Archived – Risk Analysis

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At Statistics Canada, integrated risk management is an ongoing and dynamic activity that supports corporate decision-making, and is a central theme of the annual integrated strategic planning process. An essential part of Statistics Canada’s Risk Management Model is the Corporate Risk Profile, a high-level summary of the most critical risks being managed by Statistics Canada. The Corporate Risk Profile is used as a concise reference tool for decision-making, and is subject to a comprehensive annual review.

The Corporate Risk Profile for 2012/2013 to 2013/2014 highlighted six corporate risks. Three of these risks are listed in the table below.

Table 1 - Risk Analysis. The Corporate Risk Profile for 2012/2013 to 2013/2014 highlighted six corporate risks. Three of these risks are listed.
Risk Risk Response Strategy Link to Program Alignment Architecture
Increased difficulties in reaching respondents Increased difficulties in reaching respondents represent an ongoing challenge to the quality of social statistics. This risk was identified in both the 2012/2013 and the 2013/2014 Reports on Plans and Priorities.

Mitigation strategies identified in the Agency’s Corporate Risk Profile for 2012/2013 to 2013/2014 included the following:
  • closely monitoring response rates and assessing potential biases in survey results
  • continuing research and development of a dwelling-based Household Survey Frame as an alternative to existing survey frames
  • engaging respondents through various mechanisms (websites, social media) to ensure high response rates
  • reviewing the extended use of administrative data sources
  • continuing to innovate to meet respondents’ needs, including greater use of multi-mode data-collection options, such as e-questionnaires and mobile devices
  • continuing to investigate the possibility of conducting interviews by cell phone
  • undertaking additional studies, including re-examining the results of voluntary versus mandatory surveys, and investigating incentives for survey respondents.
Actions taken in 2013/2014 to advance these strategies included
  • introducing Internet-based collection methods
  • including cell phone telephone numbers in collection processes
  • using administrative data sources to replace or complement surveys where possible
  • introducing the new Integrated Household Survey Frame for selected social surveys (General Social Survey; Survey of Emergency Preparedness and Resilience in Canada)
  • continuing with the implementation of the three-tiered strategic communication plan, which is designed to selectively apply various communication products to foster greater awareness of and participation in household surveys
  • reviewing and improving communication material and techniques used with household survey respondents
  • continuing to refine the responsive collection design technique and to apply this innovative approach to selected household surveys (Canadian Community Health Survey; Survey of Emergency Preparedness and Resilience in Canada; General Social Survey).
All programs are affected
Reputational risk related to respondent information Any real or perceived breaches of Statistics Canada’s informatics infrastructure or related business processes pose the risk of loss of reputation, credibility, image and public trust. This risk was identified in both the 2012/2013 and the 2013/2014 Reports on Plans and Priorities.

Mitigation strategies identified in the Agency’s Corporate Risk Profile for 2012/2013 to 2013/2014 included
  • continually assessing the current state of informatics infrastructure accessible to the public and monitoring to identify the most vulnerable areas;
  • ensuring that Statistics Canada programs are effectively supported by infrastructure services;
  • continuously reviewing and improving dissemination release procedures and processes through simplification and streamlining;
  • ensuring data stewardship and confidentiality of microdata used for statistical and research purposes, within the Agency as well as in Research Data Centres (RDCs), the Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, and with Real Time Remote Access;
  • ensuring that IT security policies, directives and practices are up to date and take into consideration shared responsibilities with other departments when managing challenges and vulnerabilities;
  • enhancing IT infrastructure security protection and security alignment;
  • training and raising awareness of Statistics Canada employees on matters related to security of classified and designated information.
Actions taken in 2013/2014 with respect to these strategies included
  • ensuring the IT Security Policy continues to conform to Treasury Board Secretariat policy guidelines and accounts for the transfer of IT infrastructure staff and services;
  • ensuring that service level agreements are in place and monitored regularly;
  • developing and deploying tools that help personnel understand their obligations regarding the security of classified and designated information.
All programs are affected
Reputational risk related to communicating data quality There is a risk to Statistics Canada’s reputation as an objective data producer if the information on data quality released for the 2011 Census program is not sufficiently communicated in a way that is informative, objective and transparent to data users.

Mitigation strategies identified in the Agency’s Corporate Risk Profile for 2012/2013 to 2013/2014 included
  • proactively and transparently communicating the results and associated data quality of both the Census of Population and the NHS;
  • making sure that a distinction is made between the nature and scope of the Census of Population and the NHS to inform users and avoid confusion;
  • ensuring that robust processes and systems for edit, imputation and estimation are in place and tested and that, to the extent possible, risks associated with possible non-response bias are addressed, and that mitigation strategies are implemented to meet the schedule for the dissemination of NHS results.
Actions taken in 2013/2014 to advance these strategies included
  • conducting thorough quality assessments for data to be released, and ensuring that communications about NHS data-quality issues were comprehensive, factual, and transparent;
  • producing many reference materials, including coefficients of variation (CVs), for NHS variables at various levels of geography. CVs give users an additional tool to help them understand the data and their reliability at various levels of geography, for small populations, or combinations of small populations and small geographies.
All programs are affected
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