community data program

The Canadian Council on Social Development’s (CCSD) Community Data Program (CDP) is a gateway to data for municipalities and community sector organizations. Members access customized tables from Statistics Canada CDPand other sources to get the evidence that supports sound decisions and social development programs. Established in the mid-1990s, the CDP provides members with access to a wealth of data products, valued at over $1 million, at low cost. This unique and customized data collection is the only one of its kind in Canada.

Users in 270 organizations across Canada monitor and report on social and economic development trends in their communities contributing to social development initiatives. They are organized into over 29 Community Data Consortia. Together, the communities they account for 54.5 percent of the Canadian population – that’s over 18.2 million people.

What is a Community Data Consortium?

A Community Data Consortium is a network of local organisations focused on implementing a local public service goal, such as affordable housing, programs for seniors, or others. Members may include municipal governments, Social Planning Councils, United Ways, library, school and police boards, public health/regional health authorities, community health centres, non-profit housing corporations, economic development agencies, and others. Each Consortium has a Lead Organization, usually the largest member municipality, although a voluntary sector organization may also be a Lead. The Lead enters into an agreement with the CCSD.

What do Member Organizations get for their Membership Fee?

  • Data: Members get direct access to all of the data for their consortium and to the data for all other consortia across the country, through a secure website. There are 29 consortia at this time.

  • Training: Members receive training to help access data tables and analytical tools. They receive responsive technical support by the Community Data Program team.

  • Networking: Consortium Lead Organizations from across Canada meet on a regular basis, while CDP members are part of a network of over 2,040 municipal and community practitioners.

What unique Community Data products can members access? Isn’t data becoming available for free?

Some free data are useful and the CDP facilitates members’ access and use. The challenge is that free data tends not to address difficult questions. Complex issues and those related to neighbourhoods generally require special data sets. Members benefit from the data sets they need, provided by experienced specialists at the CDP. CCSD’s Community Data Program specialists know community data. They work with over 20 public and private data providers to secure the best pricing and licensing arrangements, and gather the data sets of most value to our users. This means the CDP can provide customized data products involving special orders and cross-tabulations. Many of these custom tabulations are prepared exclusively for the Program.

The CDP concentrates on acquiring these national data sets at the smallest geographic levels available, as social and community development are best understood at the community or neighbourhood level. The CDP works with Statistics Canada to make available custom geography data products, reflecting the unique boundaries of each Consortium. The Program also acquires analytical tools for generating neighbourhood profiles and community atlases, and for converting postal code geographies into Census geographies.

How do members use the data?

The new Community Snapshots series answers that question by highlighting our members’ work with specific reference to the CDP data used.

The data cover a wide array of themes. Members’ most popular data uses include poverty, children and families, aging populations, immigration and affordable housing. Community practitioners also use the data for planning and development, local economic development, social planning, public health and education.

Program members use the data and tools to enhance their own products such as neighbourhood profiles, fact sheets, printed/interactive online mapping, reports, presentations, briefing notes, media releases and proposals.

You can view a few examples below of how communities are using CDP data with links to some of the products or visit our Community Snapshots section for other examples.

I'm interested in creating a Consortium. What are the benefits of membership?

  • Cost Savings: Access to this depth of data has a very high price if bought by one organization. By pooling their resources, Consortia access hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of data at a fraction of the cost. Further cost-savings are possible by increasing the number of organizations in a Community Data Consortium.

  • Access to relevant data and analytical tools: The CDP researches and negotiates partnerships with data providers from across Canada, ensuring members have access to current, reliable and relevant data sets and analytical tools.  Cross-Canada networking by CDP members ensures the data are relevant to municipal and community planning priorities and policy initiatives.

  • Building Community Partnerships: Many municipalities and voluntary sector organizations are already involved in any number of collaborative initiatives; the CDP complements and reinforces this function. Creating a Community Data Consortium strengthens local networks of data users and connects members to a Canada-wide network of hundreds of like-minded organizations.

Increased Capacity for better decision making: The CDP is committed to building the capacity of members to make use of complex data. This is achieved through training, webinars, email and telephone support, analytical tools, connecting members to a Canada-wide network of like-minded practitioners, and providing all members with information updates on the state of community data in Canada.

How much does Membership cost?

The annual Consortium Fee is between $5,000 and $19,990, based on the population in the Consortium’s geographic area. The fee can be shared among an unlimited number of Consortium member organizations. Each member organisation also pays a $125 Program Membership Fee. Contact us to discuss how a Consortium could work for you, or about joining an existing Consortium. A list of Consortia is available here.

For more information, contact ...

Michel Frojmovic
Lead - CCSD Community Data Program
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Direct: 613.728.0335
Main 613.236.8977 Ext. 23
Toll free: 888.717.2919

How communities are using CDP data

Community Charitable Giving Information
Community Development Halton published a piece on charitable giving in their region. Committed to disseminating and interpreting important community data as it becomes available, this research showed that the region’s giving exceeds both the provincial and national average and provided information about giving by income range, as well as Taxfiler information

Socio-demographic Data Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, the Lead organisation for the WDG Consortium, recently published bulletins based on the 2011 Census and NHS.

These statistics can inform the community at large, the education and health sectors, municipal services and the social service sector.

Data to Align Service Delivery Strategies Nipissing's Ontario Works Service Plan for 2013-2014 uses Canadian Business Patterns. Awareness of existing conditions outlined in this report are considered key to program planning and analysis. A number of community benefits derive from the plan: aligning service delivery strategies with performance targets; the opportunity to highlight achievements and best practices, set new goals, analyze resources and identify gaps in service.

Demographic Information Informs Community Health and Services ProgramsReport from York Region: 2011 National Household Survey - Issues and Demographic Highlights. Among other insights, this report provides demographic and socio-economic highlights from the National Household Survey and the 2011 Census which informs Community and Health Services programs.

Data Demonstrates the Use and Distribution of Social Services Programs in TorontoCity of Toronto: This report demonstrates how the City of Toronto uses the Community Data Program to understand the use and distribution of programs and more: City of Toronto - Use of the Community Data Program (pdf)

Labour Market Data Informs Career Counselling and Workers Seeking EmploymentSocial Planning & Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC) – Explains the Community Data Program and demonstrates how Community Data Program information can be used in the Effective Use of Labour Market and Career Information, supporting, for example, career counsellors in assisting workers seeking employment: 

Socio-demographic Information Supports Education, Business and moreCity of Calgary Community Information: Provides information about the Community Data Program and the Calgary Data Consortium, a snapshot of Calgary based on the latest data as well as an outline of how the consortium plans to use CDP data in the future.


Canada's Social Development Convenors

Phone: 613-236-8977

Kanata, ON

P.O. Box 13713 K2K 1X6

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