2016/2017 to 2018/2019
- Chief Statistician's message
- Organizational context
- From strategy to action: planned activities over the next three years
- Efficiency, robustness and responsiveness
- Managing respondent burden
- Innovative, motivated and professional workforce
- Planned spending
- The last word
- Annex A: Consultation with users and other stakeholders
- Annex B: Organizational contact information
Chief Statistician's message
Access to objective, high-quality official statistics is a fundamental requirement for an open, market economy and a democratic society. As Chief Statistician, my goal is to provide timely and high-quality information that responds to the highest-priority information needs of Canadians.
Fiscal year 2015/2016 has been a year of substantial accomplishments, including the final preparations for the 2016 Census of Population and Census of Agriculture (with a reinstated mandatory long-form questionnaire); the readying of the Integrated Collection and Operation System for use in collection operations in the 2016 Census Program and in all other business and household surveys; the release of results from the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey and from the Canadian Income Survey; the release of revised historical income estimates; and, in November, the holding of a second Big Ideas Conference—this time celebrating grassroots innovative ideas around the theme of local area data.
Over the next three fiscal years, the priorities of Statistics Canada continue to be:
- delivering the ongoing statistical program in conformity with Statistics Canada's Quality Assurance Framework;
- responding to the emerging and evolving information needs of data users and stakeholders;
- operating a responsive program that effectively satisfies ad hoc statistical requests on a cost-recovery basis; and
- enhancing the efficiency, responsiveness and robustness of the Agency's operations.
The Agency will conduct the 2016 Census of Population and Census of Agriculture; introduce new surveys to meet data gaps, notably a pilot survey in the area of children's health; redesign several current surveys to ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness; and increase the use of administrative data to replace or complement survey data where appropriate. As well, Statistics Canada will respond to the priorities outlined by the new government, including restoring the mandatory long-form census, updating legislation governing Statistics Canada to reinforce the institution's independence, and improving the quality of publicly available data in Canada.
The new government in its first budget stressed the importance of quality data:
Good policy is impossible without good data. If we are to lift children out of poverty, we must first understand the cause. If we are to provide quality health care for seniors, we must know how many seniors there are and what services they need. If we want to protect minority languages, we need to know where they are spoken. Literally nothing that governments do can be done well without good data. That's why, led by my colleague the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, our government wasted no time in bringing back the long-form census.
And we're going to do more. Too often, when we ask for the evidence needed to make informed decisions, we find it just doesn't exist. For example, we know that many Canadians, particularly British Columbians, are concerned about the effect of foreign ownership in the housing market. Unfortunately, the problem isn't fully understood. More information is needed. To fill this data gap, and so many others like it, we will support Statistics Canada so that it can improve our understanding of important problems and help us all make better decisions.
Under Budget 2016, Statistics Canada received funding for extended financial and wealth statistics and data on the clean technology sector. These budget items are described in more detail later in this document.
This is a very exciting and challenging time for Statistics Canada, and I believe this Corporate Business Plan, describing plans for the next three fiscal years, demonstrates the Agency's commitment to exploiting emerging opportunities with imagination and energy in order to deliver the greatest possible value to Canadians.
Wayne R. Smith
Chief Statistician of Canada
Statistics Canada was established to ensure that Canadians have access to a trusted source of statistics on Canada to meet their highest-priority needs.
The Agency's mandate derives primarily from the Statistics Act. The Act requires that Statistics Canada collect, compile, analyze and publish statistical information on the economic, social, and general conditions of the country and its people. It also requires that Statistics Canada conduct a census of population and a census of agriculture every fifth year, and that the Agency protect the confidentiality of the information with which it is entrusted.
Serving Canada with high-quality statistical information that matters.
Statistics Canada is committed to ensuring the relevance of its statistical programs to meet the highest-priority information needs of Canadians, while also ensuring that its information is accessible, that it is of appropriate quality for the uses to which it is put, that respondent burden is kept to a minimum, and that the Agency's business processes and systems are efficient, robust and responsive. The key ingredient in meeting this commitment has always been, and will always be, an innovative, motivated, representative, and professional workforce deployed in a strong and supportive corporate environment.
History and mandate
At the time of Confederation in 1867, the Constitution Act, 1867 (then the British North America Act, 1867) assigned responsibility for the “Census and Statistics” to the federal government. After many years of relying primarily on periodic censuses and highly decentralized ad hoc statistics collected by federal departments, the federal government adopted the Statistics Act of 1918. The Act established a highly centralized statistical system led by a new Dominion Bureau of Statistics. In the wake of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War, Canada, in concert with other western powers, and based on internationally established standards, significantly expanded its statistical system, adding macroeconomic measures of gross domestic product, international payments, employment and unemployment, and inflation to more traditional official statistics. The frequency of the national population and agriculture censuses was also increased to every five years from every ten. The Dominion Bureau of Statistics was renamed Statistics Canada in 1971. Canada's national statistical system is widely envied.
Today, Statistics Canada, under the current Statistics Act, has a broad mandate to collect, compile, analyze and publish statistical information on all dimensions of Canada's economy, society and environment. The Agency is charged with leading the national statistical system, working collaboratively with other federal departments and other levels of government to avoid duplication of effort and promote coherence of statistical information. The Agency is specifically required to conduct censuses of population and agriculture every five years. Under the Corporations Returns Act, Statistics Canada is also required to collect, analyze and publish information on the extent of foreign ownership and control of Canadian enterprises, with a report on this topic being provided to Parliament every year.
To accomplish these missions, Statistics Canada is given authority under its legislation to collect information from individuals, businesses and other organizations through surveys, on either a mandatory or voluntary basis, as required, to obtain the necessary degree of data quality (censuses are mandatory under the Statistics Act). The Agency is also empowered to obtain administrative data in the hands of businesses, governments or other organizations to be used for statistical purposes.
Statistics Canada is also required to ensure that information in its care is used strictly for statistical purposes, and that information pertaining to individual Canadians or organizations is never disclosed without their consent except as provided in the Statistics Act.
Success in its mission requires that Statistics Canada enjoy the complete trust of Canadians and their institutions. To this end, Statistics Canada and its employees are committed to achieving the highest levels of professionalism in carrying out its work, to strict objectivity in its analyses and interpretation of data, to equality of access by all Canadians to all data produced by Statistics Canada, to maintaining the highest standards of quality, and to protecting the confidentiality of information entrusted to its care.
And, of course, Statistics Canada could accomplish nothing without the cooperation of the thousands of households, businesses and other organizations that respond to its surveys every year. The Agency extends its sincerest thanks to its survey respondents.
Developed, democratic countries such as Canada require vast amounts of information to function effectively. There are many providers of this information, and the national statistical office, while by far and away the largest, is but one among many: private firms provide opinion and market research; stock exchanges provide stock price indices; real-estate associations provide average house resale prices; and the list goes on. National statistical offices provide objective official measures of the state and development of the economy, the society and the environment. They are a critical part of the democratic process, providing citizens with a continuous report on the state of the nation. Like other national statistical offices, Statistics Canada works collaboratively with other data producers to create a national statistical system that meets the needs of Canadians.
Statistics Canada, within the resources allocated to it, seeks to align its statistical and analytical programs with the highest-priority information needs of the nation. These needs evolve constantly. Some of the key strategies that the Agency employs to achieve this goal are:
- engaging with data users and other stakeholders to better understand their evolving data needs and to ground the Agency's statistics in a genuine understanding of the phenomena being measured (see Annex A for an overview of the Agency's consultative mechanisms);
- increasing efficiency in administrative operations in order to direct a larger share of available resources to statistical programs;
- redirecting resources to emerging data needs that are growing in relative priority to better respond to changing national priorities;
- increasing the use of alternative information sources, including administrative data, to displace and complement survey data and thereby better respond to emerging priorities;
- offering a cost-effective, user-pay service for the conduct of large-scale survey and other statistical programs on behalf of other public and private institutions while ensuring that the resulting information is made available to all; and
- developing and using state-of-the-art techniques for extracting maximum value from existing datasets such as microdata simulation and small area estimation.
Data not used to their fullest possible potential represent a failure of relevance. Increasingly, modern policy research requires access not only to aggregated statistics but also to data at the level of the individual business, household or person. Statistics Canada is committed to removing obstacles to access while preserving the privacy and confidentiality of respondents. Some of the key strategies that are being employed include:
- maintaining an active partnership with the news media to promote broad coverage of new information releases by Statistics Canada;
- making available from every program an appropriate suite of standard products meeting the needs of the majority of users;
- offering all standard products free of charge to data users through the Agency's website;
- encouraging re-dissemination of Statistics Canada data and analysis under an open-data licence that requires no payment of fees;
- developing tools to allow users to automate the retrieval and display of data from Statistics Canada without charge;
- making use of social media to better inform data users and other stakeholders about developments in Statistics Canada's program and to help them build the capacity to use official statistics effectively;
- meeting more specialized needs through custom tabulations, as well as other custom services provided at cost;
- working in partnership with researchers to exploit statistical microdata through public-use microdata files, controlled access to a nation-wide network of research data centres, and collaborative research programs;
- developing tools to allow for secure remote-user access for microdata tabulation; and
- sharing analytical tools developed by Statistics Canada to permit their further development and broader use.
Through these strategies, Statistics Canada believes it will meet its goal of providing ready access to official statistics and analysis that respond to the ever-evolving priority information needs of Canadians and their institutions.
For Statistics Canada, the pursuit of quality is not a question of achieving arbitrarily high standards, whatever the cost, but rather of ensuring that the standard achieved is appropriate given the intended uses of the information.
