Key risks: things that could affect our ability to achieve our plans and results

Statistics Canada must remain relevant and respond to the needs of both data users and respondents. The loss of relevance and responsiveness is considered one of the agency's key risks.

The expectations of data users are rapidly evolving. Users require more sophisticated and timely data and analyses, while respondents face increased demands on their time. To remain relevant to users and to encourage survey participation among respondents, the agency must remain connected, adopt innovative methodological approaches, be fully mindful of respondent burden, and communicate the importance of the data it is collecting and releasing.

Trusted information is essential to decision making by governments, businesses and individuals. The production of reliable statistics, however, depends on the willing participation of respondents, and Canadians are more willing to provide their information to Statistics Canada because they are confident that the agency will keep it safe. Therefore, the potential for statistical errors and breaches in the confidentiality of information are among the agency's key risks.

If users are assured that the agency's statistics are timely, credible and of high quality, they will be less inclined to seek alternative, less-reliable data sources to obtain their information. Similarly, if respondents are assured that the information provided to the agency is kept secure and confidential, they will be more willing to participate in surveys.

To address these risks, the agency must continue to invest in and rely on the expertise of its employees. It must also continue to invest in robust infrastructure—both technological and methodological—to ensure the reliability, timeliness, scalability and security of its statistics.

Risk management allows the agency to meet Canadians' current and emerging information needs efficiently and effectively. The risks described above are articulated in detail in the agency's Corporate Risk Profile, which was developed as part of the Integrated Risk Management Framework. Within this framework, mitigation strategies are documented, managed and monitored across the agency.

Key risks
Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department's Programs (or Core Responsibilities) Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities (as applicable)

1. Risk – The agency is unable to meet the rising expectations of stakeholders

  • Implementing and monitoring the Statistics Canada and Shared Services Canada plan to address IT infrastructure challenges
  • Planning and delivering a proactive strategy for data IT infrastructure
  • Integrated HR and business planning, recruitment strategies, learning and development curriculum and talent management
  • Reporting on consultations with stakeholders and actions to address emerging needs

Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics

Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics

Program 3: Censuses

Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure

Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services

Internal Services

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Mandate Letter:

  • 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

 

Government-wide priorities:

  • New results and delivery approach
  • Making evidence-based decisions
  • Strengthening the Public Service…provide evidence-based advice
  • Growing the middle class, climate change, economic growth through innovation, the increase and diversification of trade and foreign investment, better social and economic security for Canadians, improving the situation and living conditions of Indigenous peoples, and a modern, sustainable and resilient infrastructure

(Budget 2016)

Departmental priorities:

  • Close data gaps, support the work priorities of policy departments and help measure program outcomes

(2017–18 Departmental Plan)

2. Risk – Statistical methods and techniques are misaligned with current and future societal expectations

  • Consideration of a holistic transformation in approach in communicating with Canadians
  • Research/adoption of more modern statistical methods to combine different sources of information to produce and disseminate more data more quickly
  • Look to increased uses of alternative data sources

Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics

Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics

Program 3: Censuses

Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure

Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services

Departmental priorities:

  • Continue to research innovative ways to conduct surveys, respond to new data needs and reduce response burden
  • Diversify the data formats available

(2017–18 Departmental Plan)

3. Risk – A major error occurs in a key statistical report or program

  • Perform thorough analyses and systematic data evaluation, and develop useful intelligence on the subject matter
  • Test processes adequately when introducing changes, and adopt proper information-management practices
  • Planning and delivering a proactive strategy for data IT infrastructure

Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics

Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics

Program 3: Censuses

Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure

Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services

Not applicable

4. Risk – A material breach of confidential or sensitive information occurs

  • Carry out continuous review of dissemination release procedures and processes, with a view to ensuring that information remains fully protected until official release time
  • Continue to diligently apply the stringent protection measures defined in the Policy on Official Release
  • Regular assessment of IT Security posture to ensure alignment with GC IT Strategy
  • Provide training and awareness for Statistics Canada employees on matters related to security of classified and designated information

Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics

Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics

Program 3: Censuses

Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure

Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services

Departmental priorities:

  • Further strengthening of overall security and the protection of critical informatics technology from cyber-threats

(2017–18 Departmental Plan)

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