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Data Sources

Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN)

Age Range

Newborns

Year

2012 to Present

What is it?

Ontario’s Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN) was established to collect, interpret, share and rigorously protect critical data about pregnancy, birth and newborns in the province. The BORN Information System offers a longitudinal view of mother and child health records from discrete data sources. It contains data on every birth in the province from hospitals, labs, midwifery practice groups & clinical programs.

What does it measure?

BORN links all pregnancies, births, and associated encounters of care to a single patient record providing the complete view along the continuum. Aggregate records are accessible at the public health unit level through the BORN Information System. Information about mothers (e.g. age, health behaviours, prenatal care, etc.), births (e.g. type of delivery, complications, etc.) and newborns (e.g. birthweight, NICU admission, etc.) are included.

Who is included?

BORN contains information about all births in Ontario. However, as of Fall 2014, there were three level 3 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) that had not yet started submitting data to BORN (i.e., London Health Sciences Centre, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre). As such, for some public health units like Toronto, there is a large proportion of missing information. This error is currently being addressed and data from January 2016 onwards are expected to be more complete.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

For some variables, there are a number of missing or unknown responses. There is a six-month delay after the period of interest before the data are considered to be complete. For indicators like Smoking During Pregnancy, a socially desirable response may be given to avoid feeling judged. There are a very limited amount of demographic questions asked in this data source, limiting analyses and understandings of inequities.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Dissemination area (census areas slightly larger than postal codes)
  • Trend over time
  • Since data is linked, information for any indicator can be analyzed as a cross tabulation of any other indicator (e.g. low birthweight babies by maternal age at birth).

When will it be collected next?

BORN data is collected regularly and is available in real-time through the BORN Information System. Toronto Public Health typically waits one year to report surveillance indicators using BORN data.

What indicators was this source used in?

  • Smoking During Pregnancy
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Breastfeeding

Data Source Website

BORN Information System: Data Quality Assessment for Public Health Monitoring.

Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)

Age Range

12 years and over

Year

2009 – 2017

What is it?

The CCHS is a cross-sectional survey that collects information related to health status, health care utilization and health determinants for the Canadian population.

What does it measure?

The CCHS collects information about health to provide current, detailed and uniform health information in ever province and territory. The CCHS specifically supports local health units by providing them with data used to evaluate existing programs and design new ones based on the health needs of their communities.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

Information from the CCHS is self-reported. Self-reported data have a number of limitations. People do not always remember their behaviours leading to recall bias. People may also under-report or over-report certain behaviours or characteristics based on their perceived social desirability. For example, people may report less alcohol drinking because they perceive this to be a “better” response.

In addition, surveys do not always provide a representative picture of the whole population. The CCHS under-represents people of low income, people with low education, and new immigrants.

Analyses for some groups such as caregivers are limited by sample size. In order to obtain a sufficient sample size, multiple survey cycles may need to be combined. Moreover, stratifier subgroups may need to be collapsed. For example, data may only be reportable for immigrants and non-immigrant categories as opposed to non-immigrants, longer-term immigrants, recent immigrants, etc.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Level of Education
  • Immigrant Status
  • Ethno-racial Identity
  • Income
  • Time

When will it be collected next?

CCHS is administered annually. The next cycle planned for release is for 2018.

What indicators was this source used in?

  • Depression
  • Prescription Medication Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Regular Healthcare Provider
  • Life Stress
  • Self-Rated General Health
  • Self-Rated Mental Health
  • Heavy Drinking
  • Sense of Belonging
  • Unmet Healthcare Need

Data Source Website

Statistics Canada, http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p2SV.pl?Function=getSurvey&SDDS=3226

Early Development Instrument (EDI)

Age Range
Senior Kindergarten students attending Toronto’s four publicly funded school boards

Year
2017/18 school year

What is it?
The EDI is a population-level research tool that measures how well children from a community are doing in reaching developmental expectations.  It is a validated tool developed by the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University and is used across Canada and internationally.

