Access Process

The CanPath Access Portal provides researchers with the necessary resources to identify epidemiological and biological data available from participating cohorts to answer innovative research questions.

Why use CanPath Data?

CanPath is Canada’s largest population health cohort and a national platform for population-level health research.

It is a unique Canadian platform allowing scientists to explore the complex factors that contribute to disease. It is a deeply characterized cohort of individuals who have provided broad consent and now include two per cent of all Canadians between 30 and 74 years of age.

CanPath can save researchers time — sometimes up to a decade — associated with arranging and measuring their own population samples.

Researchers around the world can readily integrate CanPath data into their own studies. The standardization and harmonization of data across CanPath’s regional cohorts has been facilitated by Maelstrom Research.

Data Highlights


All CanPath participants completed a detailed questionnaire at the time of recruitment (baseline) and continue to provide updated health and lifestyle information through follow-up questionnaires.

Nationally harmonized datasets include data collected by the five mature cohorts: BC Generations Project, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, Ontario Health Study, CARTaGENE and the Atlantic PATH. Data from the Manitoba Tomorrow Project will be made available once participant recruitment is complete.

Harmonized datasets available include:

  • Baseline Health and Risk Factors Questionnaire
  • Baseline Health and Risk Factors Questionnaire with Additional Diseases
  • Baseline Mental Health Questionnaire
  • Baseline Physical Measures
  • Follow-up Health and Risk Factors Questionnaire
  • Pre-analytical Data Related to Biological Samples
  • Genotyping Data
  • CANUE Environmental Exposure Data
  • COVID-19 Questionnaire – Data Coming Soon


CanPath has biological samples available for researchers, allowing wider and deeper investigations into the causes of cancer and chronic diseases.

Biological samples were donated near the time of participant enrollment or during a subsequent sample collection campaign.

Biological samples available for access include serum, plasma, DNA, red blood cells, cryo-preserved whole blood, and urine samples.

  • 156,402Blood
  • 99,500Urine
  • 178,065DNA source material

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Access Process & Criteria

Requests for access to CanPath data and biosamples are accepted throughout the year. Applications meeting the criteria for an Expedited Review are reviewed on an ongoing basis, while applications requiring a Full Access Committee Review are reviewed quarterly. The requirements for each review process are outlined below.

Access applications can be made directly through the CanPath Portal.

  1. Submit Access Application

    through the CanPath Portal

  2. Administrative Assessment

    Completed by the Access Office

  3. Feasability Assessment

    Completed by the Regional Scientific Directors

  4. Access Committee Review

    Expedited or Full Access Committee Review

Access Criteria & Requirements

All completed and submitted Access Application Forms and associated documentation are reviewed by the independent Access Committee according to the following criteria:

  • The Applicant is a bona fide researcher (i.e. evidence that the researcher has relevant experience and qualifications);
  • The research project is in conformity with both the Guiding Principles of CanPath and the informed consents signed by the Research Participants (see Sections 2 and 4a of the CanPath Access Policy);
  • The Access Office has provided proof of administrative completeness and availability of CanPath Data and/or Biosamples

The Access Office assessment has established that the application meets the following requirements:

  • The research study has been deemed scientifically sound;
  • The existence of adequate resources to effectively complete the research project has been established (e.g. funding, collaborators and staff);
  • Sufficient justification for the need for the CanPath Data and/or Biosamples requested has been provided;
  • The provision of the requested biosamples is justified based on the assessment of the value of returned data, the scientific contribution of the research project, the potential impact of providing the samples on future needs for the biosamples and the risk of sample depletion.

Expedited Review Criteria

Access Applications meeting the criteria for an Expedited Review are accepted on an ongoing basis and will be completed within approximately 3 weeks. (This timeline is contingent on the applicant’s responsiveness throughout the process).

As noted in the CanPath Access Policy, the following criteria are used to determine if applications qualify for an Expedited Review:

  • Requesting Harmonized Datasets;
  • Low reputational risk based on the research question being addressed and its scientific merit;
  • The project has been evaluated through a recognized scientific review or peer review process;
  • There is evidence of financial support for the project; and
  • The Research Team has sufficient membership and expertise to complete the analyses.

Note: With the exception of the first two points, applications do not need to meet all of these criteria to be considered for Expedited Review.

Full Access Committee Review Criteria & Deadlines

As noted in the CanPath Access Policy, Access Applications meeting any of the following criteria will require a Full Access Committee Review:

  • Requests for data other than datasets listed as ‘Harmonized Data’;
  • Access to biosamples are requested;
  • Research question addresses a potentially contentious research question (e.g., compares outcomes by ethnicity or community, potentially negative impact on subsets of participants) or with a high risk of reidentification; or
  • Request includes linkage to administrative health data

Full Access Committee Review Submission Deadline

October 23, 2020
January 22, 2021
April 23, 2021
July 30, 2021

Anticipated Notification of Decision*

December 2020
March 2021
June 2021
September 2021

*Please note that the Anticipated Notification of Decision refers to the approximate time you will be notified about the approval status of your submission, and not to the time you will have access to the data.

Access Cost

CanPath has a tiered pricing model suited to the different budgets of trainees, early-career researchers, and established researchers. Applicants are invited to complete a Cost Estimate Form and submit by email to

Access Committee

The Access Committee reviews and makes approval decisions on research applications submitted for CanPath Data and/or Biosamples. The committee is composed of independent members from across Canada who have expertise in such relevant fields as biostatistics, epidemiology, and genomics. The Access Committee meets formally 4 times per year.

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Need Support?

All CanPath Access questions can be directed to
Asha Mohamed, Access Officer.