Stage 3: Data Steward Review


Each body with data available through Population Data BC (PopData), such as the BC Ministry of Health, WorkSafeBC and BC Cancer, retains the right to approve all uses of their data. Each body appoints a designated Data Steward, who is responsible for reviewing and approving every Data Access Request (DAR).

Data Access Requests are assessed on their individual merits.

Among the criteria considered by public bodies when reviewing a Data Access Request are those established under Section 35 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, such as:

  • Demonstrated reasonable need for the requested data to answer the specified research question(s)
  • The record linkage and/or use of data is not harmful to the individuals that the information is about
  • The proposed research and the benefits of record linkage are clearly in the public interest
  • Scientific merit (peer- or merit-reviewed)
  • Ethical considerations
  • The suitability of any consent documents

DAR approval

Once a DAR is approved, the Data Steward(s) will notify the Data Access Unit at PopData who will, in turn, notify the Researcher that the application has been successful.

Note: A DAR may be conditionally approved pending, for example, notification of an ethics review. Any conditions must be met before data preparation can begin. A Data Access Unit staff member will alert Researchers to any conditions that must be met. If one or more Data Stewards involved in the application have not yet approved the project, PopData will not be able to deliver any data - even for those sources with Data Steward approval. PopData must have received all approvals and have all conditions met before provision of data.

At this stage the Researcher will be required to sign a Research Agreement with the Data Steward(s). The purpose of the Research Agreement is to provide a legally enforceable framework for information (data) sharing between the Data Steward(s) and the Researcher. The approved DAR form will be attached as an appendix to the signed Research Agreement.



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. 9 DASH & 18 DI Program projects)


CaraSpace projects


Last revised February 8th, 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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