Wednesday, August 28, 2019

PCCF Terms of Use Question

I have a question regarding the restrictions outlined in the PCCF end-use license agreement.

Here is the question, in the researcher’s own words:

“I am inquiring in relation to end-use license agreement, and how much we would be able to expand the analysis geographically. We have done some organizing of the data according to PC, and then explored via in order to get an approximate location just so we can get a sense of what size of town/small city is defined within urban and rural. However, I do not want to violate terms of use bullet #2. What we would like to be able to do is to separate into large urban/small urban and rural, which we think we can do with the information we have. Our research team is also wondering if there is a possibility to split north and south province. Can you provide any clarification to us on the agreement and what we can and cannot do?”

My understanding is that the researchers are worried that manipulating the data as outlined might count as “disassembling” or “decompiling” the data, as restricted by point 2 of the agreement. Do they have cause for concern?

I’ve received the following response from subject matter:

“It seems that your client is using the PCCF only to correspond the postal codes to different geographies. That is the purpose of the product.

Using to find locations, or other methods may not be necessary; that information is readily available at StatCan. Using the PCCF, most of the postal codes are linked to a dissemination block (DB), or perhaps a dissemination area (DA). There will be a representative point for those, with xy coordinates for more accurate location finding. Census Subdivision (CSD) is also provided, which is the postal code legal municipality.

Linking our Geographic Attribute File (GAF, to the PCCF provides links to higher level census geographies like population centres (PopCtr, and Census Divisions (CD). Using PopCtr, the client can determine rural/urban. Using CDs the client can determine north/south (

We can provide an Excel file of the CDs in North/South, rather than the client having to get it from the website.”