What does it measure?
At a community level, the EDI measures children’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations in five domains:

  • Physical Health and Well-being – includes gross and fine motor skills and children’s energy levels.
  • Social Competence –  includes curiosity about the world, knowledge of acceptable behavior and the ability to play and cooperate with others.
  • Emotional Maturity –  includes ability to reflect before acting, ability to deal with feelings, and empathic response to other people’s feelings.
  • Language and Cognitive Development – includes reading awareness, age appropriate reading, writing and numeracy skills, ability to understand similarities and differences, and  reciting information from memory
  • Communication Skills and General Knowledge – includes skills to communicate needs, symbolic use of language, story-telling and age appropriate knowledge about life and the world.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

  • Not all children in Toronto attend publicly funded schools and therefore, neighbourhood participation rates vary. EDI results from neighbourhoods with low participation rates should be used with caution.
  • The City has chosen to report EDI at a neighbourhood level by grouping children’s results based on the neighbourhood where the child lives. This will not be comparable with the local school level results that group children based on the school they attend.
  • There is a lag between the time EDI is collected and reporting of results, therefore the scores may not accurately reflect those neighbourhoods that have undergone significant demographic or socioeconomic changes.
  • While the EDI results can be used to inform policy and program development, the EDI is unlikely to be sensitive enough to evaluate an individual program’s effectiveness

How can it be analyzed?
By neighbourhood

  • proportion of children vulnerable, at risk, on track
  • proportion of children vulnerable in at least one and at least two domains

Overall

  • by gender
  • by English language learners/French language learners
  • by children with special needs

When will it be collected next?

The next cycle of data is anticipated to be collected in 2020/2021.

What indicators was this source used in?

Data Source Website

EDI – The Offord Centre for Child Studies

Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

Age Range

Grade 3 & Grade 6

Year

2008 – 2018

What is it?

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) is a crown agency of the Government of Ontario that administers standardized tests. The main purpose of administering standardized tests is to ensure educational accountability in hopes of increasing the quality of education in Ontario. Tests are administered in student’s primary, junior and secondary education. This report uses EQAO results by school for Grade 3 (end of primary division) and Grade 6 (end of junior division) from the 2014 school year.

What does it measure?

EQAO tests measures student skills in the three general areas of reading, writing and math. Specifically, it measures the students’ ability to make sense of what they read in different kinds of texts, express their thoughts in writing using appropriate grammar, spelling and punctuation, and use appropriate math skills to solve problems. The tests are measured in relation to a provincial standard and results can be compared across the school, board and province from one year to the next. Often, the number or percentage of students who fall above or below provincial standards in reading, writing and math are used as comparators.

In addition, a supplemental questionnaire is administered to students. The questionnaire asks for demographic information as well as qualitative questions about students attitudes and learning strategies.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

Assessments in education in general, and EQAO specifically, evaluate student knowledge based on specific expectations and may not be an accurate representation of their students abilities. Further, standardized tests are given on a single day and so provides only a snapshot of both the students’ ability and should not be overemphasized as indicators of a students’ educational skills or a schools’ educational quality.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Gender
  • English/French Language Learners
  • Born outside of Canada
  • Special Needs
  • Educational Opportunity Index

When will it be collected next?

Updated EQAO scores are available each year. The 2019 EQAO scores will be available at the end of ___ and will be updated accordingly.

What indicators was this source used in?

  • Student Achievement
  • Enjoyment of Reading
  • Reading with a Caregiver

Data Source Website

Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), Grade 3 and Grade 6 Assessments

IntelliHEALTH Ontario

Age Range

All ages

Year

Ongoing

What is it?

IntelliHealth is a knowledge repository that contains clinical and administrative data collected from various sectors of the Ontario healthcare system. Some of the kinds of data that can be accessed through Intellihealth include data related to hospital services, community care, medical services, vital statistics and population data. It is maintained by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. IntelliHEALTH also includes administrative data from other databases such as hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

What does it measure?

In Ontario, universal health care is provided through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). All Ontarians who are registered for OHIP are included in the Registered Persons Database, which also contains basic demographic information such as age, sex and postal code. When Ontarians access health care services, they provide their OHIP card. Physicians who use fee-for-service billings submit claims to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care using the OHIP card number of the patient. This claims data is captured in the Medical Services Claims History Database.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

There may be errors in the birth date file related to the municipality or area of resident assigned to the birth mother. Further, the parent registration form may be subject to recall bias.

Who is included?

