Statistics Canada has an ambitious agenda for 2017–18 and beyond. We plan to address the information needs of governments, businesses and individuals for trusted data that will help improve the well-being of Canadians.
The agency fulfills its mandate through its core program and by meeting specific information needs through cost-recovery work. The core program produces statistics, focused research and analysis that Canadians need to assess the performance of the country. This includes data on the population, the labour force, educational attainment and the gross domestic product.
Statistics Canada collaborates with federal government departments, provincial and territorial governments, and other organizations to adapt its programs in response to evolving information needs and to remain relevant.
The essential information needs that Statistics Canada is addressing include those related to economic stability, Indigenous peoples, the health of Canadians and that of the next generation, the production of vital census data, the environment, and the provision of access to data to help guide the decisions of policy makers on topics such as human capital and labour market participation. Highlights of the agency's work planned over the next three years are described below.
Statistics on financial wealth and stability
One of the government's priorities is to support the social and economic security of Canadians. To support this priority, Statistics Canada will enhance the quality of its economic and financial data, as well as improve their timeliness.
The global financial crisis of 2008 highlighted the need for policy makers to have access to more comprehensive data to better assess the country's economic situation and to determine how to address it. By enhancing its financial and wealth data, Statistics Canada will help improve the surveillance of the financial system and the development of monetary and fiscal policy.
Good information is critical to understanding the development and the physical and mental health of children. To address this information need, Statistics Canada developed the Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth. This survey, which is in its pilot phase, will collect information on a range of factors likely to affect the physical and mental health of children and youth.
Pathways through the postsecondary education system and labour market outcomes
Statistics Canada will provide the information needed to better understand the paths that postsecondary students take through the education system. The agency's information will also cover the transition of postsecondary students into the labour market, and their employment and income over time. These data will show students how others in their programs have fared in the labour market and which jurisdictions offer good opportunities. Governments and businesses will also have more information on the socio-demographic characteristics of graduates, expected skills by field of study, factors affecting program completion and where students settle after graduation.
Census of Population and Census of Agriculture
The federal government's decision to reinstate the long-form census was followed by a historic 98.4% level of participation in the Census of Population. As a result, Statistics Canada will provide high-quality information on virtually all communities across Canada. This will help users of these data make informed, evidence-based decisions.
In February 2017, Statistics Canada will release the first results from the 2016 Census of Population. Additional results from both the short- and long-form census will be published throughout the 2017–18 fiscal year, along with data from the 2016 Census of Agriculture.
The 2016 Census of Population was the most successful census in Canadian history. The agency, therefore, plans on adapting some of the census improvements for other surveys. For example, the agency will use the Census Program's flexible survey operating system for its approximately 350 surveys, replacing the lower-performing technology used in its other programs.
Access to data
Research based on accurate and reliable information supports innovation and open government. It also contributes to the development of evidence-based policies that foster the well-being of Canadians and a healthy Canadian economy. Therefore, the agency is committed to ensuring that academics and policy researchers can use Statistics Canada data to their fullest potential.
In 2017–18 and beyond, Statistics Canada's microdata access programs will continue to increase the volume of data available to researchers through various venues. The agency will also diversify the data formats available, while protecting the confidentiality and privacy of respondents.
As the service provider for the Government of Canada's Open Government portal, Statistics Canada continues to increase public access to government information by making its own data available on the portal and by making the portal easier for Canadians to use. Improvements include new data visualization capabilities for open maps, open data, open information and proactive disclosure.
Modernizing the informatics technology infrastructure
Statistics Canada is working in close collaboration with Shared Services Canada on a plan to migrate the agency's data holdings to a modern, state-of-the-art enterprise data centre. Integral to this plan are the further strengthening of overall security and the protection of critical informatics technology from cyber threats.
Statistics Canada is expanding its environment statistics program to cover the production and use of clean technologies. This will help track progress toward the government's clean technology objectives and support the Innovation Agenda.
Statistics Canada will collect new information about First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit in the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey as well as additional information on the labour market situation of Inuit living in Nunavut, providing insight into the situation of Indigenous peoples and informing a wide range of policies and programs.
Innovation and experimentation
Statistics Canada has a long history of innovation and experimentation. The agency has a number of initiatives underway, including using satellite imagery to gather data on crop yields, web scraping to collect price information and crowdsourcing to map buildings.
For more information on Statistics Canada's plans, priorities and planned results, see the "Planned results" section of this report.