Requesting administrative data from other organizations in B.C.
The administrative health data available from the BC Ministry of Health or via Population Data BC represent only a portion, albeit the largest, of available data that could be used for conducting research and evaluation at population level for public health purposes. Other institutions outside the health sector also maintain datasets that either have a health component associated with them or contain information relevant for public health. Some of these organizations are listed below. DMS can provide support to Ministry of Health employees requiring the datasets describe below, or any other datasets of interest. However, for any other party requesting such data, there will be no Ministry of Health involvement and the requestors should refer directly to the data stewards holding the information of interest.
The links below are provided as is, although Ministry of Health will make efforts to update them as necessary.
BC Vital Statistics Agency
Ministry of Health processes requests for Vital Statistics Agency (VSA) data (births, stillbirths, and deaths) due to an Information Sharing Agreement existent between the Ministry and VSA. However, any agreement between a third party and the Ministry needs to be approved by the Registrar General of the VSA.
BC Assessment produces independent, uniform and efficient property assessments on an annual basis for all property owners in the province. BC Assessment operates as an independent, provincial Crown corporation, governed by a Board of Directors and is accountable to the Government of B.C.
The mandate of BC Assessment is to establish and maintain uniform real property assessments throughout British Columbia in accordance with the Assessment Act. The Act also requires that BC Assessment produce annual rolls with assessments at market value.
Assessors determine the market value of land and improvements and enter those values on the Assessment Roll. For 95 per cent of all properties on the Roll, assessed value is the market value as of July 1. The remaining five per cent are subject to legislative restrictions.
a) it shall not be used nor made available to obtain addresses for solicitation or mailing purposes of any kind;
b) it shall not be used in any way to harass members of the public;
c) unless BC Assessment gives express consent in writing, it shall not be disclosed, published, displayed or otherwise made available to any other person;
d) it shall not be reproduced or sold in any form;
e) it shall not be used to derive any product or service that is to be sold;
f) use of the information is (1) for user convenience only and that (2) because BC Assessment does not warrant the information to be current or accurate, use of the information without verification from original sources is at user own risk; and
g) the user acknowledge that BC Assessment has a copyright in the material purchased.
Some of the information available from BC Assessment is described below. Via full address, individual's information concerning health, for example, can be linked with housing information, which concerns the living environment and impacts health.
BC Assessment charges a fee for any data extract, and for any row level information request would require a Privacy Impact Assessment prior to entering into an Information Sharing Agreement with the requestor.
The contact information for BC Assessment is the following email address: BCA Customer Services, firstname.lastname@example.org.
BC Ministry of Education
Data at child level and school level is available from the BC Ministry of Education via a request for research or statistical purposes submitted the Ministry of Education Reporting Unit. Some of the datasets available from the Ministry of Education are:
- IRT scores (Numeracy; Reading Comprehension; Writing)
- Three-point scores (Numeracy; Reading Comprehension; Writing)
- Foundation Skills Assessment or Provincial Exam data
- Child-level socio-demographic data and child-level grouping/clustering variables
- School-level Ministry of Education variables: school-level FSA variables and school-level provincial examination variables
- School catchment-level Statistics Canada Census data
The business key used by the Ministry of Education to identify individuals is the Provincial Education Number (PEN), while administrative health data is keyed on the Provincial Health Number (PHN). In order to link administrative health data with education data, full personal identification is required (e.g. full name, full date of birth, gender).
ICBC has significant data holdings that present high interest from a public health perspective. Road Safety Strategic Planning Services group from ICBC could be contacted for more detailed information on the availability and accessibility of ICBC data. As with the Ministry of Education data, linkages between Ministry of Health administrative health data and ICBC data can be accomplished only via full personal identification information (e.g. full name, full date of birth, gender). Some of the datasets available from ICBC are:
- Driver’s licensing and insurance data:
- Consists of name, birthdate, gender, full postal code and licensing data on all BC drivers including date of first learner, novice, and full license. This includes license expiry date for expired licenses (e.g. driver moved or died). It also includes information on principal drivers of a BC registered vehicle together with the reported use of that vehicle and the dates that the person was principal driver.
- Height and weight of all BC drivers, which can be used to derive the Body Mass Index (BMI), a very useful health indicator.
- Contraventions data:
ICBC maintains records of administrative and criminal code sanctions for driving violations including i) impaired driving, ii) speeding, and iii) distraction. This includes the date of offense and is linked to driver license.
- The BC traffic accident system (TAS):
It is a database of all police reported crashes in BC and it includes all fatal crashes and the majority of serious injury crashes but does not reliably capture crashes with minor injury or property damage only. Therefore, similar to elsewhere, TAS underestimates the total number of road injuries in BC. The advantage of TAS is that it includes factors that contributed to the crash (e.g. speeding) and police suspicion of alcohol.
- Insurance Claims Data.
All crashes that result in an insurance claim for a BC registered vehicle are reported to ICBC. Claims data includes the date and location of the crash and the age, gender, and role (e.g. driver, passenger, pedestrian) of everyone involved. Claims data also includes an estimate of crash severity (property damage only, injury, number of injured victims, and fatality). Claims data does not include causative factors. There are 270,000 crashes reported to ICBC annually.
WorkSafeBC claims and firm level files are available for research purposes via Population Data BC. Access to individual level data for other purposes than research described under FOIPPA should be directed to WorkSafeBC.
Provincial Personal Information Data Holdings
As mandated by s.69 of FOIPPA, the Office of the Chief Information Officer must maintain and publish a personal information directory to provide information about records in the custody or under the control of ministries of the government of British Columbia and about the use of those records.
The personal information directory must include a summary that meets the requirements of the minister responsible for this Act of the following information:
(a) the personal information banks that are in the custody or control of each ministry of the government of British Columbia;
(b) the information-sharing agreements into which each ministry of the government of British Columbia has entered;
(c) the privacy impact assessments referred to in subsection 69(5);
(d) any other information the minister responsible for FOIPPA considers appropriate.
BC Ministry of Environment
Air Quality Data: http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/index.html
Other environmental indicators concerning air, land, and water are available here:
Census data for several years and at various levels of geography are provided online for free by Statistics Canada. This information can then be linked with health data using geography as a linkage key. Ministry of Health can provide various linkage keys from the Translation Master File – Geocodes Checklist for any row level, administrative health data available for request.
Statistics Canada also has information at individual level, like the Canadian Community Health Survey, National Health Survey, General Social Survey, and other surveys that either have a health component or contain information useful for public health research and evaluation.