range of data sets available to Researchers and recently formed partnerships with the BC Government to support the development and delivery of the Data Innovation Program and the Health Data Platform (HDP).
The following outlines the current options for Researchers to access data on the population of British Columbia.
PopData has information sharing agreements with a number of individual data providers such as BC Cancer, the BC Ministry of Health, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Perinatal Services BC and WorkSafeBC.
The linkage of Researcher-collected data to other data may be facilitated by PopData where appropriate agreements are in place.
Other data sources
PopData supports access to data sets from other data sources, for example a local registry or data set from a provider not currently a data partner. We work with the prospective partner to negotiate an information sharing agreement.
Researchers may access these data by working directly with PopData and following PopData processes. Upon approval, data will be provisioned by PopData and released for analysis on the PopData Secure Research Environment (SRE), unless otherwise approved.
The Data Innovation Program (DI Program)
The DI Program provides access to cross-sector data from multiple provincial ministries and organizations for government and academic projects.
PopData works in partnership with the DI Program providing services related to data linkage, project and data management, and a secure virtual research environment.
Access these data by applying to the DI Program. Following approval, data will be provisioned by PopData and released for analysis in the Secure Analytics Environment. The PopData Secure Research Environment (SRE) and the DI Program Secure Analytics Environment (SAE) refer to the same virtual computing workspace.
For further information on the DI Program, visit the DI Program website.
The Health Data Platform (HDP)
The HDP is operated by the Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Health in collaboration with PopData, health authorities and other key partners.
The HDP currently supports access to health and health services data for academic research projects. Access these data by working directly with PopData to coordinate the data access request. Following approval, depending upon the data requested and the tools required for analysis, data will be provisioned by PopData and released for analysis in the PopData Secure Research Environment (SRE), or provisioned by the HDP and released for analysis in their Secure Environment.
For further information about the HDP, visit the HDP website.
How to get started
Consult the Data available webpage to identify the data that you need to answer your research question. This will determine whether your project will go through the DI Program or through the PopData/HDP process.
Check that your research, as well as you, and the members of your team, are eligible to access the data that you require.
Study the information available on the Data Access Process Request (DAR) web pages to familiarise yourself with the process and help you to plan your data access request.
In this section of the website you will find information on the PopData/HDP data access process including:
For details on the data access process for the DI Program, visit the DI Program website.