Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Canadian Community Health Survey and Health Number

What happens with the health number that StatCan collects with the CCHS data as per the attached screen shot. Who might see the file with this number? What kind of restrictions would there be on this number? Is it available to some areas within StatCan? Does this go to the provinces or territories or go to the RDC’s? 


The Health Card number collected by the CCHS is stored securely, at Statistics Canada’s head office, on a separate file from the main CCHS data file. This file is called a link file, and it is used to combine data from more than one source for the same respondent, by matching their Health Card Number from each data source.

The provinces may request the link file, in which case they receive the information only for the respondents in that province who agreed to link their information. The Province can link their data to the CCHS data so they can gain a more in-depth picture about health in their province. So if Ontario made the request, they would only receive the data for respondents in Ontario who gave permission to link their data.

From time to time, analysis may be done within Statistics Canada which requires CCHS data to be linked to other datasets, using the Health Card Number. Analysts must go through a lengthy process to have their request to link datasets approved by Senior management.

The Health Card information does not go to the RDC. If there is a proposal that requires linked information, the CCHS data is linked at Statistics Canada’s head office to data provided by researchers, and stripped of all identifiers, including the Health Card Numbers, before being transmitted securely to the RDC.