Reduction of the accumulated response burden

Questions and answers

1. Description of the initiative

In response to recommendations to reduce the administrative burden of business surveys—and thereby reduce the time required to respond—Statistics Canada will implement measures to reduce the number of questions on surveys, cut back on the number of questionnaires sent to small businesses, limit the period in which a small business must remain in a survey sample and reduce the excessive accumulation of response burden on business by exempting businesses for a calendar year collection.

2. How will red tape be reduced?

Red tape will be reduced by providing small businesses whose response burden limits were exceeded during the last three years with a one-year exemption from reporting.

3. What business or types of businesses are included in the exemption? How are they chosen?

The reduction strategy is applied to small businesses only—which represent approximately 96% of all businesses—namely businesses with only one location or in one industry.

The accumulated response burden is defined as the time, measured in hours, a given business needs to take to respond to all questionnaires sent by Statistics Canada over a three-year period.

4. Why is it only a one-year exemption? Why do they have to go back in the survey after a year?

A one-year exemption is sufficient time for a business to be relieved with a minimal impact on the quality of the statistical outputs.

5. How will business benefit?

The identified businesses will be excluded from collection for the next calendar year.

6. How many small businesses are there in total? How many businesses were exempt from responding in 2015?

As of December 2012, there were 1,087,803 small businesses in Canada. Only a small fraction of these businesses are selected to complete a survey. The strategy provides relief to some of these selected businesses whose response burden limits were exceeded. The removal of these businesses from some surveys for a year have a minimal impact on the quality of the statistical outputs..

7. Will the data not be less accurate?

The strategy to reduce the excessive accumulation of response burden on businesses has been developed by Statistics Canada with minimal impact on the quality of the statistical outputs.

8. When did Statistics Canada start exempting businesses to reduce their response burden?

Statistics Canada began exempting businesses as part of the strategy of reducing response burden for businesses in January 1, 2015.

9. Why do you need all this information?

The small business data is the source of some of the government’s key economic measures. This data is used to gauge economic growth and provide governments and the private sector with a number of important economic indicators on which to base decisions.

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