Archived – Program 2: Social Statistics

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The Social Statistics program provides integrated information and relevant analysis on the social and socio-economic characteristics of individuals, families and households and on the major factors that affect their well-being to inform public debate on socio-economic issues; support social policy development, implementation and evaluation; and guide public and private decision making. It is the primary source for assessing the impact of changing economic circumstances on Canadians. Federal departments such as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Industry Canada, Justice Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian Heritage, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada, as well as provincial governments extensively use its information to evaluate and cost economic and social policy options and alternatives. Objective statistical information is essential in an open and democratic society and this information allows Canadians to participate knowledgeably in debates on topics of interest to them. It supports statistical requirements specified by legislation or regulations in areas such as labour, immigration and employment equity. The program also provides information, analysis and measures on publicly funded facilities, agencies and systems designed to meet the socio-economic and physical needs of Canadians, on the characteristics of the individual Canadians and families they serve, and on the outcomes of the services they provide, such as justice, health, and education, as well as cultural institutions and industries.

Table 1 Financial Resources—Social Statistics ($ thousands)
This table shows, in thousands of dollars, the total main budgetary expenditure estimates, planned spending, total authorities available for use, actual spending (authorities used) and difference between planned and actual spending for 2012/2013.
Total Budgetary Expenditures (Main Estimates) 2012/2013 Planned Spending 2012/2013 Total Authorities (available for use) 2012/2013 Actual Spending (authorities used) 2012/2013 Difference 2012/2013
119,365 119,365 159,091 155,831 (36,466)
Table 2 Human Resources—Social Statistics (full-time equivalents)
This table shows, in full-time equivalents, planned and actual resources, and the difference between them for 2012/2013.
Planned 2012/2013 Actual 2012/2013 Difference 2012/2013
1,407 1,204 203
Table 3 Performance Indicators—Social Statistics
This table shows expected results, performance indicators, targets and actual results.
Expected Results Performance Indicators Footnote 1 Targets Actual Results
Decision-makers and users are informed on the economic and social conditions of individuals, families and households in Canada. Number of visits to CANSIM 270,500 345,469

Since CANSIM became free in February 2012, the number of visits have increased. Many new tables have been created.
Number of surveys using electronic data collection Continual increase

2012/2013 benchmark year: 3 surveys
Cumulative actual
2010/2011 — 2
2011/2012 — 6
2012/2013 — 12

Cumulative forecast
2013/2014 — 16
2014/2015 — 25
2015/2016 — 26

In 2012/2013, electronic questionnaire (EQ) deployment for surveys continued to advance as expected. For the Social Statistics field, the launch of an EQ pilot for the Labour Force Survey was a major milestone.
Percentage of surveys using administrative data Continual increase
2012/2013 benchmark year: 70%
Eighty percent of base programs use administrative data; this exceeds the 70% target. This is due to the acquisition of a new administrative data source and to the cancellation of surveys that were not using administrative data.
Number of media mentions 1,500 The 2,254 media mentions was above target, possibly because of greater media interest in crime, tourism, income and employment. Of the 2,254 articles on social surveys, 686 mentioned the Labour Force Survey.
Percentage of users having obtained what they needed 75% 75%
Periodicity and timeliness (international comparability) Meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) Canada meets all IMF standards for measuring and disseminating national accounts and other economic statistics data, according to the annual report for 2012 on SDDS observance. Canada exceeds timeliness and frequency requirements for most SDDS datasets, in particular those that are the responsibility of Statistics Canada.
Percentage of major economic indicators whose sampling accuracy is within set objectives 95% 2007/2008 — 98.6%
2008/2009 — 99.1%
2009/2010 — 99.7%
2010/2011 — 99.7%
2011/2012 — 99.7%
2012/2013 — 98.9%
Percentage of major economic indicators released as planned 100% 2007/2008 — 100%
2008/2009 — 100%
2009/2010 — 100%
2010/2011 — 100%
2011/2012 — 100%
2012/2013 — 100%
Percentage of statistical outputs corrected after release 2007/2008 < 2.5%
2008/2009 < 2.5%
2009/2010 < 2.5%
2010/2011 < 2.5%
2011/2012 < 2.5%
2012/2013 < 1.5%
2007/2008 — 5.0%
2008/2009 — 2.4%
2009/2010 — 2.2%
2010/2011 — 0.6%
2011/2012 — 3.3%
2012/2013 — 2.5%

The target was a correction rate of less than 1.5%; it was 2.5% in 2012/2013. This decrease of nearly a full percentage point from 3.3% in 2011/2012 was not enough to meet the newly adopted and more stringent target of 1.5%.
Percentage of projects completed within scope, time, and budget Continual increase
2012/2013 benchmark year: 90%
2012/2013: 100%