Statistics Canada has a strong reputation of providing quality information that is fit for purpose. This reputation for quality is a hallmark of the Agency both domestically and internationally, and something the Agency is absolutely committed to preserving. Some key strategies being employed are:
- pursuing all opportunities to accelerate the availability of statistical information after the reference period to which it refers, without compromising fitness for use;
- working with international organizations and other national statistical offices to develop standards for key statistical measures (economic accounts, labour force characteristics, price indices, environmental accounts, etc.) and internationally coherent classifications of industries, occupations and other characteristics;
- applying consistently and in a timely manner, throughout all of the Agency's programs, updates of internationally adopted classifications and standards;
- maintaining comprehensive, current, accurate registers of businesses, farms, institutions, persons and dwellings to ensure proper coverage of samples drawn for business and household surveys;
- periodically redesigning all statistical programs and re-stratifying samples in order to ensure that estimates remain robust;
- researching, developing and implementing survey methods to minimize bias in estimates;
- regularly assessing and mitigating the management of risks to quality in statistical programs and survey processes;
- providing users with all information necessary for the interpretation and use of statistical data, with full transparency about the accuracy of estimates produced; and
- maintaining a state-of-the-art capacity in statistical methodology to support continuous, cost-effective improvement to the Agency's methods and standards.
Quality, including relevance, is the essential underpinning of a successful national statistical office.
Efficiency, robustness and responsiveness
While taking into consideration the need to maintain the highest standards of quality, Statistics Canada is also expected to provide the largest possible output of statistical information and analyses from the financial resources entrusted to it by Canadians. In its ongoing pursuit of efficiency, the Agency has instituted a permanent review of its business architecture (organizational structure, business processes and computer systems) to implement the following key strategies:
- establishing single corporate service areas for statistical services such as collection, coding and classification, data capture, survey frame maintenance and telephone and e-mail inquiry services in order to generate and capture economies of scale;
- consolidating computer applications to reduce effort required for their development and maintenance;
- reducing the software tool kit employed in systems development and analysis to reduce acquisition and training costs and facilitate staff mobility;
- deploying more cost-effective electronic methods of data collection;
- adopting a common corporate project management framework to improve cost and schedule estimation, reporting and delivery of planned results;
- improving planning and budgeting processes and extending the planning horizon to ten years; and
- collaborating with other national statistical offices in the development and sharing of common tools.
By “robustness,” Statistics Canada means minimal risk of program error or failure due to defects in the design or maintenance of its business processes or systems, or the informatics infrastructure on which it depends. “Responsiveness” refers to the ability to mount new programs quickly and deliver quality results in useful time frames for decision makers.
Many of the strategies described above for increasing efficiency also serve to increase robustness and responsiveness. Moving to a smaller number of corporately managed business processes and systems means better testing, design, coherence and documentation, all of which significantly enhance robustness. Generalizing business processes and systems means there is no need to build new systems or processes to support a new statistical program, which improves responsiveness.
The Agency's core strategy for ensuring robustness is the development of a ten-year investment plan that identifies all investments required to ensure both the quality and continuity of all programs, along with their timing, duration and estimated cost by fiscal year. Making these investments is a high planning priority, second only to transformational investments in business architecture that enhance efficiency. A rigorous multi-year planning framework ensures the allocation of resources to these vital investments with optimal efficiency.
Managing respondent burden
National statistical offices consume two principal scarce resources in their production processes. Financial resources are important, but equally important is the willingness of Canadians, Canadian businesses and other institutions to provide data through surveys and administrative records.
Canadians and Canadian institutions, while recognizing the value of official statistics, expect Statistics Canada to manage the burden the Agency places on them. When Canadians are asked to respond to a survey, they expect Statistics Canada to make the process as convenient as possible and to secure their personal information from unauthorized access by others. The major strategies being pursued by Statistics Canada to meet these expectations are:
- increasing use of administrative data, such as income tax records, employment insurance records, health records, and birth registrations, to replace survey data where appropriate;
- working with federal departments and agencies to modify administrative information collections to increase their utility for statistical purposes;
- providing suppliers of administrative data with a secure and user-friendly electronic transmission option through the Internet;
- providing survey respondents with a secure and user-friendly electronic response option through the Internet; and
- specifically, for business survey respondents, further reducing response burden by implementing commitments outlined in the government's Red Tape Reduction Action Plan.
Statistics Canada has a strong reputation for managing respondent burden. Any new initiatives are, therefore, building on an initial position of considerable strength.
Innovative, motivated and professional workforce
A strong focus on its workforce is another hallmark of Statistics Canada. The Agency has, over the years, received multiple awards for its strengths as an employer. Employees have responded by building an internationally recognized—in many respects world-leading—statistical program. Maintaining this strong engagement and corporate culture is the key to future success. This will continue to be a key priority going forward.
The main strategies being employed to achieve this objective are:
- maintaining strong recruitment, professional development and career development programs in all core professional groups involved in the business of official statistics (mathematical statisticians, economists, social scientists, and computer analysts and programmers);
- professionalizing support functions (communications, collection, classification and coding, etc.) by allowing those performing these functions to have greater control over how their work objectives are accomplished and by automating routine work, leaving more time for value-added tasks;
- maintaining human resource programs that build a positive, exciting and healthy workplace;
- developing and maintaining training and learning programs adapted to the needs of statistical agency employees;
- participating actively, nationally and internationally, in professional communities engaged in official statistics; and
- introducing programs to stimulate creativity and innovation, particularly at the “grass roots” level.
From strategy to action: planned activities over the next three years
Statistics Canada has framed a number of initiatives to implement the strategies that were previously outlined in the pursuit of relevance, accessibility, quality and efficiency. In the following pages, major initiatives over the period 2016/2017 to 2018/2019 are presented. The initiatives are categorized by strategy—although it is recognized that a number of them span more than one strategy.
First, however, there are several new federal government initiatives that are particularly important for the future of Statistics Canada. In addition, there are several items from Budget 2016 that will be described in some detail.
New federal government initiatives
A new federal government was elected in Canada in October 2015. The mandate letter from the new Prime Minister to the new Minister responsible for Statistics Canada outlined three priorities:
- Restore the long-form census.
- Update legislation governing Statistics Canada to reinforce the institution's independence.
- Improve the quality of publicly available data in Canada. This will require working with Statistics Canada, the President of the Treasury Board and other departments and agencies to develop an Open Data initiative that would consider big data and make more of the data paid for by Canadians available to the public.
In response to the first priority, the mandatory long-form census has been restored for the 2016 Census of Population Program. All of the changes required to implement the Government's decision have been successfully implemented: instruction letters have been printed, electronic questionnaires have been updated, and collection and processing systems have been adjusted.
In response to the second and third priorities, the Agency will bring forward proposals for the consideration of the government to reinforce in law and fact the independence of Statistics Canada in the conduct of its operations. It will also make proposals to modernize the statistical system to facilitate access to statistical data from all federal sources, to ensure that access to data is equitable and free, and to promote the widest possible use of statistical data to the benefit of Canadians.
Improving financial and wealth statistics
In 2008, the financial crisis highlighted the need for an enhanced set of financial and wealth statistics to better monitor the financial system and the linkages between the financial system and the real economy as well as the financial interconnectedness across economies. Over the last few years, domestic policy makers and the international community have agreed upon the set of statistics required for effective monitoring. This includes information on international financial exposures, housing statistics such as housing prices and ownership, and financial interconnectedness (i.e., who holds what with whom).
As part of Budget 2016, the Government of Canada announced funding of $13.5 million over five years to enhance the quality and timeliness of economic and financial data to support domestic and international financial stability. This will allow Canada to meet the International Monetary Fund's Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus.
Over the next five years, Statistics Canada will enhance its existing programs by creating four new data products on financial and wealth statistics that will provide data on financial linkages, risk and exposure:
- A residential real-estate price index that tracks the evolution of housing prices. Currently Statistics Canada publishes a new housing price index. This index only tracks the evolution of new single dwelling homes, whereas the new index will also track condos and existing homes. It will provide a much better indicator of overall housing price inflation.
- A new set of financial account tables that record assets and liabilities on a “from whom–to whom” basis. This is best illustrated using an example. Currently, the financial account of the household sector records the pension assets of the household sector. The new set of tables will indicate with whom they hold these assets—foreign entities, mutual funds, life insurance companies, etc.
- A new set of tables that show the level of portfolio investment Canadians hold abroad by country and by instrument on a quarterly basis. For example, these tables will measure the portfolio investment of Canada in China by instrument on a quarterly basis. Currently, this information is available on an aggregated basis and is quite dated. This new product will provide more detail, will provide quarterly rather than annual statistics, and will be available on a timelier basis.
- A set of additional tables that will provide information on the securities holdings or issues of/by Canadians. This new product will provide information by sector, by country, by currency and by maturity. For example, it will be possible to examine the bonds issued by Canadian non-financial corporations and the currency with which they were issued. This will provide additional insight into the financial risk these firms may be exposed to as currencies fluctuate.
Improving data on the clean technology sector
As part of Budget 2016, the Government of Canada announced funding of $2.1 million to enhance clean technology data. Enhanced data is required to support efforts to monitor the contributions of the clean technology sector to the Canadian economy. This initiative will supplement prior investments made by Statistics Canada to improve programs in these areas, including securing access to a number of relevant administrative databases, the development of centralized systems and processes, and investments in both the energy and environment statistics programs.
Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada are currently working to develop a common definition of clean technology goods and services. This lack of core concepts and a statistical framework means that there are no clean technology statistics that adequately support the development of clean technology and environmental policy.
