CANSIM Database

About this dataset

Dataset description
Current subscribers

CANSIM Different views

CANSIM Multidimensional view
CANSIM Time-series view

Historical editions

CANSIM 2 (last updated 2009-04-24)
CANSIM 1 (last updated 2002-06-01)

Documentation & Help

CANSIM OLAP View Tutorials

CANSIM OLAP View / Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is CANSIM OLAP View Interface?

CANSIM OLAP View is an enhanced version of multi-dimensional view of CANSIM data offered by the CHASS Data Centre.


What is OLAP?

OLAP means On Line Analytical Processing, and is a way of analyzing large amounts of multi-dimensional data in real time by performing various operations on data dimensions.

This view presents each CANSIM table as an OLAP cube (in the case of three dimensions) or hyper-cube (in the case of more than three dimensions). On a flat two-dimensional surface this is achieved by nesting dimensions within one another.


Is CANSIM OLAP View a replacement for the current multi-dimensional CANSIM @ CHASS?

No. The new interface provides a ‘different’ way of looking at a CANSIM table and its data. In this ‘view’, the time dimension is no more important than other dimensions of the table allowing users to manipulate all the dimensions in the same manner.


Are there any 3-D cubes or hyper-cubes on the screen?

Not ‘per se’. OLAP cube is merely a conceptual notion for organizing and displaying data that can be ‘viewed by something’: by time-period, by geography, by type, etc. The word “by” is an indication that the data is dimensional.


Why can’t I select 2 or more members of the dimensions on the filter?

In CANSIM OLAP view, data are always displayed as a 2-dimensional table (spreadsheet) that have at least one dimension on the row axis and one dimension on the column axis. Filtering all the remaining dimensions on only one member will produce the spreadsheet. By choosing 2 members of a dimension on the filter will result in getting 2 such spreadsheets with different data/numbers that need to be combined (aka aggregated) in one spreadsheet. In some cases it is safe to combine such spreadsheets, in others it is not.

CANSIM is a combination of all kind of data: e.g. rates, counts, percentages that are not always safe to mix and match when performing aggregations.

In some cases, Statistics Canada already aggregates CANSIM data for us: i.e. Statistics Canada provides data for ‘Males’, ‘Females’ and ‘Both sexes’. Sometimes, adding ‘Males’ and ‘Females’ may not lead to the exact number reported for ‘Both sexes’ – this happens when data are rounded or other confidential measures are applied.

In other cases, it does not make sense to aggregate CANSIM data: if one dimension has a member that is a rate and other member that is a percentage, it does not make sense to aggregate (add/subtract) such members!

Usually one performs aggregations in CANSIM on time dimension. For example, if we have a monthly table, we can get annual values by applying one of the aggregate functions that make sense for that data. This is equivalent to changing data frequency.


Why some CANSIM tables have so many empty cells?

No data exist for the combination of members you have selected.

Examples of possible causes are:
  • Some combinations exist only at the national, but not provincial (or lower) levels
  • Some combinations do not make sense
  • Seasonally-adjusted data are available for some (but not all) levels of detail
  • Some data may only be available for the Total while other data may be available for the (age, sex, industry, ...) breakdowns
  • Some data are restricted (supressed): not available in the public CANSIM release


Is CANSIM @ CHASS free for anyone on the Internet?

CANSIM @ CHASS is restricted to UofT users and members of subscribing institutions.


How do I access CANSIM OLAP View? Where is the start page?

Currently, CANSIM OLAP View is integrated with the dimensional and time-series views. A main start page and metadata will be provided in the near future.

To access CANSIM OLAP View please visit CANSIM Multidimensional, then from the Main Menu “search/browse/locate tables” operations will offer the new view.

The following steps will work only from IP addresses belonging to any of the subscribing institutions:
  1. Start at CANSIM@CHASS main page:
  2. Navigate to the ‘CANSIM Main Menu’: by choosing ‘CANSIM Multidimensional View/Continue in English/ CANSIM Multidimensional @ CHASS Main Menu’
  3. For example: ‘Browse tables by subjects’ will first locate the CANSIM tables for the chosen subject, and then will offer the choice of seeing the tables in OLAP View.


I am not on campus. How do I access CANSIM OLAP View?

If you are not on campus you need to use a proxy service provided by your institution to access restricted pages at CHASS. You can find more information about off-campus access of restricted websites on your institution library’s Internet page.


I am using a proxy service but I still get the message ‘the web page is restricted’. What’s wrong with this?

CANSIM OLAP View is hosted on a new computer at CHASS (cloudDC.chass). This computer name needs to be added to the proxy configuration. Please contact your library or proxy administrator about this problem.


Do you have any video tutorials for this new interface?

Please check out our [CANSIM OLAP View video tutorials] to learn how to use the interface.


I have some comments/complains about CANSIM OLAP View. Who should I contact?

Please email CHASS Support at