Accessing CANSIM data through CHASS

This guide is primarily designed to help users unfamiliar with the CANSIM database to find and download data through CHASS.

Please note that a University of Toronto IP address is required to acceess CHASS.

Note: CANSIM data may also be accessed through the Statistics Canada website. Tutorial available here.

1. Getting Started

a. What is CANSIM?

CANSIM is Statistics Canada’s main socioeconomic time series database. It contains most of the aggregate data collected by Statistics Canada on a regular basis such as data from the Consumer Price Index Survey, the Labour Force Survey, or the National Income and Expenditure accounts.

b. How to access CANSIM:

  • On the Map & Data Library homepage, click CANSIM via CHASS under "Major data portals"
  • Choose CANSIM Multidimensional View
  • Continue in your preferred language
  • Choose CANSIM Multidimensional @ CHASS Main Menu

You are now on the main search page.

2. Searching for Data

a. Classification

Data are classified by tables and series. A table is the largest unit and contains many series. For instance, there are over 201 tables from the Labour Force Survey. One of these is called “Labour Force Survey estimates (LFS), by educational attainment, sex and age group, annual (Persons), 1990 to 2017” (Table 282-0004) and contains over 26 000 series. A series is, for instance, the full-time employment of male teachers and professors in Canada from 1987-2015 (series v2369249).

b. Searching by survey, table, or series number

If you have the name or number of a survey, table, or series, you can easily retrieve the series by typing the information in the search menu. 

c. Searching by subject or keywords

If you do not know the name or number of the survey, table, or series, you can search by browsing subjects. Suppose we want to find the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and we are interested in the period between January 1995 - December 2015.

1. In the main search menu, click "Browse tables by subjects."


2. Expand "Prices and price indexes" and click "Consumer price indexes."

3. The table we want is no.1760003. Older tables are marked as "terminated." Click "by dimensions" to set the dimensions for the table.


4.  The geography is already set to Canada by default, since no other geography is available for this table. Select "Consumer Price Index (CPI) excluding food, energy and the effect of indirect taxes (Index, 2002=100)". Click "Submit."


5. Once you have all of the tables you are interested in, check off the boxes from the list and click "Add selected to the Series Cart."


6. Now, we can specify a timeframe and set the paramaters of our data. Enter the dates (1995-01, 2015-12), select "rows" under "Output display," and choose "HTML" under "Output format" for easier viewing. Then, click "Retrieve all the Series from the Cart."

7. The dataset appears as a table. You can also choose a different output format, such as CSV file (can open as a spreadsheet), SAS, SPSS, etc. to import the data into stats software.