The funding allocated in Budget 2016 will be provided over two years to Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Statistics Canada is working with Natural Resources Canada to address emerging data needs in clean technology. To address the data needs, Statistics Canada will:
- Develop a clean technology economic (satellite) account. This product will provide, for the first time, an estimate of the clean technology sector's overall contribution to the Canadian economy. This set of accounts will be the first of its kind and will provide Canadian policy makers with strategic information to monitor and promote investment in this increasingly important sector.
- Redesign the Survey of Environmental Goods and Services to increase the coverage of the clean technology sector, add employment data and geographic detail.
These initiatives will result in a statistical framework that provides regularly published information on the clean technology sector's contribution to the Canadian economy.
Data on purchases of homes in Canada by foreign buyers
Households rely on housing market data to make informed decisions in buying and selling their homes, while governments depend on data to design effective housing policies. To fully understand the role of foreign homebuyers in Canada's housing market, a comprehensive and reliable dataset on the number of homes sold to foreign homebuyers is needed.
Budget 2016 allocated $500,000 to Statistics Canada in 2016/2017 to investigate and develop an options analysis for gathering data on purchases of Canadian housing by foreign homebuyers, in consultation with the Department of Finance and in collaboration with the provinces. The options analysis will be used to develop a proposal for Budget 2017 to collect ongoing information on foreign ownership of residential real estate.
While some information on housing in Canada exists at the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal levels, no information is collected in a systematic manner on foreign home ownership. An options analysis study will provide a summary of the existing domestic and international measurement studies, clarify concepts and definitions of foreign ownership to be measured, identify potential data sources, and consider the cost of different methods to proceed.
The Statistics Canada team will be collaborating with the provinces to determine the options to collect this data.
2016 Census Program
In 2016/2017, collection will take place for both the 2016 Census of Population Program and the 2016 Census of Agriculture.
Census of Population Program
For the 2016 Census of Population Program, the mandatory long-form census has been reinstated.
In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will scale up the processes and infrastructure required to conduct the Census of Population Program, and disseminate population and dwelling counts. The Census of Population, along with the Population Estimates Program, produces population counts and estimates that are needed to determine electoral boundaries; the distribution of federal transfer payments; and the transfer and allocation of funds among regional and municipal governments, school boards, and other local agencies in provinces and territories.
The Agency will complete the recruitment and training of approximately 35,000 field and processing staff, implement a public communications program, complete collection operations and process questionnaire returns, and begin coverage studies.
For the first time, census collection operations will be conducted using a fully-integrated corporate web-based system that has been developed to meet all of the Agency's collection requirements. The web-based system is designed to support the Internet as the primary response mode (an Internet response of 65% is expected in 2016) and will be used to monitor field collection operations.
The Integrated Communications Strategy will use proactive social marketing practices to develop and deliver messages to encourage all Canadians to self-enumerate. The strategy will leverage a multi-mode approach and deploy behavioural economics approaches to target populations that have proven more difficult to enumerate in the past. This will help keep the number of households requiring follow-up by enumerators—by far the most expensive collection activity—as low as possible.
Census results will begin being released in February 2017, with the dissemination of the population and dwelling counts.
In 2017/2018, the Agency will complete the dissemination of results for the 2016 Census of Population Program, producing social and economic information used by communities, businesses and all levels of government to plan services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, roads and public transportation, and skills training for employment. All census data will be published by the end of 2017, ten months earlier than for the 2011 Census.
As well, the Agency will undertake coverage studies, with final estimates of coverage error to be released in September 2018. Coverage errors occur when dwellings or individuals are missed, incorrectly included or counted more than once during the census collection period of the 2016 Census of Population. Estimates of coverage error are an important element in evaluating the Census of Population and an essential input to Statistics Canada's population estimates program. These coverage results supplement census data, which are used to produce population estimates, which in turn are used in transfer programs and to improve the efficiency and quality of other social and household surveys.
In addition, and as part of the ‘Beyond 2016’ project, Statistics Canada will continue to explore the expanded use of administrative data sources in the Census Program, including the use of income tax and benefit files in the 2016 Census of Population, to replace the detailed income questions traditionally asked in the long form.
In fact, work has already begun through the ‘Beyond 2016’ project towards implementing a new model for the Census of Population Program by 2026 primarily based on administrative data sources. In concrete terms, the information on the main demographic variables currently collected via questionnaire would, in the 2026 Census of Population, come from a virtual population register. In addition, in combination with this register, work will be done to improve coverage of the address registers for all areas of Canada. This vision for the future of the Program maximizes the value of government data. Because of the importance of the Census of Population in the statistical system, it could also be used to drive improvements in the quality of available administrative data sources.
Meanwhile, in terms of preparations for the 2021 program, consultations with users will take place in 2017 to assess content for the upcoming program. Qualitative testing of content will begin in 2018, leading to a content test in 2019. Interim funding will be sought for fiscal years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 to plan, design, develop and test systems and processes before 2021, and to maintain essential infrastructure. Starting in 2018, Statistics Canada will conduct a series of live tests to validate key planning assumptions, processes and systems. Based on the results of these tests, options regarding the size and scope of the 2021 program will be developed.
Census of Agriculture
In 2016/2017, the Agency will complete collection for complex farms and special universes; execute wave-based census letter and questionnaire delivery for standard farms; conduct follow-up with non-respondents and with those whose responses were insufficient.
In 2017/2018, the Agency will release all 2016 farm and farm operator data as well as an estimate of net under-coverage, historical data series, and various reference and analytical products. In addition, preparations for the 2021 cycle will begin. Specifically, this will involve conducting content consultations with users to determine data needs, initiating content and questionnaire tests, developing system architecture, and preparing specifications for systems and processes.
Aboriginal Peoples Survey
The 2017 cycle of the Aboriginal Peoples Survey is underway, marking the fifth generation of this survey conducted since 1991. Collection is scheduled to take place between February and June 2017 on the theme of Aboriginal Participation in the Canadian Economy. The survey is sponsored by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Health Canada. As part of the survey, there will a large oversample in Nunavut to capture additional information for beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in the context of the Nunavut Inuit Labour Force Analysis project. The data will be released in the fall of 2018.
Canadian Survey on Disability
The 2017 cycle of the Canadian Survey on Disability is also underway. It will follow the same schedule as the Aboriginal Peoples Survey, with collection taking place between February and June 2017. Collection will involve an e-questionnaire strategy, in combination with computer-assisted telephone interviewing. This represents a significant step forward in making it easier for persons with a hearing disability to participate. As well, the filter and screening questions have been improved to better capture non-physical disabilities among the Canadian population. Results will be released in 2018/2019.
Framework for data on population aging and seniors
Decision makers are paying increasing attention to the demographic changes occurring in Canada that have a significant impact on public policies, programs and finances. As a result, the demand for detailed statistical data and analyses on specific demographic issues, primarily on an aging population and seniors, has substantially increased over the last few years. The Agency carried out an exercise to identify current and emerging issues and related data gaps on the theme of population aging and seniors. This included a review of related international and national frameworks, and the data and analyses produced recently by Statistics Canada, and consultation with federal departments, provincial/territorial focal points and other users. Seven broad “information pillars” were identified:
- population and demography
- health and well-being
- family, community-based and institutional care
- social participation
- income, wages and wealth
- enabling environment and housing
In the past year, an overall assessment of the data availability supporting these seven information pillars was undertaken, which led to a set of recommended actions to enable Statistics Canada to maintain relevance for population aging.
In 2016/2017, efforts will be concentrated on defining a standard set of age groupings above 65 years of age to better reflect information needs on seniors. Consultations with experts will also be carried out to identify a set of key data indicators for public dissemination, and the research agenda will continue to evolve to answer specific and emerging policy-relevant questions. In 2017/2018 and in 2018/2019, Statistics Canada will update the key indicators reflecting the seven pillars; and further research will be disseminated addressing specific policy-relevant questions.
Global climate change and cumulative impacts on ecosystem health and biodiversity continue to be major discussion points in the public domain. In addition, with the adoption by the United Nations of a set of sustainable development goals, measures related to the environment are becoming increasingly important. Two new ecosystem accounts have begun to produce regular statistics. The first tracks changes in land use and land cover by monitoring the amount of natural land cover being converted into settlements. The second provides annual updates on the stocks of renewable freshwater resources, based on measurements of unregulated flows of freshwater (such as rivers and streams).
In 2016/2017, the Agency will use the new ecosystem account on renewable freshwater stocks, as well as data from existing water-use surveys, to produce an indicator of water supply and demand. The 2016 edition of Human Activity and the Environment will highlight the results from the new renewable freshwater account, where results will be provided by drainage region. In 2017/2018, the Agency will continue to produce annual land cover/land use change statistics and renewable water stock statistics.
Statistics Canada's physical flow accounts for greenhouse gas emissions provide data for a comprehensive range of industries, and allow for the allocation of these emissions to final demand categories, such as households and exports. These statistics are currently available only at the national level. Given the important contribution of provinces to climate change mitigation policies, the Agency will be developing a pilot study to examine the possibility of creating provincial detail in the physical flow accounts for both energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Statistics Canada will work with Natural Resources Canada to redesign the current approach to collecting statistics on the clean technology sector in Canada. This redesign will provide a more comprehensive view of the economic contribution of this sector, including, potentially, province-level estimates of both revenue and employment.
Financial and wealth statistics
In addition to the activities described above in “Budget items”, Statistics Canada will carry on its development of an annual set of tables that will provide estimates of the distribution of household wealth across a number of different household dimensions. These tables will be an important input into measures of well-being and in the development of monetary and financial policy.