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned—Social Statistics

  • In 2012/2013, the Social Statistics program continued to deliver high-quality social and economic data and sustained its renewal activities. All major statistical outputs were released on time, adhering to the pre-established release schedule and in accordance with accuracy targets.
  • In 2012/2013, Statistics Canada implemented an innovative, web-based approach to releasing information. Insights on Canadian Society is the first publication in this new format. The publication provides a vehicle to better communicate the types of information presented in print publications that were recently discontinued: Perspectives on Labour and Income, Canadian Social Trends and Education Matters.
  • The program made significant progress in streamlining and integrating its business processes to improve efficiency. The Social Survey Processing Environment provides a suite of generic tools and utilities related to the processing of social survey and administrative data. By the end of 2012/2013, close to 20 surveys had completed the transition to the new environment.
  • In 2012/2013, Statistics Canada completed the collection of a number of important cost-recovery projects for various clients. This includes the Longitudinal and International Study of Adults, the Aboriginal Peoples Survey, and the Canadian Survey on Disability. Results from these various surveys will be released in 2013/2014.

Sub-program 2.1: Institutions and Social Statistics

This program collects, produces, analyzes and disseminates socio-economic statistics related to justice, education, culture and tourism, and public institutions. The program facilitates decision making and research in both the public and private sectors. The program supports statutory requirements largely focussed on the System of National Accounts and in the Canadian legal system.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned—Institutions and Social Statistics

  • This program continues to provide socio-economic statistics related to justice, education, culture and tourism, and public institutions.
  • In 2012/2013, by means of administrative files, Statistics Canada completed the first phase of a pilot study to evaluate indicators of re-contact with, and pathways through, the Canadian criminal justice system.
  • The education statistics program saw a number of important surveys developed in 2012/2013 on a cost-recovery basis. These included collection of the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies and Programme for International Student Assessment surveys as well as the development of the National Graduates Survey.
  • An initiative of particular relevance to the Institutions and Social Statistics program, was the engagement by the Social Statistics program, as a whole, in developing information roadmaps to respond to emerging data needs in key areas of social policy. The roadmaps, which cover areas such as justice, aging, the labour market, and household wealth, are produced in consultation with stakeholders. The roadmaps show what is needed to address areas where data are incomplete or fragmented, and where investments are needed to support future policy needs and initiatives.
  • Statistics Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Border Services Agency, continues to examine ways to improve response rates for the travel statistics program.

Sub-program 2.2: Health Statistics

This program provides statistical information and analysis about the state of health of Canadians. This is achieved by conducting the ongoing Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). The program also collects the data for and maintains Canada's vital statistics and the Canadian Cancer Registry. The program is also responsible for the development and management of health surveys using direct measures. The CHMS is collecting key information relevant to the health of Canadians by means of direct physical measurements such as blood pressure, height, weight and physical fitness, oral health, as well as disease and environmental biomarkers derived from blood and urine samples. This information is used to assist and support health planners and decision-makers at all levels of government, to sustain demographic and epidemiological research, and to report to the Canadian public about their collective health and health care system. This program supplies the System of National Accounts with data required by the Financial Management System of Government Statistics and the Federal–Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act; the vital statistics data are used by the Population Estimates program whose results in turn are used for the equalization program.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned—Health Statistics

  • This program provides information and analysis about the state of health of Canadians.
  • In 2012/2013, the first year of a multi-year project to redesign the CCHS was completed. The CCHS provides information on the health status, healthcare utilization, and health determinants of the Canadian population aged 12 and older. Health-related data are available by health region to support community-level policy-making and program development. The redesign will include reviewing CCHS content, revising the sampling strategy, and developing an electronic version of the questionnaire.
  • In 2012/2013, by means of administrative files, Statistics Canada also examined immigrant access to health services, added cancer stage to the Canadian Cancer Registry, and explored the potential to produce more small area data. As a result of this exploration exercise, data were produced and disseminated data at the census-metropolitan-area level. Typically, the smallest area of dissemination is the health region.

Evaluation: An evaluation of the CHMS was completed in 2012/2013, and is available on the Statistics Canada website.

Sub-program 2.3: General Social Statistics

This program produces information and analytic outputs on key social issues, including immigration, ethnicity, social engagement, youth, families, gender, seniors, and social well-being. The program also conducts the General Social Survey (GSS), develops and maintains the Longitudinal Immigration Database, and is the focal point for the development of post-censal surveys. The program produces the flagship publication, Insights on Canadian Society, which monitors social conditions, analyzes and integrates data, and reports on social change in Canada covering a broad spectrum of socio-economic and demographic topics. The program provides information and subject matter expertise to help support the policy interests of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health, Justice, Canadian Heritage, and Status of Women.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned—General Social Statistics

  • This program produces information and analytic outputs on key social issues, including immigration, ethnicity, social engagement, youth, families, gender, seniors, and social well-being.
  • The GSS is going through a major redesign. In 2012/2013, two pilots were conducted: one introduced an online e-questionnaire and a new sampling frame; the other, a new topic, social identity. The Social Identity cycle of the GSS will be in the field in 2013/2014, the first major household survey to implement an e-questionnaire option.

