In 1991, the National Task Force on Health Information cited a number of issues and problems with the health information system. To respond to these issues, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Statistics Canada and Health Canada joined forces to create a Health Information Roadmap. From this mandate, the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) was conceived. The CCHS is a cross-sectional survey that collects information related to health status, health care utilization and health determinants for the Canadian population. It relies upon a large sample of respondents and is designed to provide reliable estimates at the health region level. The CCHS has the following objectives: - Support health surveillance programs by providing health data at the national, provincial and intra-provincial levels; - Provide a single data source for health research on small populations and rare characteristics; - Timely release of information easily accessible to a diverse community of users; - Create a flexible survey instrument that includes a rapid response option to address emerging issues related to the health of the population. Prior to 2007, data collection occurred every two years on an annual period. Data are available for the 2001, 2003 and 2005 periods. In 2007, major changes were made to the survey design with the goal of improving its effectiveness and flexibility through data collection on an ongoing basis. Data collection now occurs every year, rather than every two years as was the case prior to 2007. The CCHS produces an annual microdata file and a file combining two years of data. The CCHS collection years can also be combined by users to examine populations or rare characteristics. The primary use of the CCHS data is for health surveillance and population health research. Federal and provincial departments of health and human resources, social service agencies, and other types of government agencies use the information collected from respondents to monitor, plan, implement and evaluate programs to improve the health of Canadians . Researchers from various fields use the information to conduct research to improve health. Non-profit health organizations and the media use the CCHS results to raise awareness about health, an issue of concern to all Canadians.