Statistics Canada's New Dissemination Model navigation layer

Faceted search for Statistics Canada products and articles



The goal of this project was to create a new front-end for the public to search and access data products released by Statistics Canada. Rather than building and distributing static reports, like Statistics Canada has traditionally done, the new web application would allow users to target any desired publicly available information in the Statistics Canada database and build their own dynamic report. The New Dissemination Model (NDM) needed to deliver these queries in seconds and display the report in a streamlined, user-friendly manner that is WCAG2.0 AA compliant.


The front-end application gives users the ability to search through the entire data set available through Statistics Canada. It also provides contextual local content and contextual content from other web services (i.e. key indicators related to the subject the user was viewing). For example, if a user were to filter by “health”, they would also get information about the average lifespan of Canadians. 

The primary systems architecture is comprised of two parts: a customized data storage-system, indexed in Apache Solr and a Drupal application "Navigation Layer" as the user facing front-end application.

This application is now the primary method of accessing all other Statistics Canada’s data products and releases, so there are a large number of stakeholders, who had various technical requirements that needed to be collected and upheld. We provided the lead development and architecture for the NDM Navigation Layer web application, which means coordinating various development resources who also contributed to the project. Furthermore, since this project is a front-end application that integrates with many other applications that are being developed separately, we had to interface with several other technical teams from other departments and groups.


The New Dissemination Model launched in 2018, achieving Statistics Canada's goal of offering the public their data products in a streamlined, user-friendly manner that is WCAG2.0 AA compliant. The NDM revolutionized how Statistics Canada delivered their data, making it more accessible to tens of thousands of Canadians and data scientists around the world.