Explainer: What is disaggregated data, and why don’t social purpose organizations have access to it?

In this year’s federal budget, the Liberals promised to create a national disaggregated data strategy. Will it help the sector?

Why It Matters

Over the past couple of years, there has been an increased demand for disaggregated data in Canada in order to identify and address social and racial inequities faced by vulnerable populations. But few understand what the term really means, how it works and why Canada is investing in collecting such data now.

Saying “disaggregated data” can be a bit of a tongue twister. 

But lately, it’s a term that seems to be at the tip of everyone’s tongue — or anyone that understands what it means, anyway. 

Earlier this year, the federal government of Canada too jumped on the disaggregated data bandwagon, announcing that it would give a whopping $172 million over a period of five years to Statistics Canada to improve its collection and analysis of such data sets. 

So if you’re wondering, “What exactly is disaggregated data and why is the government willing to spend so much money on it in the midst of a global pandemic?”— we’ll break it down for you. 


Disaggregated data

Critical information about peoples’ experiences and the issues they are impacted by is conveyed through two types of data today: aggregated and disaggregated

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