Section 1: Organizational overview

Organizational profile

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development: The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.

Institutional head: Anil Arora

Ministerial portfolio: Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Enabling instruments:

Year of incorporation / commencement: The Dominion Bureau of Statistics was established in 1918. In 1971, with the revision of the Statistics Act, the Agency became Statistics Canada.

Other:

Under the Statistics Act, Statistics Canada is required to collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and conditions of the people of Canada.

The Agency has two primary objectives:

  • to provide statistical information and analysis of the economic and social structure and functioning of Canadian society, as a basis for the development, operation and evaluation of public policies and programs, for public and private decision making, and for the general benefit of all Canadians
  • to promote the quality, coherence and international comparability of Canada's statistics through collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, with the provinces and territories, and in accordance with sound scientific standards and practices.

Statistics Canada's head office is located in Ottawa. There are regional offices across the country—in Halifax, Sherbrooke, Montréal, Toronto, Sturgeon Falls, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. As well, there are 27 Research Data Centres (RDCs) located throughout the country. RDCs provide researchers with access, in a secure university setting, to microdata from population and household survey programs. Canadians can follow the Agency on Twitter, and view content on the Agency's Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Organizational context

Raison d'être and responsibilities

Statistics Canada was established to ensure that Canadians have access to a trusted source of statistics on Canada to meet their highest priority information 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.

Through the Constitution Act, 1867, “census and statistics” became a federal jurisdiction. Today, Parliament exercises its responsibility for the census and statistics, primarily through the Statistics Act. The Act created Statistics Canada as Canada's national statistical office, and established the Agency's mandate, powers and obligations. The Agency can use both surveys and administrative recordsFootnote 1 to conduct its work. In tandem with these powers, Statistics Canada is also charged with ensuring the confidentiality of information in its hands, and with limiting the use of that information to statistical purposes.

Finally, to promote the efficiency of the national statistical system, Statistics Canada has a mandate to collaborate with other government departments, along with provincial and territorial governments, to develop a well-integrated, coherent, national system of statistics that minimizes duplication and reporting burden on households and businesses.

Statistics Canada also has a mandate, under the Corporations Returns Act, to collect and publish information on inter-corporate ownership in Canada, notably foreign ownership of Canadian enterprises.

Numerous federal and provincial laws and regulations specifically require information from Statistics Canada. Some key examples are the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Income Tax Act (the Consumer Price Index), the Employment Insurance Act (small-area employment and unemployment estimates), the Federal–Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (numerous economic and demographic measures), the regulations to the Official Languages Act (census data on official languages) and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act (census data on local area population counts).

Strategic outcomes and program alignment architecture

Strategic outcome 1: Canadians have access to timely, relevant and quality statistical information on Canada's changing economy and society for informed debate, research and decision making on social and economic issues.

  • Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
    • Sub-program 1.1: Macro Accounts (System of National Accounts)
    • Sub-program 1.2: Industry Statistics
    • Sub-program 1.3: Economy-wide Business Statistics
    • Sub-program 1.4: Environmental Statistics
    • Sub-program 1.5: Analysis of Economic and Environmental Statistics
  • Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
    • Sub-program 2.1: Labour, Education, Income and Tourism Statistics
    • Sub-program 2.2: Health and Justice Statistics
    • Sub-program 2.3: Demographic, Aboriginal and other Social Statistics
    • Sub-program 2.4: Analysis of Socio-economic Statistics
  • Program 3: Censuses
    • Sub-program 3.1: Census of Population Program
    • Sub-program 3.2: Census of Agriculture
  • Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
    • Sub-program 4.1: Professional Statistical Services
    • Sub-program 4.2: Operational Statistical Services
    • Sub-program 4.3: Continuity and Quality Maintenance Program

Strategic outcome 2: Specific client needs for high-quality and timely statistical services are met.

  • Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical ServicesFootnote 2
    • Sub-program 5.1: Cost-recovered Services related to Economic and Environmental Statistics
    • Sub-program 5.2: Cost-recovered Services related to Socio-economic Statistics
    • Sub-program 5.3: Cost-recovered Services related to the Censuses
    • Sub-program 5.4: Cost-recovered Services related to Statistical Infrastructure

Internal Services

Operating environment and risk analysis

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.

Changing technology has altered how the Agency interacts with users and providers of information. New technologies affect both the Agency's multi-modal collection strategy and its approach to dissemination. The proliferation of data producers increases the potential use of alternative information sources to replace, complement or supplement survey programs with the goals of 1) reducing program costs, 2) reducing response burden on Canadians and their businesses, and 3) providing additional statistical and analytical outputs.