As well, the next iteration of the Survey of Financial Security will take place in the fall of 2016. This survey collects information on the assets and debts of families and individuals in Canada. Henceforth, it will be conducted on an ongoing basis every three years. Fiscal year 2016/2017 will include collection application testing, interviewer training, collection and processing of survey data. In 2017/2018, processing will be complete, and analysis and dissemination will take place, together with the creation of a public use microdata file and an analytical file for the research data centres. In 2018/2019, preparation for the next iteration of this survey will begin with content review and user consultation; questionnaire design, development and testing; production of survey specifications; and computer-assisted interviewing application development.
Energy statistics program expansion
In Canada, the production and export of energy products is an important component of the economy. Consultations with key stakeholders, together with Statistics Canada's own observations, have shown that there are a number of key gaps in energy statistics. In 2016/2017, work will continue on the development of a strategic plan to identify data gaps for the oil, natural gas, electricity and coal sectors and products; and, in 2017/2018, content changes will be made to address these gaps. In addition, the Agency will continue to support and expand partnerships with federal and provincial departments, regulators and international governments and agencies to share information, best practices and common goals, as well as sources of energy information, including examining expanded use of alternative data sources.
Globalization and economic statistics
There is a strong and growing interest in Canada to better understand the impacts of globalization and business behaviour in the increasingly competitive and global business environment. Statistical programs must be adapted to address these important policy questions, as well as statistical measures developed and integrated into the statistical system. Work began in 2015 and will continue in 2016/2017 on a pilot project assessing the incidence of global value chains by surveying a small population of large and medium-sized enterprises on their involvement in merchanting, goods sent for processing and inventories held abroad. In addition, the Agency will continue to expand the time series and dimensions of its statistics on foreign affiliates to include research and development and value added.
The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) is a database that integrates immigration and taxation records. The database is managed by Statistics Canada on behalf of a federal–provincial consortium led by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The IMDB was created to respond to the need for detailed and reliable data on the performance and impact of the immigration program. It allows for the analysis of relative labour market behaviour of different categories of immigrants over a period long enough to assess the impact of immigrant characteristics, such as education and knowledge of French or English, to their settlement success. It also allows the measurement and analysis of secondary interprovincial and interurban migration.
In 2015/2016, immigration data from 1952 to 1979 and temporary resident data was integrated into the IMDB. This broadened coverage to include immigrants who landed in Canada since 1952 and allows analysis of pre-landing experience in Canada (e.g., study or work permits). In 2016/2017, the 2014 IMDB (including temporary residents and immigrants from 1952) will be produced and disseminated. Tables will provide more detail than the CANSIM tables of past years. Updated versions of the IMDB will be produced and disseminated in each of 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.
A cost-recovery project funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was initiated to add the immigrant admission category (e.g., economic class, family class, refugees) and principal applicant status data to the 2016 Census of Population long form. This project will permit detailed analysis of the socio-economic outcomes of immigrants to Canada by admission category. Complementing the IMDB, it will cover remaining data gaps such as social, education and labour outcomes. In 2016/2017, the edit and imputation processes will be tested and finalized, and in 2017/2018, results will be disseminated to the general public.
The Job Vacancy and Wage Survey is conducted on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada. The job vacancy component of the survey has been producing quarterly estimates of job vacancies since the first release in the summer of 2015. The collection of the wage component started in January 2016, and release is planned for late 2016. The first full dataset of annual wage data will be released in the spring of 2017.
Statistics Canada is working to address an important data gap in the area of health and well-being of Canadian children and youth, and the factors influencing their physical and mental health. In 2016/2017, the Agency will conduct a pilot version of the Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth. Funding partnerships will continue to be explored in 2016/2017 to finance the main survey. In 2017/2018, data from the pilot will be processed, certified and analyzed to produce national estimates on certain key indicators, and lessons learned from the pilot will be applied to the development of the main survey. In 2018/2019, changes to survey content and the questionnaire will be implemented in preparation for the main survey in 2019/2020, dependent on full financing.
Collection for the Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition began in January 2015. The survey will provide a detailed and up-to-date picture of what people are eating and what vitamins and minerals they take, as well as the impact of these habits on their health and well-being. There will also be an evaluation of changes in food consumption, nutrition and health since 2004—the year this survey was last undertaken. Collection of the survey ended in December 2015. Results are scheduled to be released in March 2017.
In the Education Statistics Program, pilot projects were conducted in 2015/2016 to derive student pathways and labour-market outcomes for postsecondary graduates (working with specific provincial ministries of education), through the use of tax data. In 2016/2017, analysis will be conducted, reports will be provided to the participating provinces, and data will be prepared for release in early 2017. In 2017/2018, the provincial coverage of these data will be expanded.
To understand the extent of the re-contact of individuals with the Canadian criminal justice system and their pathways through it, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics is analyzing administrative data from police, courts and corrections facilities. These data will be integrated with other sources under the Social Data Linkage Environment to help evaluate the socio-demographic characteristics of people who had come into contact with the justice system. In 2016/2017, the Agency will study new jurisdictions and will produce a set of standardized indicators and products on the topic of re-contact by 2017/2018.
Collaborative work has been underway on a pilot police performance-metrics project. In 2015/2016, a feasibility study was launched to examine opportunities and challenges in collecting national-level calls for service data. In 2016/2017, key indicators of police performance will be identified, and a framework will be developed for police performance metrics. In 2017/2018, pending funding, systems will be built to extract and collect police calls data.
Statistics Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, will be collecting, for the first time, national fire incident and loss data. Data from the new National Fire Information Database will assist fire services in making timely and critical operational decisions, help guide policy and prevention measures in the development of appropriate and efficient methods of fire response, and help promote community safety through greater public awareness about the dangers of fire. In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will aggregate, map and model ten years of provincial and territorial fire data, leading to the first national-level analysis of fire incidents in Canada.
Over the course of the next two years, the Agency will be redesigning various justice-related surveys to improve their relevance and to meet new priorities in the area of policing and the administration of justice (the Integrated Criminal Court Survey, the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, the Police Administration Survey, the Homicide Survey, the Transition Home Survey, the Integrated Correctional Services Survey, and the Legal Aid Survey).
General Social Survey
In 2016/2017, the Agency will collect information through the General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians at Work and at Home which will include topics such as job satisfaction, workload, work ethics, home life, family time, leisure and relaxation activities. Collection will take place from August to December 2016. The survey will use multi-mode collection, and will implement a new collection strategy that will invite households to complete the survey online through a letter of invitation, rather than through an offer from an interviewer.
Specific activities for the GSS include:
- GSS on Canadians at Work and at Home: Processing will be completed and the analytical file will be released in late 2017. This will be accompanied by an analytical report summarizing the main findings as well as provincial-level CANSIM tables. It is also anticipated that the data will be integrated with the Longitudinal Immigration Database to enable more in-depth analysis by type of immigrant. The public-use microdata file will be released in the fall of 2018.
- GSS on Families: Collection will begin in March 2017 and be completed in the fall of 2017. The survey will collect information on conjugal history, fertility history, childcare and child custody. The data will be released in the spring of 2018, accompanied by a report summarizing the key findings and by provincial-level CANSIM tables.
- GSS on Caregiving and Care Receiving: Collection will be done using the Integrated Collection and Operation Systems (ICOS) and will start in early 2018.
- GSS on Giving, Volunteering and Participating: Collection will occur between April and December 2018.
- GSS on Social Identity: Development will begin in 2018/2019.
- GSS on Time Use: Collection and processing will take place in 2016, with the results being released in the winter of 2017. The results will be accompanied by an analytical report and by CANSIM tables that focus on unpaid work. The public-use microdata file will be released in the fall of 2017.
- GSS on Victimization: The public-use microdata for the most recent iteration of this survey will be released in the summer of 2016, and development work for the next iteration will begin in 2017. Collection will take place in both the provinces and the territories, with plans to prepare one collection application within ICOS. Collection will begin in January 2019.
Monthly volume indicators and monthly e-commerce information
Statistics Canada publishes monthly volume indicators of manufacturing, and wholesale at the Canada/all-industry level. In 2016/2017, the Agency will begin disseminating volume indicators at a more detailed industry level. In 2016/2017, the Agency will also begin disseminating information from an electronic commerce (e-commerce) question added to the Monthly Retail Trade Survey in 2014.
The Analysis of Socio-economic Statistics Program will continue to conduct a range of statistical analyses, with a focus on documenting ongoing changes in the Canadian labour force, including trades and apprentices; changing skills and occupational requirements; immigrant outcomes; and local labour markets. Statistics Canada will use data integration to improve the development and analysis of large cohorts for studying the impacts of the environment on health outcomes, such as cancer, mortality and hospitalization, and the impacts of health shocks on labour market outcomes.
In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will publish new measures of hiring and layoff rates in economic regions, earnings trajectories of apprentices relative to other groups, and earnings of individuals whose spouse is diagnosed with cancer. The Agency will also publish measured levels of activity and sedentary time for young children. Data will also be developed on health and the environment to enrich information on health cohorts with long-term exposure, and the transition to the institutional care model will be analyzed. In 2017/2018, the Agency will publish new measures of pension coverage and job quality in economic regions and provide documentation for new data on the economic impacts of disease. In 2018/2019, the Agency will publish research highlighting the impact of heart attacks, strokes and other health events on individual and family finances.
Within the Analysis of Economic Statistics Program, improving the measurement of productivity, as well as better understanding the evolution of productivity in Canada, and the interdependencies of economies within and between countries will continue to be a priority in 2016/2017. Measures of environmentally-adjusted multifactor productivity that take into account the relationship between production and the consequences of production, such as pollution, will be developed. The creation of extended supply-use tables for Canada that are integrated with tables from key economic partners will enable analysis on the increasing interdependencies and diffusion of productivity growth between economies. A transportation costs database that was developed in previous years will be used to assess provincial barriers to trade, and also to measure the interdependencies of local economies through trade within and between firms. The Canadian Employer–Employee Dynamics Database will be leveraged to study the role of immigrants in facilitating the building of trade links between countries, and additional microdata sources will supplement the National Accounts Longitudinal Microdata File to enable studies that focus on the role of multinationals, global value chains, technology use, intangible capital, and innovation.
