The sunshine list data as released by the Government of Ontario offers no explicit way to uniquely identify someone.
The methodology that this website has adopted for determining linkage between years is as follows. First consider two definitions:
: a record is a single line of data from the Sunshine List, ie. one individual's information for one year.
: common records are those records which are deemed to belong to the same individual. They are determined as follows:
- They must have indentical first and last names.
- They must have identical employer names.
- They must be from different years.
For cases in which there are two records in the same year with identical first names, last names and employers, these records are deemed "duplicate"
records and are excluded from all raise analyses (including the percentile analysis). For example, if there are two Jane Doe's both of whom worked at the University of Toronto in 2007, these records would be deemed duplicates. Surprisingly, there are very few duplicate records (about 1 in 900).
Despite this method of determining common records failing to account for name changes or employer changes,
it is remarkably inclusive. For instance, in 2012 there were 88,412 records and 66,018 were in common with the previous year.