Current government-wide modernization activities seek to transform and improve federal programs, services and internal operations, and to reduce overall government infrastructure costs. These include the creation of Shared Services Canada to provide information technology infrastructure and to implement whole-of-government solutions.

The following risks were identified in the 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities.

Key risks
Risk Risk response strategy Link to the organization's programs
The timely delivery of key statistical programs is adversely affected by inadequate or insufficient information technology services. Statistics Canada worked collaboratively with all of its service providers. The Agency mitigated associated risks by working through joint governance arrangements to garner support and commitment to Statistics Canada's priorities; prioritized the Agency's requirements for infrastructure services for major projects and established rigorous corporate change-management processes to avoid scope creep and delays in development; identified clear responsibilities, deliverables and timetables; and allowed sufficient time to accommodate external decision-making processes. All programs are affected.
An error in a major statistical report or program leads to a loss of credibility. Credibility is of paramount importance to Statistics Canada because stakeholders and Canadians must have confidence in the information produced by the Agency. This risk was mitigated by performing thorough analysis and evaluations of breaks-in-series; testing processes in a rigorous manner; ensuring robust data validation strategies in all major statistical programs; and implementing a variety of actions relating to governance, communication, documentation, diagnostics and testing protocols. All programs are affected.
Falling household survey response rates may affect results. Statistics Canada continued to innovate to meet respondent preferences—for example, by making greater use of multi-mode data-collection vehicles such as e-questionnaires and mobile-device-friendly applications. In addition, the Agency continued to seek administrative data alternatives to replace respondent-based information. Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Sub-program 2.1: Labour, Education, Income and Tourism Statistics
Sub-program 2.2: Health and Justice Statistics
Sub-program 2.3: Demographic, Aboriginal and other Social Statistics
Sub-program 2.4: Analysis of Socio-economic Statistics
Sub-program 4.1: Professional and Statistical Services
Sub-program 5.2: Cost-recovered Services related to Socio-economic Statistics
A release of confidential information leads to a loss of public trust. The protection of data confidentiality is a fundamental duty of Statistics Canada and its employees. The risk identified was mitigated by ensuring that the state of the informatics infrastructure accessible to the public was assessed on a continual basis; that security and dissemination practices were regularly reviewed and improved; and that confidentiality and security were always top priorities for Agency personnel. All programs are affected.
Statistics Canada's ability to access and use administrative data is reduced. The identified risk was mitigated by continuing to uphold a strong commitment to data security and confidentiality protection; by clearly communicating both the value of statistical data and the extent of reduction of response burden made possible by administrative data; and by increasing outreach and communication activities. All programs are affected.

Organizational priorities

The following priorities relate to areas of focus identified in the Minister's mandate letter. The mandate letter included commitments to restore the long-form census, update the legislation governing Statistics Canada, and improve the quality of publicly-available data in Canada.

Priority: Deliver the ongoing statistical program in conformity with Statistics Canada's Quality Assurance Framework

Description: The Statistics Act directs the Agency to collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic, and general activities and conditions of the people of Canada. Statistics Canada also has constitutional and legislative obligations to conduct a census of population every five years, and a legal requirement to conduct a census of agriculture every five years. The censuses produce a statistical portrait of the Canadian population and the agriculture sector. The data are widely used by all levels of government to support legislation, regulations, policies and programs.

Priority Type:Footnote 3 Ongoing

Table 2a - Key supporting initiatives
Table summary - This table describes the planned initiatives for the priority (row headers), and indicates its start date, end date, status and the link to the organization's programs (column headers).
Priority: Deliver the ongoing statistical program in conformity with Statistics Canada's Quality Assurance Framework
Planned initiatives Start date End date Status Link to the organization's programs
Deliver the ongoing program of economic and social indicators. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Complete planning and initial collection of the 2016 Census of Population and the 2016 Census of Agriculture. April 2015 March 2016 Completed Program 3: Censuses
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Internal Services
Make significant investments in the redesign of a number of major programs, such as the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Labour Force Survey. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Develop, conduct and maintain a robust quality-assurance program. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Ensure that all survey documentation is up to date so that data users can properly interpret and use these data. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 3: Censuses
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Internal Services
Use social media platforms to better inform data users and other stakeholders about developments in Statistics Canada's program. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Internal Services
Progress toward the priority
A number of initiatives under this priority were accomplished. The Quality Assurance Framework continued to be followed and enhanced by the Agency. These initiatives are ongoing, and work continues in these areas. The accomplishments in this area align with the government's mandate of restoring the long-form census and improving the quality of publicly-available data.