Administrative and alternative information sources
Increasing the use of administrative data to replace, complement or support more efficient survey collection and to provide new statistical and analytical outputs relevant to information needs remains a key priority for Statistics Canada. As changes to the economy and society continue at an unprecedented pace, the Agency faces challenges to maintain relevance and quality of information without incurring significant cost increases. Information is often required at smaller levels of disaggregation, and increase in sample sizes to meet this objective would likely be prohibitive or impose an undue response burden on Canadians. Increasing the use of administrative data should help to meet these challenges while continuing to disseminate accurate and timely statistical information.
Existing legislative and policy frameworks will continue to be examined and modified as needed to strongly support the statistical use of administrative data sources.
An emphasis on establishing partnerships with key administrative data source stakeholders will continue to gain access to relevant data sources and to improve data at the source. Greater engagement from provinces and territories will be sought to ensure that administrative data held by them are obtained and exploited to their full statistical potential. Partnerships with the private sector will also continue to examine the use of “big data” sources for statistical purposes (such as credit card information, satellite imagery to track agricultural field crop conditions, data from smart meters to measure electricity consumption, and automated collection of information from the Internet for price indices).
Statistics Canada will examine the data gaps in its infrastructure of registers to be able to effectively support the programs in its increased use of administrative data.
This strategic undertaking could have a profound impact on the future methods of producing official statistics in Canada. Implementation plans will be developed over the next two years.
Longitudinal data program
Statistics Canada will work with the National Statistics Council and develop proposals for consideration by the government to reinstate a longitudinal data program looking at life transitions, to promote sound policies.
Establishing a framework for the provision of additional government statistics
At present, Statistics Canada publishes some data from non-Statistics Canada sources such as the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In 2016/2017, in order to make additional data available, Statistics Canada, in collaboration with the Treasury Board Secretariat, will work to establish a framework whereby other federal organizations can use the Statistics Canada infrastructure to publish statistical information. This approach, consistent with open-government principles, will ensure the application of consistent data-quality guidelines, allow for a single access point to government statistics, and incorporate a standardized process for the provision of open-data files to the Government of Canada Open Government Portal.
Interpretability of information is a dimension of quality. Much of the statistical metadata that documents Statistics Canada's programs is available to Canadians through the Integrated Metadatabase. A new metadata platform will be deployed in a test environment in 2016/2017 and in production over the next two years. This should increase the amount of information available to users and bring efficiencies to the processes used internally.
In September 2017, the Agency will begin the roll-out of GCDOCS, the Government of Canada solution for managing non-statistical sensitive information resources. GCDOCS will provide Statistics Canada with a modern information repository that improves how electronic and paper information is stored, accessed, retrieved and shared throughout its life cycle, while protecting the security and confidentiality of the information.
Moving forward, Statistics Canada's microdata access programs will continue to increase the number and expand the types of data files available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI), Real Time Remote Access (RTRA), the Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research (CDER), and the Research Data Centres (RDC) and the Federal Research Data Centres.
In 2016/2017, the Agency will integrate new public-use microdata files into the DLI collection and add newly released data on a quarterly basis to the RTRA pool of datasets that are available for use. The Agency will also continue to document the core business micro-databases that will be made available in CDER. Core micro-databases with longitudinality corrections will be made available through CDER, and tools (e.g., synthetic data or limited disclosure data) to facilitate CDER research off-site will be explored. This activity will continue in 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, with additional databases and documentation to be made available in CDER, and tools to be made available at research data centres.
In addition, the RTRA will be upgraded to enhance performance, enable more statistical languages (such as STATA and SPSS), and allow for additional types of statistics to be run through the system.
The data holdings of the RDCs will be increased with newly-available Statistics Canada household survey data, and an enhanced focus on administrative data and data integration projects and acquisitions. The Agency will work with the Canadian Research Data Centre Network to develop proposals for the further extension of the RDC program.
New Dissemination Model
The Agency's transformational project to update and modernize its dissemination strategy through the New Dissemination Model continues in 2016/2017. This effort builds on important changes in the last few years, including the adoption of an open data model in the Agency. The New Dissemination Model includes a revised organization of data holdings that will enable better discovery and enhanced navigation, a simplified line of data products with a more coherent and consistent layout and functionality, and aggregate statistics generated through a database-driven approach. The principal activities will be to finalize software development and the dissemination infrastructure with Shared Services Canada. When software development is completed at the end of this fiscal year, thorough testing of the revised business processes will be carried out to ensure that Statistics Canada will be able to provide reliable and timely dissemination of data. Work will then take place in 2017/2018 to prepare the infrastructure for deployment, with a soft launch of the model running in parallel scheduled for January 2018 followed by the full public launch in April 2018. A communication plan will also be put in place to ensure that data users are aware of the upcoming changes to the way in which Statistics Canada organizes and presents its information holdings.
Enhancing engagement with the public
Statistics Canada will continue to develop and implement communication strategies aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of Agency products and services, building user capacity in the retrieval and exploitation of statistical information, and better informing the user community of upcoming developments in Statistics Canada's statistical program. Engagement with the public will continue in 2016/2017, using Web 2.0 tools, including social media platforms, chat sessions with Statistics Canada experts, blog discussions, online tutorials, and videos providing highlights of major releases.
Statistics Canada's centennial takes place in 2018, and a multi-year plan has been established. The plan focuses on recognizing the Agency's achievements in the past 100 years and will increase public awareness and promote creativity in the statistics field. In 2016/2017, the “Talking Stats” sessions continue with events to be held in four cities; and three regional offices will also greet data users through open-house events. The “Canadian Megatrends” monthly series will continue to highlight some of the sweeping changes that have had a lasting impact on Canadian society and the Canadian economy. Statistics Canada will also contribute to the Canada 150 celebrations with the online publication of a “Canada by the Numbers” series.
Concepts, sources and methods of the Canadian System of Environmental Accounts
In 2015/2016, the Agency updated documentation available to users on the concepts, sources and methods of the Canadian System of Environmental Accounts. The initiative revised the 1997 “Concepts, Sources and Methods” publication for the Canadian System of Environment and Resource Accounts. With the acceptance of the United Nations' System of Environmental–Economic Accounting as an international statistical standard, the revision ensured that the methods document is in line with international best practices. This revision reflects current concepts, as well as modifications made to the accounts since the document was last updated, and it also examines emerging practices related to the Framework on Environmental Statistics. In 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, the Agency will update the information as new products are developed.
In 2016/2017, work on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will include exploration of various alternative sources of price data to see whether the traditional reliance on in-store collection can be reduced. For instance, Statistics Canada will examine the feasibility of incorporating transaction-level scanner data into the CPI, as well as data collected from the Internet. Research will continue for annual basket updates and also for the eventual publication of families of indices, including a superlative indexFootnote 1 and alternate measures of shelter.
Monitoring trends in residential housing prices informs financial and monetary policy and has been identified as a data requirement of the International Monetary Fund's Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus and an important element of the G20 Data Gaps Initiative. In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will complete the pilot of a price index for new condominium apartments in selected cities. This new index will be an important component of a Residential Property Price Index that will be developed over the next three years.
In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada is redesigning its collection methods and tools used to collect the Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI) and the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI). This modernization is expected to improve the quality of the indices and allow for better monitoring and metrics.
In 2017/2018, Statistics Canada will start to increase analytical capacity, leading to more analytical output on price developments in the economy. In 2018/2019, basket updates are planned for the RMPI, the IPPI, the Wholesale Services Price Index and the Retail Services Price Index.
Government finance statistics
In 2014, Statistics Canada released a new set of government finance statistics (GFS) compiled according to the International Monetary Fund's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014. Canada was one of the first countries to adopt the new accounting standard and one of the only countries that compiles GFS directly from the accounting records of government organizations. Over the period from 2016/2017 to 2017/2018, Statistics Canada will continue to add to the time series, as well as to produce reconciliation tables between the GFS data and public accounts, consolidated general government tables, and tables that provide an additional perspective on government spending, such as government expenditure by purpose.
The implementation of the Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG) will provide users with public sector expenditure data by function. This will enhance the value of the System of National Accounts statistics, provide other Statistics Canada program areas with government expenditure data, and support international reporting efforts. For the fiscal years 2016/2017 to 2017/2018, the COFOG project will continue to code and validate the general ledger files received from the federal government and the provinces and territories.
In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will launch a project with the goal of improving the detail and quality of local government finance statistics. This project will examine the possibility of releasing municipal-level government finance statistics, greatly improving the level of sub-provincial statistics in this domain.
System of Macroeconomic Accounts comprehensive revision 2018
In 2015/2016, Statistics Canada began the historical revision of the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (CSMA). The project entails conceptual and statistical revisions, and ensures that the CSMA remains relevant and internationally comparable. The revision adds significant detail to a number of products, and integrates the new GFS and modernized capital stock.
During 2016/2017, the Agency will begin to construct measures of actual household consumption that blend together household spending with the spending of governments and non-profit corporations (e.g., health and education) undertaken on behalf of households. This will provide a more complete picture of the consumption of households.
In addition, Statistics Canada will continue to look for ways to “backcast” the current set of macroeconomic accounts to provide users with longer time series for modelling and forecasting purposes.
By 2017/2018, Statistics Canada will develop a set of provisional estimates of Canada's international trade, on an ownership basis—consistent with the recording of trade by most of the other G20 countries. These new data will provide users with insight into the growing phenomenon of factory-less goods production and global value chains.
