Stage 2: Completing and submitting a DAR


Applying for data is a formal process and Researchers need to be meticulous. Approach the Data Access Request (DAR) submission process with the same diligence you would apply to submitting a major grant application. It takes time, planning, and close attention to detail. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the DAR application is complete, clear and consistent.

To create an online DAR, please login to and select ‘Researcher Tools’ tab, then ‘Data Access Request – DARonline.’ On this page you will be able to generate a new DAR and see a list of the previous DARs you created online. You will also see DARs that others have created if they added you as another DAR editor.

If you do not have a my.popdata account yet, please register for one here:


Ensure that all sections of the DAR form are completed according to the instructions and ensure that all supporting documents are included.

  • Ethics review application (see below) – (approval can be pending)
  • Peer Review documents (see below) – funding/supervisor letter/CV
  • External Data request (if applicable)
    • Application
    • Data field list
    • Approval (can be provided when available)
  • Consent form and BC Ministry of Health Attestation faceplate (if applicable)
An incomplete application package will not be accepted for review by Population Data BC (PopData)

Decide on the details of your study prior to completing the forms and submitting your DAR package Fundamental study details such as study population, data linkages and research objectives should not change following submission to PopData as this will restart the review process If questions arise as you prepare your DAR package for submission, work with the Data Access Unit to clarity any uncertainties (e.g. data availability, data linkage processes, etc)


A DAR submission involves multiple documents which outline the details of the study. Project information in all documents must be consistent. For example:

  • Project title
  • Research team members
  • Research objectives
  • Data requested
  • Study population
  • Data storage location
  • All dates and date ranges
We recommend using the exact wording on all documents (copy and paste is encouraged to reduce minor inconsistencies) Data Stewards are making decisions based on the study specifics in the DAR and supporting documents. If, for example, the DAR and Ethics application have different cohort definitions it is not possible for adjudication to proceed.
DAR submission steps

Submission to PopData

  • Create a new DAR on
  • Once the DAR is complete, please go to ’Section 15: Submission to DAU.’ Here you can check off that your application is indeed complete and correct, as well submit the DAR to the DAU. Make sure to click on one of the save buttons. The status would change to ‘Submitted to DAU – Initial’ and your DAR will no longer be editable.
Initial Review: The DAU will check for completeness of the DAR submission package
  • If incomplete the applicant will be notified. The DAR’s status will be set back to ‘Draft’ so that the research team can make the appropriate changes. To re-submit the DAR go back to ‘Section 15: Submission to DAU.’
  • If complete the DAU will perform a detailed review.
Detailed Review: the DAU will review the DAR submission package for feasibility, clarity and consistency
  • If revisions are required, the DAR status will be set to ‘Draft Revision’ so that the research team can make the appropriate changes. To re-submit the DAR, click on 'Submit Draft Revisions' on the main page of the DAR.
  • DAU will not proceed with further review until all required revisions are received. If the application is complete, the DAU will ask the research team to do a final review.
Final Review: the research team does a review before submission to the Data Steward(s)
  • Final review done by research team is done to make sure everything is correct before sending the application to the Data Stewards.
  • To confirm, the Applicant will select ‘Submit’ in the ‘Final Submissions’ section.
  • If changes are needed, the Applicant will let the DAU know.
Submission to the Data Steward(s)
  • The DAU will submit the application on behalf of the Applicant to the relevant Data Steward(s) online.
Ethics Review

The academic institution to which the researcher is affiliated will require an ethics review for all research projects, including those that relate to data held at Population Data BC. Projects will generally also require external peer review prior to approval. See the Data Access Request (DAR) for more information.

All DARs must contain either:

A current ethics approval certificate and a complete copy of the application submitted to Research Ethics Boards (REB); or A complete copy of the application submitted to the review committee, complete with any conditional or interim comments

Note that DARs submitted to Data Stewards for review should have an applicable ethics application and ethics certificate attached. If a project has received an official waiver issued by an REB or has not received approval from an REB, please contact to discuss this.

The BC Ministry of Health does not accept ethics reviews by for-profit ethics committees.

Peer Review

The Data Steward(s) prefer applications with proof of Peer Review, an external scholarly review by experts in the appropriate field, such as a grant funding agency Peer Review Committee. If the project has been peer reviewed, Researchers should include:

The project description used for the Peer Review Written comments issued by the reviewer A copy of the official funding/grant letter



DARs/Projects snapshot

Total number of DARs/Projects currently with PopData:


The breakdown:

DARs in preparation/review


Projects with amendments in preparation/review


DARs in post-approval


Projects with data being prepared


Projects being maintained
(inc. 11 DASH & 13 DI Program)


CaraSpace projects


Last revised November 22, 2022

Tools and resources

We provide a range of tools and resources for researchers for use at different stages of the data access process.

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Need pan-Canadian data?

The Data Access Support Hub (DASH) is a one-stop data access service portal for researchers requiring multi-jurisdictional data in Canada.

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