Priority: Respond to the emerging and evolving information needs of data users and stakeholders

Description: To maintain the relevance of its programs, Statistics Canada must respond to the evolving information needs of its data users and other stakeholders.

Priority Type: Ongoing

Table 2b - Key supporting initiatives
Table summary - This table describes the planned initiatives for the priority (row headers), and indicates its start date, end date, status and the link to the organization's programs (column headers).
Priority: Respond to the emerging and evolving information needs of data users and stakeholders
Planned initiatives Start date End date Status Link to the organization's programs
Introduce or pilot new surveys in areas such as advanced technologies, children's health, job vacancies and wages. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services
Enhance the coordination and documentation of consultations with users and stakeholders. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 3: Censuses
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Redesign major survey programs to ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Continue to introduce and implement relevant standards such as the new International Monetary Fund standard for government finance statistics. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Progress toward the priority
A number of initiatives under this priority were accomplished. The introduction of new and redesigned surveys allowed the Agency to respond to emerging and evolving information needs of data users and stakeholders. These initiatives are ongoing, and work continues in these areas. The accomplishments in this area align with the government's mandate of improving the quality of publicly-available data.

Priority: Operate a responsive program that effectively satisfies ad hoc statistical requests on a cost-recovery basis

Description: By undertaking cost-recovery work, Statistics Canada can meet the needs of users (federal, provincial and territorial institutions, and other clients) where the data are not provided as part of a core program. In so doing, Statistics Canada can also fulfill its second strategic outcome—namely, that specific client needs for high-quality and timely statistical services are met.

Priority Type: Ongoing

Table 2c - Key supporting initiatives
Table summary - This table describes the planned initiatives for the priority (row headers), and indicates its start date, end date, status and the link to the organization's programs (column headers).
Priority: Operate a responsive program that effectively satisfies ad hoc statistical requests on a cost-recovery basis
Planned initiatives Start date End date Status Link to the organization's programs
Ensure that Statistics Canada's Centre for Special Business Projects and Special Surveys Division continue to be centres of expertise and coordination in providing cost-recovery services related to business statistics and social statistics. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services
Continue moving Statistics Canada's research data centres towards a centralized information technology infrastructure. Ongoing Ongoing Not funded/delayed Program 5: Cost-recovered Statistical Services
Progress toward the priority
Funding for the centralized information technology infrastructure has not yet been approved. The other initiatives under this priority were successfully accomplished. Statistics Canada's Centre for Special Business Projects and Special Surveys Division continued to deliver high-quality services for cost-recovery projects. This accomplishment aligns with the government's mandate of improving the quality of publicly-available data in Canada.

Priority: Enhance the efficiency, responsiveness and robustness of the Agency's operations

Description: Statistics Canada must always exercise sound stewardship of the funds entrusted to it by Canadians. Statistics Canada must make itself ready to mount new programs quickly and to deliver quality results in useful time frames for decision makers. Canadians and Canadian institutions expect that Statistics Canada will minimize the burden placed on them by surveys.

Priority Type: Ongoing

Table 2d - Key supporting initiatives
Table summary - This table describes the planned initiatives for the priority (row headers), and indicates its start date, end date, status and the link to the organization's programs (column headers).
Priority: Enhance the efficiency, responsiveness and robustness of the Agency's operations
Planned initiatives Start date End date Status Link to the organization's programs
Continue with the Corporate Business Architecture initiative, and develop approaches and strategies to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies by standardizing, harmonizing and re-using solutions where appropriate. Ongoing Ongoing On track 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
Enhance and update the Departmental Investment Plan to make it comprehensive and to ensure the long-term viability of programs. Ongoing Ongoing Completed Internal Services
Maintain strong recruitment and development programs to ensure a highly effective, engaged and innovative work force. Ongoing Ongoing On track Internal Services
Continue to support cross-government initiatives such as Open Government. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 3: Censuses
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Internal Services
Increase the use of administrative data to complement survey data where appropriate. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 3: Censuses
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Continue to improve the timeliness of statistical outputs. Ongoing Ongoing On track Program 1: Economic and Environmental Statistics
Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics
Program 3: Censuses
Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure
Progress toward the priority
A number of initiatives under this priority were accomplished. The continued harmonization of the Corporate Business Architecture and the use of administrative data allowed the Agency to accomplish more with current resources. The initiatives associated with this priority are ongoing, and work continues in these areas. This accomplishment aligns with the government's commitment to a strong focus on results and its mandate to improve the quality of publicly-available data in Canada.

For more information on organizational priorities, see the Ministers' mandate letters.

Notes

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