Copyright and your data

Copyright does not protect factual information or data. A particular expression of data (for example, a graph or diagram) will be protected by copyright only if it reaches a certain threshold of creativity and detail. For example, a very simple bar, line or pie graph might not be protected by copyright. However, very detailed expressions of data and certain other research outputs (for example, journal articles, audiovisual content, photographs) are protected by copyright.

If your data is copyright-protected, this copyright may be jointly held by you and your co-researchers/authors. Additionally, if an external organization or person is involved in the research, they may be a copyright holder of the material as well. If copyright permission is requested for use of your data, permission must be provided by all copyright holders in order for the requestor to use your data.

For more information about your copyright as a content creator, please visit our authors and creators homepage.

Source of the information in this section: Simon Fraser University copyright website.

Using data from Statistics Canada in research

Copyright issues when using statistics/data from Statistics Canada

Authors and researchers must give full credit for any Statistics Canada data, analysis and other content material used or referred to in their studies, articles, papers and other research works.

As of February 1, 2012, information published by Statistics Canada is automatically covered by the open licence with the exception of Statistics Canada's postal products and public use microdata files (PUMFs).

This licence agreement allows you to use Statistics Canada information without restrictions on sharing and redistribution, for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You must always acknowledge Statistics Canada as the source of the information and adhere to the conditions of the Statistics Canada open licence.

By using the data, you are accepting all the terms and conditions of the open licence.

Aggregate data (Data and Census)

Aggregate data available through Data (formerly, CANSIM) and the Census website is open data and is governed by the terms of the Statistics Canada open licence agreement.

Subject to this agreement, Statistics Canada grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to:

  • use, reproduce, publish, freely distribute or sell the Information;
  • use, reproduce, publish, freely distribute or sell value-added products; and
  • sub-licence any or all such rights, under terms consistent with this agreement.

Public use microdata files (PUMFs)

The use of PUMFs is governed by the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) signed by the University of Saskatchewan and Statistics Canada. The Postal Code Conversion File (PCCF/PCCF+) is subject to an additional licence that users must sign in-person at the University Library.

Under the terms of the DLI licence, microdata files:

  • Shall be used for statistical and research purposes. The microdata files shall not be used for any other purposes without the prior written consent of Statistics Canada.
  • Shall be used by University of Saskatchewan educators, students and staff. The microdata file shall not be reproduced and transmitted to any outside person or organization.
  • Shall not be merged or linked with other databases for the purpose of attempting to identify an individual person, business or organization.
  • Shall not be presented in a manner that gives the appearance that the user may have received, or had access to, information held by Statistics Canada about any identifiable person, business or organization.
  • Provided software shall not be disassembled, decompiled or in any way reverse engineered.


In any publication of any information based on the microdata files, researchers shall use the following form of accreditation:

"This analysis is based on the Statistics Canada (name of database and/or microdata file) (reference year). All computations, use and interpretation of these data are entirely that of (name of author(s) or licencee).”

Citing Statistics Canada materials

The How to Cite Statistics Canada Products document describes how to build citations for all standard products offered by Statistics Canada.

There is also a Stats Canada webpage with links to examples of citations for different products.

Third party materials

Some of the materials and graphical elements found on Government of Canada websites are subject to copyrights held by other organizations. This is particularly true of sites that are jointly operated by a Government of Canada institution and an external organization as part of a collaborative arrangement. In such cases, some restrictions on the reproduction of materials or graphical elements may apply and it may be necessary to seek permission from the rights holder prior to reproducing the material. You must source third parties when reproducing their materials.

For more information about Statistics Canada data, please contact Robert Alary at or 306-966-5987.

Getting help

If you have any questions or concerns about copyright, please let us know!

Copyright Coordinator
122.13 Murray Library

Note: The information obtained from or through this site does not constitute legal advice.


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