Archived – Program 2: Socio-economic Statistics

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Program description

The Socio-economic Statistics program's purpose is to provide 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. This information is used to inform public debate on socio-economic issues; support social policy development, implementation and evaluation; guide public and private decision making and is the primary source for assessing the impact of changing economic circumstances on Canadians. The information is used extensively to evaluate and cost economic and social policy options and alternatives by federal departments such as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Industry Canada, Justice Canada, Public Safety Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canadian Heritage, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada, as well as provincial governments. The Socio-economic Statistics program supports statistical requirements specified by legislation or regulations in the areas of 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.

Table 1: Financial Resources (thousands of dollars)This table displays, in thousands of dollars, the total main budgetary expenditure estimates for 2013/2014 and planned spending for 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.
Total Budgetary Expenditures (Main Estimates 2013–2014) Planned Spending 2013–2014 Planned Spending 2014–2015 Planned Spending 2015–2016
95,775 95,775 99,778 99,806
Table 2: Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalent—FTE)This table displays human resources in full-time equivalents for 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.
2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016
649 692 692

The budget related to the one-time workforce adjustment costs was transferred to the Statistical Infrastructure Program in 2013-14 in order to be managed centrally. The budget is returned to the program in 2014-15, accounting for part of the increase. The remaining increase from 2013-14 to 2014-15 is the result of newly signed collective agreements.

Table 3: Socio-economic Statistics: Performance Indicators and TargetsThis table displays the program's expected results, performance indicators and targets, and presents definitions of the performance indicators.
Program
Expected Results
Performance Indicators Targets
Public and private sector organizations utilize socio-economic statistics for policy development and for research Percentage of intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations, and others) using the data regularly 100%
Percentage of key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations, and others) satisfied with the data 80%
Table 4: Labour, Education, Income and Tourism Statistics: Performance Indicators and TargetsThis table displays the sub-program's expected results, performance indicators and targets, and presents definitions of the performance indicators.
Sub-program
Expected Results
Performance Indicators Targets
Government policy makers utilize labour, education, income and tourism statistics to make informed decisions. Percentage of intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) using the data regularly 100%
Percentage of key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) satisfied with the data 80%
Number of media citations for each mission-critical program 1,100
Table 5: Health and Justice Statistics: Performance Indicators and TargetsThis table displays the sub-program's expected results, performance indicators and targets, and presents definitions of the performance indicators.
Sub-program
Expected Results
Performance Indicators Targets
Government policy makers utilize health and justice statistics to make informed decisions. Percentage of intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) using the data regularly 100%
Percentage of key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) satisfied with the data 80%
Number of media citations of health and justice statistics 450
Table 6: Demographic, Aboriginal and other Social Statistics: Performance Indicators and TargetsThis table displays the sub-program's expected results, performance indicators and targets, and presents definitions of the performance indicators.
Sub-program
Expected Results
Performance Indicators Targets
Government policy makers utilize demographic, Aboriginal and other social statistics to make informed decisions. Percentage of intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) using the data regularly 100%
Percentage of key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) satisfied with the data 80%
Number of media citations for each mission-critical program 250
Table 7: Analysis of Socio-economic Statistics: Performance Indicators and TargetsThis table displays the sub-program's expected results, performance indicators and targets, and presents definitions of the performance indicators.
Sub-program
Expected Results
Performance Indicators Targets
Government policy makers and public and private sector researchers utilize the results of statistical analyses, models, databases and other statistical information products for informed debate, research and decision-making on socio-economic and health issues. Percentage of key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) satisfied with the analytical products 100%
Number of media citations 100

Planning Highlights

The Social Statistics Program offers information to decision-makers and all Canadians on the demographic, social and economic characteristics of individuals, families and households in Canada, and on the major factors that contribute to their well-being. The program measures household income and expenditure; employment, unemployment and population change; demographic characteristics; ethnocultural diversity; and general social conditions and well-being.

The Social Statistics Program also offers information on topics of specific social policy concern. It covers the justice and education systems, as well as cultural institutions and industries (the nature and extent of their services and operations), the outcomes of the services they provide, and the characteristics of the individual Canadians and families whom they serve. It also measures the health of the population, the determinants of health, and the scope and use of health-care resources.

The demography program enables Statistics Canada to meet its legal obligation to provide the Minister of Finance with annual population estimates that are certified by Canada's Chief Statistician. The estimates are used to determine the amounts payable to the provinces and territories in accordance with the Federal–Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and as per the Territorial Formula Financing. Population estimates are used to administer the Canada Pension Plan Act, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, the Canada Student Loans Act and the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act. In addition, population projections are prepared after each census, based on various assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration. Population projections are used, for example, to assist the planning of programs and policies related to population aging and to components of population growth, such as international migration. Estimates and demographic projections are widely used by all levels of government, the private sector, researchers, and non-governmental organizations.