IntelliHEALTH includes all Ontarians with a registered OHIP card. Those without an OHIP card (e.g. recent immigrants, populations without a fixed address) may be missed. Those who seek services at Community Health Centres may also be missed due to how visits are billed at some centres.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Postal Code
  • Trend over time

When will it be collected next?

IntelliHEALTH Ontario data is collected on an ongoing basis. Toronto Public Health typically waits one year to report on surveillance data to ensure completeness.

What indicators was this source used in?

18-Month Well-Baby Visit

Data Source Website

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (2012). Health Analyst’s Toolkit

Maternal Health Snapshot

Age Range

N/A

Year

2013 to 2017

What is it?

Public Health Ontario produces Snapshots – an online resource that provides access to statistics and information related to maternal and reproductive health for Ontario and its 36 public health units.  Snapshots are a collection of interactive map-based dashboards showing both geographic and temporal trends for key public health indicators by public health unit (PHU) and Ontario overall. Select Snapshots also include Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and/or LHIN sub-region (LHIN SR) data. All Snapshots provide dynamically linked tables, graphs, and maps with pre-calculated statistics.

The Maternal Health Snapshot uses data from BORN. Toronto Public Health uses the Maternal Health Snapshot in conjunction with BORN Information System surveillance data to see how Toronto compares to other public health units in Ontario.

What does it measure?

The Maternal Health Snapshot includes indicators about maternal health behaviours (e.g. smoking during pregnancy, folic acid use, etc.), prenatal care and infant feeding.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

See limitations of BORN data

Who is included?

The Maternal Health Snapshot includes all babies born in Ontario. See notes on the BORN data source for more information.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Public Health unit comparison
  • Trend over time

When will it be collected next?

Public Health Ontario regularly updates the Maternal Health snapshot when data is available from BORN. See the BORN data source for more information.

 

What indicators was this source used in?

  • Smoking During Pregnancy
  • Low Birth Weight

Data Source Website

Public Health Ontario. (2017). Maternal Health Snapshot.

Oral Health Information Support System

Age Range

Grades K to 8

Year

2012 to Present

What is it?

The Oral Health Information Support System (OHISS) contains data that is collected as part of the annual dental screenings that Toronto Public Health conducts in elementary and middle schools. The screening can provide an early sign of possible problems that should be looked at more closely.

What does it measure?

OHISS captures suspected tooth decay (both treated and untreated) determined by a dental hygienist during screening. Children with suspected untreated decay are then referred for further care.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

Who is included?

Children from publicly funded schools who participate in the screening programs are included in OHISS. Parents are notified in advance of the screenings and are able to opt out if they do not want their child to be screened. OHISS does not capture students who attend private schools.

How can it be analyzed?

  • School
  • Trend over time

When will it be collected next?

Surveillance data is captured on an ongoing basis and is available in OHISS in real time. Toronto Public Health typically waits one year to report on surveillance data to ensure completeness.

What indicators was this source used in?

Oral Health

Data Source Website

Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit. (2016). About the Ontario Health Information Systems (OHISS).

 

eHealth Portal. (2019) Oral Health Information Support System (OHISS) Info

Panorama Enhanced Analytical Reporting

Age Range

Age 4 to 17 years

Year

Ongoing

What is it?

Panorama Enhanced Analytical Reporting (PEAR) is a web-based information system designed to manage immunization information and vaccine inventory. Formerly immunization information was captured in the Immunization Records Information System (IRIS).

What does it measure?

Toronto Public Health keeps track of immunization records for all school-aged children using information provided by schools and/or parents/guardians. PEAR estimates immunization compliance based on forecaster generated outputs which reflect the proportion of students who are not yet overdue for their immunizations.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

Children who are home-schooled or who have dropped out of school may not be represented in this data. There may be a gap in time between when immunization information has been provided by the family and inputted into the database that may result in coverage estimates being lower for the current year of data. Data input errors could result in incorrect vaccines documented.

Who is included?

PEAR includes all school-aged children in Toronto (approximately 4 to 17 years of age).

How can it be analyzed?

  • Immunization Type
  • Trend over time
  • Age

When will it be collected next?

Surveillance data is captured on an ongoing basis. Toronto Public Health typically waits one year to report on surveillance data to ensure completeness.

