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 and 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 over 400 organizations across Canada monitor and report on social and economic development trends in their communities contributing to social development initiatives. They are organized into 33 Community Data Consortia. Together, the communities they account for 63 percent of the Canadian population – that’s over 22 million people.
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.
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 33 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.
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.
The 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.
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:
Lead - CCSD Community Data Program
Main 613.236.8977 Ext. 23
Toll free: 888.717.2919