Canadian Patient Cost Database

The Canadian Patient Cost Database (CPCD) contains patient-level cost data from more than 60 health service organizations in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta. Detailed costs are submitted to CIHI at the individual encounter level for inpatient, outpatient, long-term care, complex continuing care, mental health and rehabilitation services.

Submitting health service organizations are able to report their finances at the patient and encounter levels because they use an activity-based cost accounting methodology known in health care as patient costing or case costing. The financial data is collected based on the Standards for Management Information Systems in Canadian Health Service Organizations (MIS Standards) and the MIS Patient Costing Methodology.

Depending on the type of care received, the term “encounter” can mean different things, such as

  • An inpatient stay;
  • An emergency department, clinic or day surgery visit;
  • The length of time a resident spent in a long-term care facility (this is similar to inpatient stay, but resident stays often cross fiscal years and often include planned absences); and
  • The length of time spent in a mental health facility (this is similar to an inpatient stay).


Data is reported for more than 60 Canadian health service organizations. Organizations that submit data include the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario, Alberta Health and Wellness, and Fraser Health Authority and St. Paul’s Hospital in British Columbia. Recruitment of new costing health service organizations or jurisdictions is an ongoing priority for CIHI.

Data Elements

The variables and concepts used to capture information in the CPCD are based on the MIS Standards and its companion document, the MIS Patient Costing Methodology. These comprehensive standards are used to report management information and to create patient cost data that is ultimately submitted to the CPCD. The same standards are used by health service organizations to report their departmental-level management information to the Canadian MIS Database (CMDB) as well.


The purposes of the CPCD are to

  • Support CIHI’s mandate;
  • Collect, process and analyze Canadian patient-level cost data;
  • Support management decision-making at the facility, regional and provincial/territorial levels;
  • Support system-wide planning;
  • Support the development and use of case-mix grouping methodologies like CMG+ and indicators such as Resource Intensity Weights (RIWs);
  • Facilitate facility, regional, provincial/territorial and national comparative reporting; and
  • Support related approved analysis and research.

Data Advisory Group

The Case Mix Data Advisory Group, a subgroup of the Case Mix Advisory Group, which has representation from each organization that submits data, provides expertise related to the use and data quality of the patient cost data.

Data Quality

Through our Data Quality Enhancement Program, CIHI strives to ensure that the quality of the information in our data holdings is suited to its intended uses and that data users are provided with good information about data quality.


Data disclosure is determined by CIHI’s privacy principles and policies. A Privacy Impact Assessment has been completed for the CPCD.


Most recent year: 2010–2011

Historical series: 2004–2005 to 2009–2010

Data requests

Learn more about requesting data


Note: As this is a new and not representative data source, we recommend using the estimated average costs available in the Patient Cost Estimator (PCE). The PCE uses Resource Intensity Weights (RIWs) to estimate average costs for inpatient services; RIWs are calculated using the patient cost data, adjusting for differences across facilities to make the estimates more comparable.