What indicators was this source used in?

Immunization Coverage

Data Source Website

Toronto Public Health. (2019). Immunization Coverage Rates in Toronto Schools

TDSB Parent Census

Age Range

Kindergarten to Grade 6 (approximately age 4 – 11)

Year

2017

What is it?

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Parent Census was first conducted in 2008 for the Kindergarten to Grade 6 population in all TDSB elementary schools. The data used in this report was from 88,376 parent responses from the 2017 Census. The Parent Census focuses on student demographic characteristics and student experiences in school and outside of school. The TDSB Census is conducted on a 5-year cycle.

What does it measure?

The Parent Census focuses on questions about student demographic characteristics and student experiences in school and outside of school. Questions about school and out-of-school experiences are categorized into six areas– school climate, school safety, extra-curricular activities, homework, home support, and post-secondary expectations. Of particular relevance to this report, the Census asks parents about children’s feelings of nervousness and anxiousness, friendships at school, feelings of safety in school and in the neighbourhood, participation in early learning programs, participation in arts and sports, and levels of support the child receives at school to learn to the best of their ability.

What are some of the limitations of this data source?

The TDSB Census only includes a subset of Toronto’s student population. Student’s attending catholic school, private schools and french schools are not included in this data source. Many of the questions asked on the TDSB Parent Census is about the child’s experience. It may be difficult for parent’s to accurately understand the experience and emotions that their child is going through. The TDSB Parent Census also has a much lower response rate than the Student Census with only 63% of parents filling in the survey. This may result in skewed results and a bias toward parent’s who may be already very active in their child’s school life and have the time available to fill out a large survey.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Gender
  • Place of Birth
  • First Language
  • Racial Background
  • Parental Presence at Home
  • Mother/Father Educational Background
  • Family Size
  • Family Income

When will it be collected next?

The next TDSB Census will be collected in 2022.

What indicators was this source used in?

  • No Close Friendships
  • Feeling Nervous or Anxious
  • Feeling Safe at School
  • Adequate Support in School
  • Participation in Early Learning and Care Programs
  • Participation in Arts or Sports Outside of School
  • Feeling Unsafe in the Community

Data Source Website

Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Parent Census

TDSB Student Census

Age Range

Grades 7 and 8 (approximately age 11 to 13)

Year

2017

What is it?

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Student Census was first conducted in 2006 for the Grade 7 – 12 population in all TDSB middle and high schools. New to the 2017 Census round, grades 4-6 students were also included in the Student Census. The data used in this report was from 46,070 student responses from the Grade 4-6 classes and 29,679 student responses from the Grade 7 & 8 classes of the 2017 Census. The Student Census focuses on student demographic characteristics and student experiences in school and outside of school. The TDSB Census is conducted on a 5-year cycle.

What does it measure?

The Student Census focuses on student demographic characteristics and contextual questions about student’s perceptions of their experiences in school and outside of school. Questions about school and out-of-school experiences are categorized into twelve areas– school climate, relationships with school adults and peers, school safety, inclusive school experiences, extra-curricular activities, homework, after-school activities, home support, physical health, social-emotional well-being, self-perceived abilities, and post-secondary plans and aspirations. Of particular relevance to this report, the Census asks students about their relationships with teachers and parents, if they eat before coming to school, and about their levels of emotional well-being.

What are some limitations of this data source?

The TDSB Census only includes a subset of Toronto’s student population. Student’s attending catholic school, private schools and french schools are not included in this data source. Although the student census receives a very high response rate at 91% for Grades 4-6 and 94% for grades 7-8, there are still some student’s attending the school board that are not represented in the data. These students may be the hardest to reach and could contribute to skewed data.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Gender Identity
  • Place of Birth
  • First Language
  • Racial Background
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Canadian Identity
  • Parental Presence at Home
  • Mother/Father Educational Background
  • Mother/Fathers Employment Status
  • Family Socioeconomic Status

When will it be collected next?

The next TDSB Census will be collected in 2022.

What indicators was this source used in?

  • Student Emotional Well-being Index
  • Feeling Safe at School
  • Adequate Support in School
  • Hunger
  • Support From Teachers
  • Feeling Unsafe in the Community
  • Child-Parent Relationships

Data Source Website

Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Student Census

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) Ontario Works (OW)

Age Range

Families with children 0 – 12 years old

Year

2018

What is it?

