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about the rapid risk factor surveillance system

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  • For each data source, information about data collection and analytical methods, limitations, the citation and additional resources can be found on the Data Sources and Methods page.

The Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) is an on-going telephone survey administered in various public health units across Ontario.


Original Source: Peel Public Health
Cite as: Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2000-2011, Peel Public Health


Data Collection Methods

  • On a monthly basis, a random sample of 100 Peel residents, aged 18 years and older, are interviewed by telephone regarding risk behaviours, knowledge, attitudes and awareness about health-related topics of importance to public health such as smoking, sun safety, use of bike helmets, and water testing in private wells.
  • The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
  • The survey content varies from year to year.
  • The Institute for Social Research (ISR) at York University conducts the survey on behalf of all RRFSS-participating health units.

NOTE: Peel Public Health has not participated in this survey since 2011. Data is available for Peel Region from 2001 to 2011.

Analytical Methods

  • 95% confidence intervals are calculated and presented within the data tables.
  • When 'Don't Know' and/or 'Refused' category responses sum to greater than 5%, they are included in the denominator calculation and presented in the data tables.
  • When 'Don't know' and/or 'Refused' category responses sum to less than 5%, they are excluded in the denominator calculation.
  • 'Don't know' responses to questions are included in tables where 'I don't know' is a valid response option.

Analysis Categories

Variable Categories For Analysis
Age Group (years)1 18-24 25-44 45-64 65+
Education2 < high school High school, some college or university College or University  
Income Level3 < $30,000 $30,000 - $49,999 $50,000 - $69,999 $70,000+

1Age group question

  1. Now some questions about you. In what year were you born?
  2. And in what month was that?
  3. If year of birth refused, what age group do you belong to?

2Education question
What is the highest level of education you have obtained?

  1. did not graduate from high school
  2. graduated from high school
  3. some post high school education
  4. college/university diploma/degree

3Income question
Could you please tell me how much income you and other members of your household received in the year ending Dec 31st, ???? (insert previous year), before taxes. Please include income from all sources such as savings, pensions, rent, as well as wages. Was the total household income from all sources;

    Less than $20,000
    $20-30,000 ($29,999)
    $30-40,000 ($39,999)
    $40-50,000 ($49,999)
    $50-60,000 ($59,999)
    $60-70,000 ($69,999)
    $70-80,000 ($79,999)
    $80-90,000 ($89,000)
    $90-100,000 ($99,999)
    $100-120,000 ($119,999)
    Don't know

Weighting and Data Release Guidelines

  • Denominators with a cell size less than 30 and numerators with a cell size of less than five (5) are not releasable and are reflected in the data tables by 'NR not releasable due to small numbers'.
  • Household weights are provided by ISR to account for the probability of an adult being selected within their household. Module questions related to a household (e.g., household emergency plans) are not weighted. Individual-level responses (e.g., support for smoking bans) are weighted using the appropriate household weight variable.


  • Depending upon the question, data may be subject to social desirability bias and errors from proxy reporting.
  • Households without a telephone would be excluded from the sampling frame.
  • In Peel, the survey is administered in English only.
  • Some analyses are limited by sample size.


  1. RRFSS Website

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