Improving capacity utilization and capital stock estimates
Rates of capacity use are measures of the intensity with which industries use their production capacity. The quality of capacity utilization estimates for manufacturing industries will be improved by moving their collection from an annual to a monthly basis. The Agency started data collection in early 2016, and the results will be incorporated into the first-quarter release of the capacity utilization rates in 2016. This new data source will provide higher-quality estimates of capacity utilization rates, reduce the size of the annual revisions, and facilitate future work to move the measure from a quarterly frequency to a monthly frequency. In addition, Statistics Canada will explore and, where appropriate, incorporate existing external administrative data sources for new service industries and investigate ways to improve estimates for non-manufacturing industries already in the program.
Redesigns are vital for ensuring surveys and programs continue to deliver quality, relevant information.
Labour Force Survey
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is Statistics Canada's largest ongoing household survey. Every ten years, following a decennial census, Statistics Canada redesigns the LFS sample to maintain its relevance and quality. The current LFS redesign is being conducted in two phases, with the first already having been completed. The second phase of the LFS redesign will focus on the redesign of the underlying processing and dissemination infrastructure. The main activities in 2016/2017 are the development of collection, processing, coding and dissemination systems using common tools. In 2017/2018, further development will take place along with testing—including a field test of the Integrated Collection and Operation Systems (ICOS)-based LFS collection application—and implementation. In 2018, collection of LFS in ICOS will begin.
Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours
The Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) is also being redesigned. In 2016/2017, the main activities are to specify and develop the processing environment for the payroll data received from the Canada Revenue Agency. In 2017/2018, activities include the development and implementation of an ICOS-compliant collection application and the specification and development of a new processing environment, coverage and estimation methods for the Business Payrolls Survey (BPS), the collection instrument for SEPH. The new BPS will use common tools wherever possible. In 2018/2019, testing and implementation will take place, as well as release of revised estimates, historical revision and new dissemination products.
Survey of Household Spending
The Survey of Household Spending will also be going through a redesign. The survey is facing a major systems redesign and a rethinking of the way in which the survey content is collected. Challenges for this survey are related to sample size and declining response rates, which impact data quality, as well as high respondent burden. In addition, the complexity of the survey design—the combination of the interview and the diary into one survey—has created a complex processing system, with multiple files and weights. As a result, processing has become more time consuming and resource dependent, and responding to users' needs more challenging. These all affect the long-term sustainability of the survey. The redesign will involve moving to common processing and dissemination tools, the development of an electronic questionnaire (EQ) and move to ICOS. As well, the scope of the survey and frequency with which information is collected will be considered (such as moving to a two-year collection). Innovative ways to collect Canadians' expenditure information will also be considered, including the use of incentives, and scanner and credit card data.
In 2016/2017, activities will include planning for the transition to common tools; making decisions regarding the scope and frequency of the survey as well as reinvestment in the survey program; and improving methods, collection monitoring and support for research data centre files. In 2017/2018 and 2018/2019, activities will include development and testing for the transition to common tools, EQ/ICOS development, the development of an e-diary, creation of a public-use microdata file; and, potentially, the designing of a pilot test for the use of incentives and feasibility studies for alternate data sources (dependent on 2016/2017 decision regarding reinvestment and changes to scope and frequency).
To improve data quality and long-term sustainability, the Tourism Statistics Program will combine its surveys on international and domestic travel by Canadians into one travel survey—the National Travel Survey. A pilot test of the new survey was conducted in February 2016. In 2016/2017, the results of the pilot will be assessed, and the full survey will be developed.
Accurate information on tourism expenditures, especially by international visitors, is a particular data gap. One possible source of information to fill this gap is credit card information. Other countries have successfully accessed and processed credit card information to track tourism expenditures. Accordingly, a pilot will be undertaken to assess the acquisition of credit card data for the purpose of gathering additional data for the travel and retail programs. Administrative data from other federal departments are also being acquired and assessed to improve data quality, and to reduce processing and response burden. Finally, the last phase of the paper questionnaire elimination initiative will be completed—and smart tablets will be provided to interviewers working at Canadian airports.
Coherent presentation of statistics within Statistics Canada, or between Statistics Canada and other national and international producers of statistics, requires the development of standard classifications. For this purpose, Statistics Canada works closely with statistical offices in the United States and Mexico to develop classifications that are in turn consistent with standards developed by the United Nations. Statistics Canada also works with the United Nations, other international organizations and other federal departments to update Canadian versions of other international classifications.
The current industrial classification standard, adopted by Statistics Canada in November 2011 is the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
Statistics Canada is also implementing the 2012 North American Product Classification System (NAPCS). This work, to be completed in 2017/2018, will replace a number of specialized classifications to improve coherence of commodity-level data and the efficiency of business processes.
A joint project with the United States and Mexico has been completed for the 2017 iterations of the North American industrial and commodity classifications. These periodic revisions are essential to ensure that statistical classifications keep pace with evolving industrial structure and product offerings of the business sector. Both NAICS and NAPCS 2017 will be released in late 2016 and early 2017, with implementation starting in January 2018. The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), a common classification between Canada and the United States for education statistics, has been revised for 2016 and was adopted in January 2016. The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is jointly revised by Statistics Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada. NOC 2016 will be released in October 2016. CIP 2016 and NOC 2016 will be used for coding and publishing Census 2016 data.
Microdata simulation provides new and interesting ways to look at data, and it ensures that information already collected is used to its fullest potential. The Population Health Model (POHEM) is a microsimulation model that serves the needs of health policy makers. In 2016/2017, a new version of POHEM will be available—with a starting population that has been updated—and includes models for physical activity and body mass index.
The Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M) assists users in analyzing the financial interactions of governments and individuals in Canada. For example, it can help assess the cost implications or income redistributive effects of changes in the personal taxation and cash transfer systems. In 2015/2016, the Agency undertook an experimental initiative to run the model on administrative data. In 2016/2017, the SPSD/M administrative data prototype will be presented to prospective users and be available for cost-recovery work.
In 2016/2017, a prototype dynamic microsimulation model designed to project demand for and affordability of institutional care for seniors will be completed and available for cost-recovery work.
Finally, Demosim is a microsimulation model designed to produce population projections. It supports the Agency's population estimates program for specific subpopulations and was recently updated based on 2011 NHS data. In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will release a new set of demographic projections on the diversity of the Canadian population and on the labour force. In 2017/2018, Statistics Canada will undertake research to enhance Demosim in preparation for rebasing, which will take place in 2018/2019. The rebasing will use 2016 Census of Population data and other administrative files.
Strategies for improving response rates
Increased concern among Canadians about personal privacy and information security, together with evolving telecommunications technologies, have made it more difficult to establish communications with households. These factors have contributed to a downward trend in response rates for household surveys.
To support collection activities and improve response rates, a number of research activities are taking place. In 2016/2017, these include following-up on a consultation with cellular phone respondents and non-respondents in order to better understand how to improve contact and participation rates; evaluating the quality of the phone information on the household survey frame and recommending strategies for a more efficient use of phone numbers in collection; performing a pilot test on measuring the impact of the use of the mandatory status on survey response; performing a pilot test presenting different approaches to select a respondent in a household survey; conducting and evaluating the pilot of the mandatory Canadian National Health Survey; and pursuing ongoing monitoring of results and implementation of collection strategies for multi-mode household, agriculture and business surveys. In 2017/2018, activities will include testing different strategies relating to the use of the incentives in household surveys; based on consultation results, testing the use of text messages as a mode of contact; and developing a proposal for the use of adaptive collection design in selected surveys. In 2018/2019, the Agency will further investigate the use of administrative files in collection; implement text messaging as a possible new mode of collection; and develop a proposal for the use of adaptive collection design in surveys.
Revision of Statistics Canada's Quality Assurance Framework
The Quality Assurance Framework, last updated in 2002, is a broadly used reference document that serves as a key element of the Agency's Corporate Management Framework. The document will be updated to reflect new best management practices developed within the Agency and other statistical organizations in recent years. The updated edition will be published in 2016/2017.
Efficiency, robustness and responsiveness
Integrated Collection and Operation Systems
To achieve the best possible quality in the most efficient way, Statistics Canada needs to be able to start a survey in any mode, and to pursue collection of the survey using any other combination of modes. To enable this, the Agency needs to be able to securely and easily move cases between its multiple call centres and its workforce of personal interviewers. Calls must be made at times when they are most likely to generate a response. As well, information about individual cases must be available in real time to detect issues related to interviewer or questionnaire performance. All of this work must be accomplished with the smallest possible number of systems and processes to achieve economies of scale. In order to implement this vision, Statistics Canada established the Integrated Collection and Operation Systems (ICOS) Initiative. The initiative's objective was to develop an integrated collection systems environment to achieve the targeted level of flexibility between modes and sites, fully exploiting the use of the Internet for e-questionnaires. The integrated collection system environment also relies on the use of the ICOS Collection Management Portal (ICOS-CMP) to meet the needs of the census programs, social surveys, and some business surveys requiring a computer-assisted personal interviewing component.
In 2016/2017, the ICOS-CMP will support the data collection for the 2016 Census of Population and Census of Agriculture, work will continue to migrate business surveys to ICOS, and a prototype of an off-line solution will be implemented to allow data collection for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program and personal interviewing for social surveys.
In 2017/2018, work will continue to migrate business surveys to the ICOS-Business Collection Portal. As well, the ICOS-CMP is aimed to be fully operational to support multi-mode data collection for social/household surveys or business surveys requiring personal interviews. Based on the survey migration schedule to the ICOS-CMP, the CPI will be the first non-census program to migrate to this collection portal. The design of this collection portal will be flexible enough to support a wide range of collection devices such as laptops and tablets.
