Health Research Data: Resources
CIHR has enabled Canadians to develop world-class interactive data and analytics platforms, and we also recognize opportunities for Canadian researchers to use non-CIHR funded platforms. A sampling of both types of platforms is provided below, as well as examples of Canadian data training hubs and resources.
Note: This page contains links to external pages that are available in French only.
New: CIHR Research Data Management learning module now available.
CIHR-funded data platforms
SPOR Canadian Data Platform
The CDP offers the Data Access Support Hub (DASH), a single one-stop data access service portal for requesting multi-jurisdictional data in Canada. DASH will document current data access practices and requirements across jurisdictions, and support researchers in navigating the data access process.
Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) Data Platform
The CLSA data platform contains questionnaire data from more than 51,000 participants and comprehensive physical assessment data from more than 30,000 participants. Detailed information on the available data can be accessed through the CLSA DataPreview Portal.
Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN)
The CRDCN offers access to over 300 data cycles collected by Statistics Canada that include social, economic, and health determinants. For example, health information is available from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Healthy Aging Survey, Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada, Canadian Survey on Disability, and Mental Health Survey.
International Health Epigenetics Consortium (IHEC) Data Portal
The IHEC Data Portal provides open access to view, search and download approximately 7132 datasets relevant to health and disease. These datasets can be sorted by consortium, tissue or assay category.
Ontario Child Health SUPPORT Unit (OCHSU)
The OCHSU maintains the searchable Child Health Datasets inventory. The inventory lists datasets related to child health and health care and includes information on the content of the datasets and their availability. Note that the OCHSU inventory does not provide access to the data.
Population Data BC (PopData)
Population Data BC (PopData) provides research access to individual-level, de-identified longitudinal data on British Columbia's 4.6 million residents. Current data holdings include 19 data sets from 2 federal and 6 provincial sources which are linkable to each other and to external data sets, where approved. PopData is also a partner in developing and providing services with the BC SUPPORT Unit as part of the SPOR initiative.
Other data platforms
Integrated within the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), the biobank is designed to produce a nationally representative cohort to facilitate the progress of new and innovative health research projects. The biobank currently holds biospecimens (blood, urine and DNA) collected from over 22,000 consenting Canadians between the ages of 3 to 79 years. Additionally, respondent privacy and confidentiality is of upmost importance and are upheld by Statistics Canada governance and responsibilities under the Statistics Act.
Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS)
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)'s CCDSS uses linked administrative data sources from all 13 provinces and territories to estimate the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases, as well as any associated risk factors and the use of health services.
Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP)
The CPTP is Canada's largest population health research platform, containing personal health, lifestyle and environmental data from more than 300,000 Canadians between the ages of 35 to 69. This project collects biological sample data, physical measures data, and health and risk factor questionnaire data, and then harmonizes this data for usage.
Centre for Health Informatics and Analytics (CHIA)
The Center for Health Informatics and Analytics (CHIA), based at Memorial University, provides next generation health informatics and data analytics hardware and software platforms to facilitate the rapid interrogation and integration of complex clinical and research data from multiple partner organizations.
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Data
As part of Ontario's SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU), researchers, students and knowledge users can access research-ready, linked health administrative data through the ICES Data & Analytic Services (ICES DAS). Record level, coded data can be accessed through secure online virtual desktop infrastructure.
Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) Data
The MCHP houses the Population Health Research Data Repository which is a collection of over 20 Manitoba-based administrative, registry and survey data that represent the province's pattern of health care usage and profiles of health and illness.
National Cancer Institute – Genomic Data Commons (GDC) - US
The GDC provides the cancer research community access to a unified data sharing repository. It has the ability to import and harmonize genomic and clinical data from multiple large-scale cancer research projects, but it also hosts data from smaller-scale cancer studies.
Statistics Canada produces statistics that help Canadians better understand their country – its population, resources, economy, society and culture. It also makes available information on the health of the population, lifestyle and environmental factors affecting health, access to and use of health care services, and research into health topics. The available health data comes from a variety of sources, including the Canadian Community Health Survey, Canadian Health Measures Survey, Canadian Cancer Registry and the Vital Statistics Program. Complete survey data for all of these programs are accessible through Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres (RDC).
Canadian data academic centres and training programs
A sampling of innovative Canadian data training programs and academic centres is provided below.
Big Data Research Centre – Laval University (CRDM_UL)
The Big Data Research Centre of Laval University is focused on developing and understanding 'big data' methods, algorithms, and processes, and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration on issues related to big data.
Bioinformatics.ca houses an extensive list of Canadian programs, workshops, certificates, and degrees offered in bioinformatics.
Data Science – Carleton University
Carleton's Data Science program is available to graduate students and high-tech professionals interested in learning how to use and analyze big data sets collected by governments, industry and not-for-profits.
Institute for Big Data Analytics – Dalhousie University
The Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University houses an Institute for Big Data Analytics to facilitate fundamental, interdisciplinary and collaborative research, advanced applications, advanced training and partnerships with industry.
M.Sc. in Computing Science in Big Data – Simon Fraser University
The School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University offers a Professional Master's Program in Big Data that provides training in data analysis and prepares students for professions in data science.
Below is a short list of external data-related publications.
- Research Data Alliance recommendations and guidelines on data sharing
- Data Sources
- Big Data Profile in Québec
- Canadian Institute for Health Information - Better Information for Improved Health: A Vision for Health System Use of Data in Canada
- Council of Canadian Academies – Accessing Health and Health-Related Data in Canada
- International Council for Science - Open Data in a Big Data World
Research Data Management learning resources
CIHR Research Data Management learning module
CIHR has developed a learning module focusing on key themes, challenges, and considerations in research data management (RDM). This module includes information, tools and resources to support effective RDM practices.
The module has been developed as a compliment to the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management, which articulates Canadian RDM priorities and funder expectations. Anticipated requirements from the Draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy have also informed the development of the module.
Health Research Data: Impact stories
CIHR supports researchers who conduct ground-breaking work using health research and health-related data.
The following stories showcase how health research and health-related data are being used to advance knowledge and improve health services, products and outcomes in Canada and around the world:
- New approaches to understanding antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
- Confronting pediatric mental illness through health administrative datasets and biostatistical methods
- Harnessing data to improve the way we measure health and predict mortality
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