Services for Researchers

Data access icon

Data access

For over 25 years, Population Data BC (PopData) has been providing academic researchers with a range of services supporting access to a comprehensive collection of population health data, including health services, education, workplace, social and environmental data. These data sets, many dating back to 1985, include longitudinal, person-specific, de-identified data on BC's 5.6 million residents.

Researchers who access data to study population health have produced many outstanding contributions to scientific knowledge and to policy-making for healthier communities.

Data available

PopData facilitates access to data from our partners, including both federal and provincial sources. Our partnerships with the Government of British Columbia support the development and delivery of the Data Innovation Program and Health Data Platform BC (HDPBC).

Categories of data currently available include:

  • Demographic
  • Education
  • Environment and Resources
  • Justice
  • Health
  • Social
  • Transportation
  • Work and Income

Data access request management

Our Data Access Unit manages and coordinates the PopData/HDPBC data access process for Researchers. This includes providing:

  • Co-ordination of the process, including guidance, support, and advice when applying to access our managed data holdings and/or link them to other data sets (including Researcher-collected data)
  • A streamlined, harmonized and transparent access procedure for applying for data from multiple Data Stewards
  • A range of online tools and resources for Researchers for use at different stages of the data access process.

Data linkage

Linkage allows information on an individual from one data source to be linked to information on the same individual from another data source. Using linked data makes it possible for Researchers to gain a more comprehensive understanding than could be obtained from a single data source. 

Our approach to data linkage allows for security and consistency in the linking of data across multiple data sets, disciplinary areas, time periods and projects, resulting in a high-quality research product. We currently provide linkage services to PopData partners and to the BC Government’s Data Innovation Program.

Secure Research Environment

The Secure Research Environment (SRE) is a secure private cloud operated by PopData using state-of-the-art security measures. The SRE provides Researchers with a central virtual location for access to and analysis of research data, secure storage and backup of data extracts, and a broad range of software.

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Education and training

Responding to the training and education needs of British Columbia's researchers, our Education and Training Unit (ETU) is an analysis training centre supporting research on human health, well-being and development.

The ETU provides a range of online courses and resources (many of which are free), webinars, in-person workshops and a fully-online Professional Specialization Certificate in Population Health Data Analysis.

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Secure data storage

We operate one of the most secure data storage centres in Canada. 

For Researchers who don't access data through us, but need to store sensitive personal information (e.g. health records), we offer CaraSpace.

CaraSpace is a secure private cloud, providing a safe, secure place for Researchers to store and analyse their data, while ensuring that privacy-sensitive data remains protected.


DARs/Projects snapshot

Total number of DARs/Projects currently with PopData:427

Last revised July 11th, 2024

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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