Dataset Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)

Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) 
Data Provider (source):

Canadian Institutes of Health Research & Canadian Foundation for Innovation


The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a Research Platform containing data and biospecimens being collected in a 20-year prospective study from a sample of 50,000+ men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 years at baseline. Both the Tracking cohort (20,000 participants) and the Comprehensive cohort (30,000 participants) provide a common set of information on demographic, social, physical, clinical, psychological, economic, and health service utilization aspects relevant to health and aging. The Comprehensive cohort provides additional information through physical examinations and the collection of biospecimens (blood and urine samples). The CLSA recruited 51,338 participants into the study and completed Baseline data collection in 2015 and its first follow-up data collection in 2018. 

The ultimate aim of the CLSA is to find ways to improve the health of Canadians by better understanding the processes and dimensions of aging.  
Type of Data (select all that apply):
Health Care and Health Services, Demnographics and Life Course, Childhood 
Data Collection Method (select all that apply):
Individual Level Data, Survey Data 
Identifiers used for linkage:
Personal Health Number, Postal Code 
Access requiredments and conditions for Researchers and Projects:

Researchers or trainees affiliated with a public sector research organization (i.e. university, research institute, government agency) based in Canada or internationally may apply to access CLSA data. Exclusive access rights to CLSA data and biospecimens will not be granted to any applicant for any research. All applicants will be required to follow the access procedures. For further information, please consult our Data and Biospecimen Access Policy and Guiding Principles, available on the CLSA website. 

Access to, and use of, CLSA data and biospecimens are governed by the following principles, as outlined in the CLSA Data and Biospecimen Access Policy and Guiding Principles:

  • The rights, privacy and consent of participants must be protected and respected at all times.
  • The confidentiality and the security of CLSA data and biospecimens must be safeguarded at all times.
  • CLSA data and biospecimens are resources that will be used optimally to support research to benefit all Canadians.
  • Alphanumeric data are available to all approved users nationally and internationally. However, currently there is no provision to transfer biospecimens to applicants outside of Canada.
  • CLSA data and biospecimens will only be released to users once proof of ethics approval from the appropriate Research Ethics Board has been provided to the CLSA.
  • Linking of the CLSA data to third party data holdings by an approved user is prohibited. Any proposals for linkage must be approved by the CLSA Scientific Management Team, and executed internally by the CLSA. Six-digit postal codes or HIN data are never released to users.

For a detailed description of the data access process, the available data, application forms and support materials, please visit the CLSA website. For questions about data access, please write to


The cohort of 51,338 participants, aged 45-85 at enrolment, is composed of two complementary cohorts that can be studied separately or together: the Tracking cohort of 21,241 participants randomly selected from within all 10 provinces who are interviewed by telephone, and the Comprehensive cohort of 30,097 participants randomly selected from within 25-50 km of 11 data collection sites (in 7 provinces) who participate in in-home interviews and physical assessments at the data collection sites.

The CLSA collects data from physical and cognitive measures, as well as psychosocial, lifestyle & demographic, and health information covering all disciplines; from biological and medical to social and socioeconomic aspects of aging. In addition, the CLSA collects biospecimens for biomarker research from 30,000 participants every three years. The CLSA also collects health insurance numbers to enable future linking with healthcare utilization, disease registries, and mortality databases. CLSA data has also been linked to data from Statistics Canada, Health Canada and CANUE on Air Quality, Neighbourhood Factors, and Weather and Climate. 


Identifying information used for data linkage is not released to researchers. 

Data is available from:
Data are available from the Baseline data collection, which was completed in 2015. The dataset includes alphanumeric data from the 50,000+ participants who completed baseline telephone and in-home interviews, as well as physical assessments, images related to bone, eye and vascular health, and hematological data collected from the 30,000 Comprehensive cohort participants. Data from the first follow-up are expected to be released in spring of 2019.  
More Information (including references):

The CLSA released The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging Report on Health and Aging in Canada: Findings from Baseline Data Collection 2010-2015 in May 2018. The report presents key findings on a range of physical, mental and social aspects of aging based on data from the CLSA’s 50,000 participants, who were between the ages of 45 and 85 when they were recruited into the study. The report is available for download at:  

More information on the CLSA is available at:

References material and publications on the cohort profile can be found here:

Past approved reseracher projects are listed here: 

Please visit the CLSA website to view the Data Release Timelines 

[2018-12-19 15:32] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring) [2019-03-13 10:28] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring) [2019-03-13 10:28] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring)