University of Toronto. Data Library Service

Title: General social survey, cycle 2 - time use, social mobility, and language - 1986.

Series title: General social surveys

Principal investigator(s): Statistics Canada. Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division.

Producer: Ottawa, Ont.: Statistics Canada. Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division

Date of creation: 1989

Funding agency:



Distributor: Ottawa, Ont.: Statistics Canada. Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division for the CARL Consortium for the cycle 1-5 General Social Surveys

Date of distribution: 1990-08-14

Access conditions/restrictions: University of Toronto faculty, students and staff, for academic research and teaching purposes only. See DLI licence.

Summary: The General Social Survey (GSS) has two principal objectives: first, to gather data on social trends in order to monitor changes in Canadian society over time; and secondly, to provide information on specific policy issues of current or emerging interest. The GSS is a continuing program with a single survey cycle each year. This survey collected data on social mobility and time use of Canadians, and examined language knowledge and use. Topics include occupation, education and other characteristics of Canadians and their parents, language knowledge and use, activities over a 24-hour period, and data for each episode of time use. This cycle contains three files, the main file, time use summary file and episode file. The main file is composed of 286 variables covering general background, language and social mobility variables. The time use summary file consists of one record per respondent and summarizes the total time spent on each of 95 activities and the 10 major categories, total time spent at each location and total time spent with various persons. In addition, it contains a subset of characteristics found on the main file. The time use episode file consists of all episodes reported by respondents. Each respondent generated a variable number of records depending on the number of episodes reported. For each episode, there is information on the activity, start and end time, duration, location and an indication of who the respondent was with for that episode.

Keywords: Activities , Business , Day Care , Dwelling , Educational attainment , Entertainment , Ethnic origin , Hobbies , Housework , Income , Job search , Language , Mother tongue , Occupation , Recreation , Religion , Salaries and wages , Television viewing , Transportation , Travel

Geographic coverage: Canada, provinces

Time period:


Date(s) of collection: 1986-10-25 to 1986-12-22

Universe: Includes persons aged 15 years and older living in one of the ten provinces; excludes residents of institutions, and persons who live in the Yukon and Northwest Territories

Data type: public use microdata

Sample: multi-stage stratified sample

Unit of observation: individual

Mode of data collection: telephone or face-to-face interviews

Extent of file: 3 data files (16,390, 9,946 and 179,148 logical records) & accompanying documentation

Citation: Statistics Canada. General social survey cycle 2 : time use, social mobility, and language - 1986: main file [computer file]. Ottawa, Ont.: Statistics Canada. Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division [producer & distributor], 1989.


Related data: General social surveys


Documentation & data:


  • Where does time go? (STC Cat. no. 11-612E, no. 4)
  • Ups and downs on the ladder of success : social mobility in Canada (STC Cat. no. 11-612E, no. 5)
  • Language module/Time use module and social mobility module, initial data release; How Canadians spend their day (STC Cat. no. 11-008-XPE, Winter 1989, no. 15)
  • Household chores (STC Cat. no. 11-008-XPE, Spring 1990, no. 16)
  • Time use of the elderly (STC Cat. no. 11-008-XPE, Summer 1990, no. 17)
  • Sleep patterns (STC Cat. no. 11-008-XPE, Winter 1990, no. 19)
  • Commuting time (STC Cat. no. 11-008-XPE, Winter 1990, no. 19)
  • General social survey: bibliography [UT/DLS rev. ed. 2004-07-22]