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) provides employment supports, financial benefits and social supports to people living in Toronto. Staff provide a range of services to residents, including helping people:

  • find a job or the training they need to find work
  • access financial benefits available through the Ontario Works program
  • connect to health, housing, child care and other social services

What does it measure?

The data provided originates from the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS), a software system Ontario Works administrators across the Province use to deliver the Ontario Works program.

What are some limitations of this data source?

The data is reflective of a point in time (May 2018). “Family Type” is based on an existing administrative definition which categorizes families based on whether they are single- or couple-led.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Applicant age
  • Applicant level of education
  • Family type
  • Number of children age 12 and under
  • Neighbourhood

When will it be collected next?

The next submission of this data set is to be determined.

What indicators was this source used in?

  • Families on Ontario Works

Data Source Website

N/A

Street Needs Assessment Survey

Age Range

16 and older

Year

2018

What is it?

The Street Needs Assessment (SNA) is a needs assessment survey and point-in-time count of people experiencing homeless in Toronto that was conducted on the night of April 26, 2018. The results provide information on the profile of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. In 2018, the survey was completed with 2019 individuals staying outdoors, in shelters (including Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters which are administered by the Province), 24-hour respite sites (including two 24-hour women’s drop-ins and the overnight Out of the Cold program open on the night of the SNA).

What does it measure?

The SNA includes 23 core questions that identify the profile and the characteristics and service needs of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto . A number of socio-demographic questions are asked including: gender identity, age, racial/ethnic identity of respondents, length of time in Toronto, migration to Canada, language spoken, sexual orientation and more. The survey also asks about health and mental health conditions, sources of income, history of homelessness, service use, service and support needs, and interaction with the health care, foster care and criminal justice system.

What are some limitations of this data source?

The SNA is a point-in-time count and survey which provides a snapshot of homelessness on a specific night. It does not capture individuals experiencing hidden homelessness (for example, temporarily staying with others while not having secure housing available). . The SNA employs a point-in-time methodology for enumerating homelessness that is now the standard for most major US and Canadian urban centre. The point-in-time count is the only current method that captures the scope of people experiencing homelessness who are staying outdoors.

Who is included?

The SNA survey was conducted with individuals staying outdoors, in shelters (including Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters which are administered by the Province), 24-hour respite sites (including two 24-hour women’s drop-ins and the overnight Out of the Cold program open on the night of the SNA).

How can it be analyzed?

  • Gender Identity
  • Age
  • Language
  • Migration to Canada
  • Racial/Ethnic Identity
  • Time in Toronto

When will it be collected next?

2020

What indicators was this source used in?

Families Experiencing Homelessness

Data Source Website

Street Needs Assessment. (2018). Street Needs Assessment 2018 Results Report

Shelter Management Information System (SMIS)

Age Range

All ages

Year

Current

What is it?

The City of Toronto’s Shelter Management Information System (SMIS) provides real-time information on available shelter beds across all City operated and funded shelters. The system is used to collect client information to improve service planning and to facilitate access to available services. The use of SMIS is mandatory at all City-funded shelters.

What does it measure?

SMIS processes intakes, admissions and discharges at all City operated and funded shelters.

What are some limitations of this data source?

SMIS is an administrative database that contains information about individuals and families who have accessed programs within the City of Toronto shelter system. While the City of Toronto makes every effort to prevent and eliminate duplicate records, it is possible that families could be counted more than once if they had multiple stays in different programs in a calendar year. SMIS data does not include people experiencing homelessness who have not received shelter services, such as those who are living outdoors or are experiencing hidden homelessness.

Who is included?

Individuals accessing city operated and funded shelters.

How can it be analyzed?

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Family size / composition

When will it be collected next?

Ongoing collection

What indicators was this source used in?

Families Experiencing Homelessness

Data Source Website

Shelter Management Information System Street Needs Assessment. https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/emergency-shelter-operators/shelter-management-information-system/

SMIS daily occupancy totals are available from the City of Toronto’s Open Data portal https://open.toronto.ca/dataset/daily-shelter-occupancy/