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 a DAR, 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, 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 DAR form and submitting it online. Fundamental study details such as study population, data linkages and research objectives should not change following submission, as this will restart the review process.

If questions arise as you prepare your DAR for submission, work with the Data Access Unit to clarify any uncertainties around 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, especially:

  • 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 (copying and pasting 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 study populations it is not possible for adjudication to proceed.


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.

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

Note: 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.


Peer Review

Regular DARs

Most Data Steward(s) require applications to demonstrate proof of peer review, an external scholarly review by experts in the appropriate field. The majority of projects receive grant funding and the peer review process is embedded in the grant application process.

If the project has been peer reviewed in this way, the application should include:

  • The project description used for the peer review
  • Written comments issued by the reviewer
  • A copy of the official funding/grant letter

For projects that have not gone through peer review as part of the grant funding process, other means of peer review may also be considered, provided that it satisfies the criteria below. This includes, for example, the free use of the UBC Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB) peer review templates and certain non-profit funding processes. For a peer review process to be considered by Data Stewards as “satisfactory”, the following criteria must be met and documented:

  • The peer review process was conducted independently from the research team and without conflict of interest.
  • The peer review process was scientific in nature.
  • The peer review was conducted by a panel of reviewers or/and by at least two reviewers.
  • At least two peer reviewers have relevant subject-matter expertise.

Standalone Student DARs

For standalone Student DARs (applications that are NOT embedded in a supervisor’s DAR) a letter from the student's supervisor on formal institutional letterhead is required. The letter should include:

  • The project title.
  • Confirmation of the status of the student (e.g. the name of the program that the student is enrolled in).
  • Confirmation that the student’s supervisory committee has reviewed and approved the student’s research proposal, and will provide ongoing guidance throughout the course of the study.
  • Confirmation that the data being requested will be used exclusively for the student’s academic/training program.

If project team members who are not part of the supervisory committee need access to the data, please also provide:

  • A robust rationale as to why the individual’s data access is necessary to complete the student’s project and a brief description of the professional relationship between the proposed team member and the student and/or their supervisor and/or committee.
  • An acknowledgement from the supervisor that they are aware of and support the proposed team member’s data access, including affirmation that the data access will be used exclusively to support the student’s work within the approved student DAR and that there would be no additional analysis or publicly disclosed Research Materials.
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 as submit the DAR to the DAU. Make sure to click on one of the save buttons. The status will 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.
  • The 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)
  • The final review is done by the research team to ensure 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)
  • For PopData projects the DAU will submit the application on behalf of the Applicant to the relevant Data Steward(s) online.
  • For HDPBC projects the DAU will submit the application on behalf of the Applicant to HDPBC for adjudication.




DARs/Projects snapshot

Total number of DARs/Projects currently with PopData:


Last revised May 10th, 2024

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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