CLSA Overview

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is one of CIHR's Major Strategic Initiatives. Its development was championed by the Institute of Aging. The fundamental goal of this initiative is to mobilize experts in the community to generate the scientific content for a longitudinal research platform that will enable interdisciplinary, population-based research and evidence-based decision-making that will lead to better health and quality of life for Canadians.

The CLSA is a large, national, long-term study that is following approximately 50,000 Canadian men and women who were between the ages of 45 and 85 at baseline, for a period of 20 years. The study collects information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, and economic aspects of people's lives. These factors will be studied in order to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age. The CLSA is one of the most comprehensive research platforms of its kind undertaken to date, not only in Canada but around the world.

All 50,000 participants provide a core set of data on demographic and lifestyle/behaviour measures, social measures, anthropometric measures, psychological measures, socio-economic measures, and health status measures. Thirty thousand of the 50,000 (CLSA Comprehensive) participants contribute additional information on their diet, medication use, chronic diseases and sleep patterns, and have physical measurements and blood and urine samples taken at a local data collection site. The remaining 20,000 (CLSA Tracking) provide the core information set through telephone interviews. During the 20-year study, CLSA participants are followed up with every three years.

The CLSA is managed by Lead Principal Investigator Parminder Raina (McMaster University) and Co-Principal Investigators Susan Kirkland (Dalhousie University) and Christina Wolfson (McGill University). They lead a team of more than 160 co-investigators and collaborators from 26 Canadian universities, who are working together on this innovative, multidisciplinary study, including:

  • Scott Hofer (University of Victoria)
  • Teresa Liu-Ambrose (University of British Columbia)
  • Andrew Wister (Simon Fraser University)
  • David Hogan (University of Calgary)
  • Verena Menec (University of Manitoba)
  • Lauren Griffith (McMaster University)
  • Larry W. Chambers (Bruyère Continuing Care)
  • Vanessa Taler (Bruyère Continuing Care)
  • Benoît Cossette (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Gerry Mugford (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

To enable data collection and analysis, the CLSA has established the following state-of-the-art infrastructure across the country:

  • National Coordinating Centre (Hamilton, ON)
  • Biorepository and Bioanalysis Centre (Hamilton, ON)
  • Statistical Analysis Centre (Montreal, QC)
  • Genetics and Epigenetics Centre (Vancouver, BC)
  • 11 Data Collection Sites (Victoria, BC; Vancouver, BC; Surrey, BC; Calgary, AB; Winnipeg, MB; Hamilton ON; Ottawa ON; Montreal QC; Sherbrooke, QC; Halifax, NS; and St. John’s, NL)
  • 4 Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview Centres (Vancouver, BC; Winnipeg MB; Sherbrooke, QC; and Halifax, NS)
  • Information Technology Hub (Hamilton, ON)
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