Data access

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 BC (HDPBC).

The following outlines the current options for Researchers to access data on the population of British Columbia.

PopData

PopData Partners

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.

Researcher-collected data

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.

Health Data Platform BC (HDPBC)

HDPBC supports research and analysis in the health sector and academia by providing access to health data from multiple organizations. It is operated by the Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Health in collaboration with PopData, health authorities and other key partners.

Researchers can request access to the HDPBC Secure Environment if the project is initiated or sponsored by a public sector health organisation in BC. Such organisations include:

  • Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA)
  • Regional health authorities (Northern Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Fraser Health, and Vancouver Coastal Health (including Providence Health)
  • BC Government ministries, usually the Ministry of Health

Academic researchers operating without such sponsorship may access Ministry of Health data by working directly with PopData to coordinate the data access request. Following approval, data will be provisioned by PopData and released for analysis in the PopData Secure Research Environment (SRE).

For further information about HDPBC, visit the HDPBC website.


How to get started

1.

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/HDPBC process.

2.

Check that your research, as well as you, and the members of your team, are eligible to access the data that you require.

3.

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/HDPBC data access process including:


For details on the data access process for the DI Program, visit the DI Program website.

DARs/Projects snapshot

Total number of DARs/Projects currently with PopData:

438

The breakdown:

DARs in preparation/review

56

Projects with amendments in preparation/review

25

DARs in post-approval

23

Projects with data being prepared

34

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

279

CaraSpace projects

21

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.

more information

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.

> more information