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Participant Information

Who is the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, and what do we do?

The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI) is a national research organization that has been examining physical activity and sport participation among the Canadian population for over 40 years. In doing so, it has been able to gather important information that is used by decision-makers to develop policies which help Canadians lead a more healthy and active lifestyle.

The CFLRI is, and has been, involved in a numerous studies which collects information on population levels of physical activity and sport (through objective measures and self-report data) as well as examining opportunities for participation in various key settings (e.g., at home, school, workplace, in the community). Click on the links below to learn more about each of these studies:

Why conduct surveys on physical activity?

The surveys conducted by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute monitor the physical activity levels of Canadians along with factors that encourage or hinder physical activity. The monitoring of physical activity levels on a regular basis provides current information to federal, provincial/territorial policy makers so that they can develop policies, strategies and programs that serve the current needs of Canadians. The Institute works with many partners in the conduct of their studies, including not-for-profit organizations, universities, and commercial research organizations.

Who benefits? What impact do the surveys have on individual Canadians?

Ultimately, all Canadians benefit. Credible information on the linkages between physical activity, health and well-being helps governments, organizations, and practitioners to improve health and lifestyle programs and respond to real and current needs.

Who uses the information obtained?

The primary users of the Institute’s surveys are provincial/territorial and federal departments responsible for sport, physical activity and recreation, universities and colleges, not-for-profit organizations, public health agencies and municipal parks and recreation departments.

Who is included in the physical activity surveys?

The Physical Activity Monitor, which consists of surveys among a random sample of several thousand Canadians, and includes Canadians from every province and territory, whenever possible. Collectively, these respondents represent “average” Canadians. The settings-based surveys generally collect information by questionnaires mailed out to specific populations of interest or online. Each population’s survey is updated every five years; these key settings and organizations include survey questionnaires that have been mailed out to administrators of municipalities, schools, sport and recreation organizations, and workplaces. The samples for these populations are drawn from available databases of these types of institutions or online information.

Why was I chosen? Can't someone else do it?

Participants are chosen at random from the Canadian population. The random nature of the selection ensures that the predictions made from the data collected are valid. Over a long period of time, most Canadians will be approached to participate in a survey because samples used in different surveys are selected randomly. Most people cooperate willingly because they realize the importance of statistics in decision-making. The data collected help decision-makers to better serve your needs and your community.

Is my name attached to my responses? Can my answers be identified back to me?

The data which is analyzed does not have any information that identifies respondents. The data file only includes general demographic information such as a respondent’s age and province of residence so we can group the responses of people who belong to a certain group together. Data are only reported in this grouped format. These types of groupings are not enough to identify a respondent.

How long does it take to complete the surveys?

The telephone interviews of the Physical Activity Monitor and Sport Monitor are designed to take about 20 minutes. The written questionnaires of the settings-based surveys are designed to take an average of 20 minutes. The online surveys are estimated to take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete.

What is a sample survey?

A sample survey is a process by which information relevant to a large number of people is obtained by collecting data from a smaller, representative group. The data from the small group are generalized to the large population. This approach substantially reduces the cost of obtaining data, since we do not have to carry out a whole census.

If the respondent's answers are not totally accurate, what good are they?

We ask all respondents to answer the questions to the best of their ability. It is possible that some of the estimates made by the respondents are on the high side, while others are on the low side. Overall, these generally tend to balance each other out.

What will I get out of the surveys?

In supplying valuable information to the survey, you will be helping federal, provincial/territorial and local government agencies to decide what facilities and programs will best serve you and your community. By participating, some individuals become more familiar with the importance of physical activity and sport.

Are the surveys confidential?

Yes, all the information collected is strictly confidential and no unauthorized person will see your results at any time other than the researchers identified at the start of the survey. Staff from the CFLRI follow the confidentiality guidelines of Statistics Canada in dealing with data and are bound by the Privacy Act.

Have these studies been approved?

Yes. CFLRI’s studies are reviewed by independent ethics boards, and conforms to the standards of the Canadian Tri-Council Research Ethics guidelines.

What if I am not in good health/ not very fit/ or quite elderly?

We collect information on the health and lifestyle needs of ALL Canadians. You are important to this survey because you represent the “average” Canadian as much as any other individual. Your answers to the survey questionnaire are very important in assisting the Institute to learn about the activities and attitudes of your age group and of people who share your physical activity and health status.

What if I decide that I no longer wish to participate in a study?

If you decide at any point that you wish to be removed from the study, and would like all information collected about you to be destroyed, call the Institute at 1-888-413-9129. Deciding not to participate will not affect your relationship with the researchers or any other group associated with the project.