PopData fees and charges

Population Data BC (PopData) provides a cost-effective and efficient way for Researchers to access population-based, longitudinal data.

Cost/fee breakdown

Project charges fall into two general categories: the service costs for the data request itself, and the charges for use of the Secure Research Environment (SRE) during analysis. 

The charges for a project are driven by the complexity of the study population, the number and type of data files requested, the number of different Data Stewards involved, and whether any external linkages are required. Costs are not, as a rule, determined by the size of the study population, the number of fields requested or the number of years of data requested.

The charges are based on a cost recovery for the following activities:

  • Application support including: answering questions regarding the approval process; application process; study population definition; and suitability
  • Application review and coordination
  • Preparation or linkage of the study population
  • Preparation of the approved data files
  • Provision of relevant available documentation to support use of the data
  • Support for use of the data, including answering questions about data fields and coding specifics

Project service charges often fall between $8,000.00 and $15,000.00 per project. Complexity and external linkages can drive the charges higher. PopData reserves the right to change its cost recovery structure at any time, however PopData will maintain its commitment to Researchers that the initial application and SRE access fees WILL NOT exceed the amount on the Feasibility and Cost Estimate letter. 

> view student cost waiver information 

The information below outlines the standard cost recovery model with services broken down into data, administrative and SRE services.

Note: the table below does not include any costs that an external data provider may also charge. It also does not include the costs for possible amendments or other requests.

Data costs



Internal cohort definition

$1,000 - $5, 000

External/predefined cohort (each record has a PHN)


External linkages


Each cross-reference file preparation


Probabalistic linkage of external data set

$1,000 - $15,000

Data files


Consolidation File


Medical Services Plan




Hospital Separations


Continuing Care


BC Cancer Agency - Incidence




Vital Statistics - Deaths


Vital Statistics - Births


Vital Statistics - Stillbirths


Vital Statistics - Marriage


Mental Health Services






Citizenship and Immigration Canada $1,000
Perinatal Services BC $2,000
Income Band $500

Other data




Special requests

$500 - $4,000

Administration costs

New application


Application review-processing


Coordination - each internal Data Steward


Coordination - fee for each external Data Steward


Data checking (additional fee applies for complicated projects)



Researcher driven changes post-application

Changing the DAR once submitted requires additional work by PopData as well as the Data Stewards. Requesting modifications to a DAR after its submission to the Data Stewards, but before its approval, may incur a fee up to $2,500.00 depending on the complexity of the project and the requested modification(s).


Researchers may make a request to change key aspects about their projects, such as:

Data updates or more years of data Data files and/or fields requested Research questions posed Change in study population

These require a formal application to the Data Stewards in the form of an amendment. New service charges apply for amendment applications, and confirmation of funds will be requested by PopData. 

Data Retention Extensions

Currently there is no fee for the coordination of a Data Retention Extension request.

Secure Research Environment (SRE) costs

SRE charges start at $2,500 per annum for up to three users and vary slightly depending on the resources required by the project. The minimum billing increment is three months. Typically, the first two years are charged at the outset of the project, with additional SRE needs being charged as needed:



Additional user

$500 per person

Switch users

$100 per switch

Backup files recovery

$500 per request

Lost or damaged YubiKey

$100 per Yubikey


The fee rate of additional SRE access beyond the first two years depends on the previous year’s average net data usage and additional resources required (as described above). If the average net space for the project exceeds 500 GB in the previous year, SRE access can be extended at higher rates with greater data limits. For these rates and data limits, see below:

SRE Access Fee

Net Data Limit

$2,500 per year

500 GB

$3,000 per year

1 TB (1,000 GB)

$3,500 per year

1.5 TB (1,500 GB)

An additional $500 per year (plus the $3,500 above) For each 0.5 TB overage beyond 1.5 TB (1,500 GB)


Please note that the net data space is the total project data space less the Read Only DATA folder.

Third party and associated costs

Some data preparation services may result in related third-party costs. Currently, these include the costs from external data providers, for data that is not housed at Population Data BC. For example, Applicants are invoiced separately by the Ministry of Health for the production of PharmaNet data extracts.New accordion content

Estimates, quotes and invoicing

The following shows the timeline for communications of costs on a project:

PopData can provide a feasibility and cost estimate letter that researchers can append to their grant applications. PopData recommends that researchers submit a feasibility and cost estimate request for budgeting purposes. This is an estimate of the PopData fees based on the researcher's rough project parameters described in the Feasibility and Cost Estimate Request form.

The Cost Quote, the actual amount to be charged, is only available after the DAR is approved and the details of the project are final. The invoiced amount equals the Cost Quote.

Further details on these various cost communications are provided below.


Feasibility and cost estimate letters (FCEs)

Data Access Unit staff are able to provide Researchers with a letter that indicates the feasibility of data access and/or linkage for their specified research topic, and an estimate of costs that may be used for budgeting purposes. 

  • FCEs are project and grant specific; they should not be re-used for multiple grant applications
  • FCEs do not include costs for data or other services that are not provided by PopData
  • FCEs are not approval letters; PopData has no ability to influence approvals
  • FCE estimates are broad in order to accommodate possible changes in the project through the grant application process
  • Researchers must include the amount on the FCE in their budget submitted to the granting agency
  • Projects that have not requested an FCE letter will be issued one upon initial work with PopData on the DAR

PopData is usually able to provide an FCE letter within two weeks. > You can request this letter online here

Proceeding with the DAR

Non-student Researchers may not proceed with DAR applications before funding is secured. If grant funding is not yet secured, or grant funding is unsuccessful, Researchers are required to show proof of financial support, in order to proceed with the DAR process. Researchers must still show proof of peer review in order to satisfy DAR requirements.

PopData has made a commitment that charges WILL NOT exceed the amount on the FCE letter, provided the project remains substantially similar

The Cost Quote

Concrete cost quotations are only available after a Data Access Request (DAR) has been approved. The reason for this delay is because projects may change significantly from time of grant application to time of approval.  Upon receiving notification from the relevant Data Steward(s) that a DAR has been approved, Data Access Unit staff will prepare a Cost Quote. The Researcher must sign the Cost Quote in acceptance of the cost. The Researcher must also sign a Population Data BC - Researcher Services Agreement which formalizes the requested services and costs to be reimbursed to PopData. There may be multiple Cost Quotes for a single project, depending on the anticipated number of amendments, data deliveries or  extensions desired. 


Invoices match the Cost Quotes provided, and include details for payment. These are issued once the service is provided to the Researcher(s). New accordion content


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. 10 DASH & 13 DI Program projects)


CaraSpace projects


Last revised November 30th, 2023

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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