Migration of surveys to the new ICOS system will continue until March 2021, when the last survey will move away from existing legacy platforms.
The Agency is also developing recommendations for frame construction and sampling design strategies using household survey frame files to support the ICOS initiative for social surveys. This work will start in 2016/2017.
The Agency has been moving to a smaller number of corporately managed business processes and systems, which means better testing, design, coherence and documentation. The deployment of these generalized systems and processes also reduces costs and allows for greater responsiveness by accelerating the output of ad hoc statistical projects. To date, the Agency has developed shared processing environments for business surveys and for household surveys—and the transitioning of surveys continues. Projects include the Integrated Business Statistics Program, the Industry Statistics Branch Monthly Survey System Integration Project, and the Social Survey Processing Environment.
Included in the various activities that the Agency will undertake in 2016/2017 are the enhancement of the Agency's automated disclosure control software and the improvement of its generalized system for data integration.
G-Confid is an automated disclosure control software developed at Statistics Canada. It is used to implement cell suppression to protect tabular data, and it can also be used to deal with potentially voluminous multi-dimensional tables. The main objective of G-Confid is to provide the appropriate level of protection for confidential cells while minimizing the loss of information. Over the period 2016/2017 to 2017/2018, G-Confid will be enhanced with algorithms to address efficiency issues, an additive-controlled rounding to protect non-financial data, the automated non-suppression of waivers, the processing of sample weights, the automated protection of data with negative values and the development of automated methods of disclosure control in the presence of both full and partial waivers.
G-Link is another of Statistics Canada's generalized systems. It is based on a probabilistic record linkage methodology and is used to match data without unique identifiers. G-Link is being updated. Completion of this work is expected in 2018/2019.
The Generalized Tabulation Tool (GTAB) project was launched to design and implement a generalized tool to support data tabulation—to provide a stable and consistent environment for tabulation across the Agency with a set of confidentiality rules that help in the protection of residual disclosure. In 2016/2017, the project team will pursue the potential of expanding GTAB's use beyond the surveys in the Social Statistics Field, and of using it for the Census and the Consumer Price Index. As well, the project team will be testing and implementing the calculation and confidentiality of quintile, quartile and decile statistics, developing an output formatting tool and improving user experience through an enhanced graphical user interface. Further development of the GTAB will focus on the confidentiality system that will highlight not only confidential cells but also high-risk administrative tables that could pose a risk of residual disclosure due to sparsely populated cells. In 2017/2018, a plan will be established to map out the development of new requirements and the use of GTAB on a broader scale. In 2018/2019, the focus will be on supporting users and integrating new data sources onto the tabulation platform.
Finally, the Coding and Corrections Environment project is intended to develop a single corporate environment for the automated and manual coding and correction of data. It will replace the more than forty coding systems currently in place. Work began in 2015/2016, with the project due to be completed in 2017/2018. At that time, the environment will allow for post-collection coding of business and social data to the North American Industry Classification System and the National Occupational Classification.
Investments in informatics and telecommunications infrastructure
In 2011, Statistics Canada's informatics and telecommunications infrastructure, along with the associated budget, was transferred to Shared Services Canada. Shared Services Canada has carried out little maintenance in the legacy data centre on which Statistics Canada depends, nor has it kept the capacity of the data centre in line with the Agency's business requirements. Statistics Canada will therefore reduce its statistical program in order to fund Shared Services Canada to carry out this essential maintenance and expand capacity to reflect the Agency's growing requirements.
Small area estimation
Statistics Canada is exploring a prototype system for small area estimation. This system will produce estimates for small geographic areas by combining survey estimates and administrative data to generate estimates using data models. Beginning in 2015/2016, in-depth evaluations were undertaken using the prototype and a number of large-scale surveys. In 2016/2017, the prototype functionalities will be integrated into the corporate suite of generalized systems.
Other system standardization activities
Statistics Canada will continue to engage in transformation working groups with other departments and the Treasury Board Secretariat as plans are developed for common tools and processes.
As part of the transformation of pay initiative, the 40-year-old regional pay system is being replaced with Phoenix, a modern, commercial, off-the-shelf pay system. In the fall of 2015/2016, the Agency implemented a web-based interface between the human resources management system and the new pay system. Rollout has now taken place.
Over the next three years, the Agency will develop a roadmap for migration to common tools for human resources and financial management. The Agency's migration to MyGCHR (PeopleSoft) is currently planned for 2019. This is part of the large government-wide office transformation initiative of human resources.
Responsive collection design
To enhance the efficiency, responsiveness and robustness of the data collection operations, responsive collection design has been implemented in all computer-assisted telephone interviewing surveys. Responsive collection design is an adaptive approach that uses the information available prior to and during data collection to adjust collection strategy for the remaining in-progress cases. It provides the opportunity to control quality, cost and productivity, based on responding potential of in-progress cases. This process has been implemented in the field in parallel with an active survey-monitoring program. In 2016/2017, enhancements will be made and work will continue to gain a better understanding of the transition from interviewer-assisted to self-responding e‑questionnaires and to help improve follow-up strategies with respondents. Implementation in the ICOS-CMP environment is planned for 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.
Improvements to capital and financial planning systems
To ensure the efficiency, continuity and quality of all statistical programs, the Agency maintains a ten-year plan that identifies all required investments. This plan is a key part of the Integrated Strategic Planning Process, a rigorous multi-year planning framework that incorporates all Agency requirements for financial, information technology and human resources.
However, lack of control over the information technology infrastructure resources required to support the planning process and meet strategic objectives poses a threat to the Agency's independence as a national statistical organization and to its ability to safeguard sensitive statistical information as outlined in the Statistics Act. Increased planning discipline will be required to ensure that plans and decisions made by other organizations, with which there are interdependencies, are aligned with the Agency's highest priorities.
The Departmental Project Management Framework (DPMF) was reviewed and streamlined in 2015/2016 in response to improvement proposals received from users of the framework and from audit recommendations. The new and improved DPMF will be launched in 2016/2017, with full implementation for projects starting in 2017/2018.
A new direction in staffing at Statistics Canada
Effective April 1, 2016, the Public Service Commission established a new Appointment Policy and a new Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument. This new direction streamlines requirements, removes administrative burden and allows organizations to customize their staffing systems based on their business needs. As a result of these changes, Statistics Canada revised and updated its staffing framework; the monitoring framework has also been revised. All this will lead to greater efficiency, reduced effort and enhanced results.
Statistics Canada developed a multi-year plan for implementation of the Workplace 2.0 space fit-up. The Agency has been working very closely with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and is continuing to move forward with the plan. Statistics Canada is now completing phase 4 of Workplace 2.0 implementation. In 2016/2017, the Agency will finish the conversion of one floor of the Jean Talon Building and two floors of the R.H. Coats Building. Phase 5 begins in 2017/2018 and includes conversion of one floor in the Jean Talon Building and another floor the following year. To date, Statistics Canada has returned all required spaces on time. In addition, to the space already returned, the Agency has moved forward its Workplace 2.0 plans so as to allow three wings in the Main Building to be returned to crown inventory earlier than originally scheduled.
Since the lease is expiring in the Toronto office, Statistics Canada is working to secure new space outside the downtown core. The fit-up, which will be conducted using new Workplace 2.0 standards, will begin in 2017/2018. The lease is also expiring for the Winnipeg regional office, and negotiations are underway regarding the future of this site.
Continuous improvement of corporate service delivery
Corporate service delivery continues to evolve based on the guiding principles of simplicity, reliability, responsiveness, accountability and efficiency. In 2015/2016, as part of an ongoing effort to move away from paper-based administrative processes, Statistics Canada implemented an electronic request and authorization process, the My Purchase Requests. This process will also be deployed in the regions. As well, a new more-efficient process for onboardingFootnote2 of employees will be implemented across the organization in the coming months.
Other opportunities for service improvement will be identified by continuing efforts to monitor business processes and measure performance against service standards, and through the ongoing efforts of the Administrative Practices Committee to address administrative burden.
Update processing environment for ownership survey conducted under the Corporations Returns Act
The Corporations Returns Act is administered by the Chief Statistician under the authority of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. The purpose of the Act is to collect financial and ownership information on corporations conducting business in Canada and to use this information to evaluate the extent and effect of non-resident control of the Canadian corporate economy. Starting in 2015/2016, Statistics Canada began to update the processing environment used for the ownership survey. The update will increase both the level of automation and the flexibility. In 2016/2017, Statistics Canada will develop the data model, establish the architecture and the design, and generate the specifications and use cases for the system. In 2017/2018, the Corporations Returns Act processing system will be built and tested. Another important element of this project is to develop a web application jointly with the dissemination group in order to release, as broadly as possible, information on inter-corporate ownership. In 2018/2019, final end-to-end testing will be conducted, the system deployed and the web application put into full production.
International technical assistance
Global Affairs Canada is sponsoring Statistics Canada to provide technical assistance in the Caribbean region. National statistical offices in the Caribbean typically have very limited financial, human and technical resources, yet they have to meet the same data needs as larger countries. The project involves working with fourteen countries to build a regional approach to enhance the system of national accounts, develop an infrastructure for business and household surveys, and improve the dissemination of data and sharing of expertise in the region. Over the next three years, technical assistance will continue to be delivered in the Caribbean. Starting in 2016/2017, project activities will focus on developing and testing new approaches, methods and systems using a hands-on learning approach that has proven successful in other large-scale technical assistance projects led by Statistics Canada. The Agency will also engage in program and knowledge-transfer activities such as joint training with international organizations, regional symposiums, and the documentation of best managerial practices.
