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Real Time Remote Access

Research Guide for the Statistics Canada Real Time Remote Access program

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Getting Started with RTRA

"RTRA would be suitable when the PUMF data lacks the required detail; but the project is too small or timelines preclude a submission to get access at an Research Data Centre (RDC)."
- David Price, Statistics Canada

What is RTRA?

Real Time Remote Access (RTRA) is a Statistics Canada portal that allows researchers to upload SAS files to query a given survey and download the results. RTRA can only provide descriptive statistics.

What are the benefits of using RTRA?

  • Fast access to detailed microdata not available through ODESI
    • 1 week for account creation
    • lengthy approval and security process as with the RDCs (may up to a month or longer)
  • Vetting of outputs is fully automated
  • ‚ÄčAccessible at any time through the internet
  • Full range of descriptive statistics available through RTRA

What are some scenarios where use of RTRA is appropriate?

RTRA represents an important intermediary between the PUMFs (Public Use Microdata Files) available via ODESI and the secured access to the raw confidential data available at Western's RDC.

RTRA would be appropriate for the following situations:

  • Projects that don't require complex modeling or inferential statistics
  • Projects where the desired data set lacks the required detail in the available PUMFs
  • Projects where the desired data set lacks a PUMF and is available via RTRA
  • Where project feasibility is the goal (eg. project proposals) and RTRA may be used to explore the data

How much time does it take to use RTRA?

RTRA account creation takes one week. Submitting a program can be done at any time of day, and results take approximately 90 minutes to generate with automatic small-cell suppression.

Programs are coded in SAS and modified to be compatible with RTRA. These can then be submitted online through Statistics Canada'sElectronic File Transfer (EFT) system. An orientation session on how to make submissions through RTRA is offered by the Senior Statistical Focal Point when you first obtain your account.

Do I have to be on campus to use RTRA?

Once you have an RTRA account, you can submit programs from anywhere with an internet connection! To obtain an RTRA account, contact the Senior Statistical Focal Point (Elizabeth Hill) for the program at Western Libraries. Alternatively, send queries to the Research and Scholarly Communications Team within Western Libraries


With thanks to the University of Ottawa Library for sharing content from their Real Time Remote Access Research Guide.