Sub-program 2.4: Labour and Household Statistics

This program covers household surveys such as the Labour Force Survey (LFS), surveys yielding trends on family income and expenditure, as well as establishment-based surveys of employment. The program supports various statutory requirements either directly or via the System of National Accounts.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned—Labour and Household Statistics

  • In 2012/2013, this program began the LFS redesign. The monthly LFS is Statistics Canada's largest ongoing household survey, and its infrastructure supports many other social statistics programs. It produces estimates of employment and unemployment at the national, provincial, census–metropolitan-area and economic-region levels with data available within seven days from the end of the reference month. The operation of the LFS is a major influence in defining the collection infrastructure maintained by Statistics Canada. Surveys on related topics are often conducted simultaneously with the monthly survey, and the survey sample is also often re-used in other statistical programs. The LFS is redesigned after each decennial census. The redesign covers survey content and all aspects of the survey sample design and survey operations. As with all survey redesigns, a major focus will be adopting, in the interests of efficiency, of common business processes and systems. The redesign will be fully completed in 2017.
  • The longitudinal component of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics has been discontinued. The production of annual income statistics is now covered by the newly introduced Canadian Income Survey.
  • In 2012/2013, an electronic response option was offered to respondents of the Business Payroll Survey.
  • An electronic response option was also developed for the Labour Force Survey: a pilot test began in 2012/2013.
  • Wealth (assets minus debts) of Canadians is an important policy issue, and it has been flagged as an important statistical data gap. The last such survey was conducted in 2005. In 2012/2013, Statistics Canada made preparations for a new round of data collection to take place through the Survey of Financial Security.
  • A new longitudinal survey—the Longitudinal International Study of Adults—was implemented in 2012/2013 on a cost-recovery basis. The survey makes extensive use of administrative data, and is completed by a survey interview.

Sub-program 2.5: Socio-economic Analysis

This program plans, directs, coordinates and conducts a range of statistical analyses and publications, as well as develops, maintains and disseminates several micro-simulation models. These activities serve four main functions and audiences: providing high quality and often leading-edge analyses on important contemporary topics for the general public; providing similar information of direct relevance to matters of current policy concerns; contributing generally to the corpus of national and international research in the peer-reviewed literature; providing in-depth feedback and quality assurance to a wide range of the data-producing units with Statistics Canada. Substantive areas of analysis include population aging and its impacts on labour markets and health care needs, wait times and access to health care, the economic circumstances of immigrants, population health status and impact of diseases and health determinants, as well as trends in income distribution including both low-income/vulnerable populations and geographic patterns including Canada's major cities.

Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned—Socio-economic Analysis

  • Labour market research examined long-term trends, including risks and consequences of layoff, returns to human capital, and the relative wages of various groups of workers. For example, after widening between 1980 and 2000, the wage gap between university and high-school educated individuals narrowed through the 2000s, particularly among workers under age 35. Research on immigration provided information on the economic and social outcomes of immigrants and their Canadian-born children. The program evaluated how the economic outcomes of recent immigrants are correlated with source country characteristics; identifying the factors associated with relatively high levels of post-secondary education among immigrant youth; and examining labour market outcomes of Canadian-born children, including business ownership. Research on pensions and retirement provided information on labour market activities of older workers and financial outcomes experienced in old age.
  • The program analyzed the determinants of health, health outcomes and the health system, using data from surveys and administrative sources, and disseminated results through publications such as Health Reports. Research showed that in regions with high concentrations of Aboriginal children, the rate of unintentional injury was double what it was elsewhere. The Canadian Health Measures Survey related obesity (directly measured) to level of physical activity. A cohort from the 1991 Census linked with 16 years of cancer and mortality data was used to estimate cause-specific mortality by level of education and to estimate the cardiovascular-related mortality rate among First Nations.
  • In 2012/2013, program analysts demonstrated the power of exploiting existing survey and administrative data sets to generate new insights through microdata simulation. The Social Policy Simulation Database and Model allows users to simulate the impact of various tax and other policy interventions on socio-economic outcomes. The LifePaths model allows for the projection of future pensions and retirement incomes and for modelling pension reform scenarios. The Population Health Model was used to perform comparative evaluations of health-related interventions on outcomes such as risk factors and disease, costs, health status and life expectancy. The Demosim model allows for visible minority and aboriginal population projections and has a role in the quality assessment of the National Household Survey.


Footnote 1

See Section 4, Other items of interest, for indicator definitions.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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