Managing respondent burden
Increase the use of electronic questionnaires
Canadians have shown, in the 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and in various business surveys that they appreciate the convenience and security of an Internet-based electronic questionnaire (EQ) response option, provided that it is offered in a user-friendly way. The 2011 Census achieved an Internet response rate of over 50%, with a 65% Internet response rate expected for 2016.
Statistics Canada continues to move expeditiously in this direction. In 2016/2017, the Censuses of Population and Agriculture will again include an EQ module; and in 2017/2018, the Consumer Price Index will include EQ as the instrument to conduct data collection using a tablet. More generally, over the next five years, the Integrated Collection and Operation Systems will continue to be deployed, making EQ the default option for business surveys and a response option for the Agency's major household surveys, including the Labour Force Survey, the Canadian Community Health Survey, and the General Social Survey. These EQs will be used by both respondents directly (online) and by interviewers conducting surveys over the phone or face-to-face with respondents.
Formal review process for new data demands
The Agency continues to take steps to manage and reduce response burden. Through an established formal review process, content changes are examined to ensure that the data are not already available from other sources and that samples impose the least amount of burden while ensuring acceptable quality. In 2016/2017, the Agency will continue to improve oversight and due diligence over survey proposals that have implications for respondent burden.
Periodic reporting exemptions
As well, the Agency continues to use a strategy aimed at reducing the accumulation of response burden on small and medium-sized businesses. Through this strategy, businesses with an excessive number of response minutes over a three-year period will be exempt from Statistics Canada surveys for at least one year. In 2016/2017, the Agency will assess the results of the first and second iterations of this strategy.
Innovative, motivated and professional workforce
Implementing a talent development strategy at Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada is implementing an overarching talent development strategy that will develop employees and their competencies so as to align with the current and future business needs of the organization, encourage enhanced employee productivity, and support business continuity.
At the core of this strategy is talent mapping. It will be used to evaluate and differentiate an organization's talent pool based on employees' past performance and future potential. The strategy looks at the ability to deliver results consistently over time, and it focuses on an individual's sustained performance rather than on one specific action or accomplishment. It takes into account competencies, meeting objectives, leadership potential and interest in advancement.
To facilitate the implementation of this strategy, Statistics Canada developed a tool kit for managers to help guide them through its key elements. An employee-potential questionnaire has also been developed. The initiative began in early 2016 and will be piloted initially with the Agency's assistant directors. For the present, the emphasis is on determining focused learning and development activities for this group. The results from the first cohort to adopt this new talent-development approach will be evaluated to determine the most effective method for rollout to other levels in the organization.
Learning and the Canada School of Public Service
Statistics Canada views learning as an essential component in fulfilling its mandate and enabling the Agency to remain a leader among national statistical agencies. Over the years, the Agency has effectively managed quality internal training programs. Following the transfer of training funds to the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), the Agency is exploring ways to use CSPS services to meet future training needs and to ensure the availability of technical and subject-matter courses that are essential to the delivery of Statistics Canada's mandate.
Blueprint 2020, Big Ideas Conference and the Innovation Centre
In November 2015, the Chief Statistician released the latest report on Statistics Canada's progress and ongoing commitment to Blueprint 2020. Blueprint 2020, launched by the Clerk of the Privy Council in 2013, encouraged public servants to share ideas on the future of the Public Service. Innovation will continue to be a key driver behind Statistics Canada's Blueprint 2020 story. The keynote speaker series, the Innovation Channel and the recently opened Innovation Centre will enable employees to remain creative and offer ample opportunities to share their ideas with colleagues.
The Big Ideas 2 Conference, held in November 2015, celebrated grassroots innovative ideas around the theme of local area data. Presentations highlighted local data projects already underway in the organization; a speaker series showcased innovation in municipal, federal and academic arenas; and a unique boot camp process, where senior managers mentored idea submitters, promoted ideas with promise beyond the concept stage. Many of these ideas are now in the proof-of-concept stage.
Statistics Canada will continue to support employees in bringing forward ideas, big or small, to improve our business processes and the resulting outcomes, for the benefit of employees and Canadians.
One of the key lessons learned for Statistics Canada since the launch of the Blueprint 2020 initiative is that the timely delivery of information technology infrastructure services is being affected by the concurrent timing of many key transformation initiatives across the government, which has become a bottleneck in advancing the modernization agenda. Major transformation projects at Statistics Canada, some of which support key statistical programs, are now delayed.
Statistics Canada's spending can be seen as composed of three pieces: spending for the ongoing programs of economic and social statistics, and the internal services that support these programs; spending for the censuses of population and agriculture that varies from year to year and is highest in years when the censuses are in collection; and spending related to statistical work that is carried out on a cost-recovery basis on behalf of other organizations (primarily federal departments and agencies). The spending plan outlined below will allow Statistics Canada to deliver its base program as well as the specific initiatives discussed in this plan.
|Program Alignment Architecture||Planned Spending 2016/2017||Planned Spending 2017/2018||Planned Spending 2018/2019|
|Thousands of dollars|
|Economic and Environmental Statistics||128,535||128,967||129,989|
Data from Statistics Canada's 2016/2017 Report on Plans and Priorities.
Spending fluctuations between years are mainly owing to the cyclical nature of the 2016 Census Program, for which activity peaks in 2016/2017.
The last word
Statistics Canada's plan for the next three years to deliver value to Canadians is ambitious and broad in scope, yet achievable. The Agency will meet budgetary targets and make progress on addressing a number of pressing information needs. While ensuring that all necessary investments are made to ensure the continuity and quality of its programs, the Agency will make substantial progress in improving the efficiency, robustness and responsiveness of its operations. Statistics Canada will continue to deliver its program commitments, and to reinforce its innovative culture to deliver ever-greater value to Canadians from the resources entrusted to its care.
Annex A: Consultation with users and other stakeholders
In order to stay abreast of the constantly evolving needs of the nation's citizens and institutions, and to ensure that its programs remain relevant to these needs, Statistics Canada must consult widely and frequently with data users and other stakeholders. The following list describes the principal venues through which these consultations are held—typically once a year, but no less than once every two years.
These committees comprise key experts from business, government, non-governmental organizations and academia. They provide advice and guidance to Statistics Canada and the Chief Statistician on all aspects of the Agency's statistical and analytical programs, including advice on program priorities, survey design and content, dissemination of information, and statistical methods. The National Statistics Council sits at the pinnacle of this system of committees. Advisory committees relate to:
- Agriculture Statistics
- Canadian Health Measures Survey Biobank
- Canadian Health Measures Survey Expert
- Demographic Statistics and Studies
- Environment Statistics
- Labour and Income Statistics
- Macroeconomic Accounts
- Population Health Surveys
- Postsecondary Education Statistics
- Price Measurement
- Services Statistics
- Social Conditions
- Statistical Methods
Advisory committees fall under the authority of the Executive Management Board. They are created and dissolved in response to evolving needs, and as recommended by divisions and fields within Statistics Canada. Members of the various advisory committees are appointed by the Chief Statistician on the recommendation of fields. They are selected based on their unique insights, abilities, and professional qualifications.
Consultation and collaboration with the provinces and territories
Statistics Canada has asked each province and territory to name an individual within their administration to serve as a focal point for the Agency on statistical matters. Most provinces and territories have chosen to name the head of their provincial or territorial statistical office. In its operations, Statistics Canada liaises with the focal points on an ongoing basis. Each year, the Chief Statistician meets with the focal points as the Federal–Provincial–Territorial Consultative Council on Statistical Policy to discuss high-level issues of priorities, statistical policies and programs.
Under the aegis of the Consultative Council, a number of more specialized committees meet to discuss more detailed issues of program operation and implementation. These federal–provincial–territorial committees relate to:
- Agriculture Statistics
- Census of Population
- Economic Accounts, Business and Transportation Statistics
- Labour Statistics
- Social Statistics
Consultation and collaboration with the international community
Statistics Canada is actively involved with the international community. This helps to ensure that statistics not only remain relevant but also are of high quality, and that they are internationally coherent. This activity involves bodies, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Statistical Division, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and the High-Level Group for the Modernisation of Statistical Production and Services (created through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe).
Departmental Audit Committee
This committee comprises three knowledgeable Canadians from outside of the public service. Its role is to monitor the adequacy of the Agency's control framework for its operational, financial, and administrative activities, and to review performance in terms of compliance, efficiency, and economy. The committee reviews, approves and disseminates the internal audit policy; it also reviews and approves audit plans, and reports and decides on actions to be taken in response to major audit findings and recommendations.
Other regular multilateral and bilateral meetings
Statistics Canada also participates in a number of multilateral and bilateral meetings which occur on a regular basis. These include:
- Canadian Council of Cancer Registries
- Canadian Education Statistics Council
- Canadian Research Data Centre Network
- Data Liberation Initiative External Advisory Committee
- Deputy Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety
- Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators
- Working Group on Statistics
Engaging with Canadians through social media
Statistics Canada is actively engaging with Canadians and seeking their feedback through the use of collaborative social media tools. The StatCan Blog informs Canadians of major projects and priorities, and it gives them an opportunity to comment and ask questions. The Researchers' Blog, launched in 2014, is a new venue for researchers to discuss statistical methods and analysis. Five times a year, the public engages in online chat sessions with Statistics Canada experts to discuss statistical findings on a particular program. An online consultation tool features a Question of the Month to gauge satisfaction with programs and services. Finally, over 145,000 users continue to follow the Agency on Twitter, while others choose to share content from the Facebook and YouTube accounts.
Annex B: Organizational contact information
1-800-263-1136 or 613-951-8116
1-877-287-4369 or 613-951-0581
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