The Aboriginal statistics component of the demography program activity provides subject-matter expertise, coordination, and integration of the collection, analysis and dissemination of data about Aboriginal people. The topics that are addressed include education, use of Aboriginal languages, health and housing conditions. In this capacity, the Aboriginal statistics component provides information, support and advice to federal departments, as well as to Aboriginal governments and organizations.

In an attempt to fill some of the data gaps regarding the Aboriginal population, including Registered Indians, Statistics Canada will explore the potential of administrative data sources, such as the Indian Register, for use in quality assessments of surveys and for other statistical purposes.

An ongoing threat to the quality of social statistics is the growing difficulty with collecting the information. One significant factor is that technological advances have made it more difficult to reach respondents. Call display and call screening hinder the Agency's ability to get a respondent to answer the telephone. As well, more and more households only have cellphones or use Internet phones. All of this makes it more challenging to ensure representative samples and high response rates. Without further efforts in survey collection, the relevance and quality of data may decline.

The widespread adoption of Internet technologies also creates an opportunity to reach Canadians in new ways. To maintain quality, manage survey costs, and satisfy demands for greater access to data, Statistics Canada is modernizing the infrastructure it uses to collect and disseminate data.

The planned release dates for major economic indicators can be found at Release dates for major economic indicators.

Planned activity: Deliver timely and accurate ongoing social statistics programs

The Social Statistics Program strives to ensure relevant, quality outputs through program renewal, which involves the activities described below. The program also delivers a broad, comprehensive set of survey and administrative data development activities.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Continue to deliver the Social Statistics Program, which includes household surveys (such as the monthly Labour Force Survey, as well as other surveys that yield trends on family income and expenditure, and social conditions), and to conduct establishment-based employment surveys.
  • Produce estimates of Canadians' assets and debts by releasing results from the Survey of Financial Security.
  • Produce information and analytical outputs on key social issues, including immigration, ethnicity, social engagement, families, criminal victimization, gender, Aboriginal people, the labour market, education, economic well-being and social well-being. Produce information related to inputs, outputs and outcomes from the education system, through a mix of household surveys, provincial and territorial sources, and administrative data obtained from various sources (e.g., federal agencies, post-secondary institutions).
  • Maintain the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics as the nucleus of a federal–provincial–territorial partnership for collecting information on the nature and extent of crime, as well as the administration of civil and criminal justice in Canada.
  • Provide statistical information and analysis about the state of Canadians' health through the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Canadian Health Measures Survey (as well as vital statistics, such as births and deaths) as well as through the Canadian Cancer Registry.
  • Launch a new online publication, Insights on Canadian Society, which will feature analytical articles on policy-relevant social and economic issues.
  • Re-base the population estimates on the 2011 Census of Population, and centralize the production of population estimates needed for household survey-weighting purposes.
  • Provide researchers access to social microdata files through various mechanisms, such as the Data Liberation Initiative, the research data centres (RDCs), or through Real Time Remote Access.

Planned activity: Increase support of key policy needs and initiatives

Statistics Canada is developing, in collaboration with stakeholders, information roadmaps to respond to emerging data needs in key areas of social policy, such as justice, the labour market, and household wealth. These 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.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Continue to work with stakeholders to deliver a more flexible and responsive approach to meet their data needs, such as the conduct of rapid responses modules or supplements to existing survey infrastructures.
  • Continue to develop indicators identified in the framework for education statistics in Canada, as approved by the provincial and territorial governments.
  • Release information on Caregivers and Caregiving from the 2012 General Social Survey.
  • Release new data, from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, on the education, employment, and health of Inuit, Métis and off-reserve First Nations populations.
  • Release results of the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, which focuses on the conditions and challenges of Canadians with disabilities.
  • Release the Canadian results from the Program of International Assessment of Adult Competencies.
  • Prepare for the release of the Program of International Student Assessment.
  • Release the first wave of results from the Longitudinal International Study of Adults.
  • Continue to develop a program to analyze offenders' re-contact with the justice system.
  • Begin to update justice surveys to reflect recent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Planned activity: Begin the Labour Force Survey redesign

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is one of the Agency's key activities, given the central role of the data in the management of Canada's economy. This monthly survey is the source of widely used statistics, such as the official unemployment rate. LFS data, the first of Statistics Canada's socio-economic statistics to be published each month, are highly relevant for determining the direction of the economy and the effect of changing economic conditions on Canadians. In particular, the Employment Insurance Act has designated the LFS as the source of monthly unemployment rates used in the administration of the Employment Insurance Program. Approximately $8 billion per year are transferred to individuals on the basis of these rates.

Every 10 years, following a decennial census, the LFS sample is re-designed to maintain its relevance and quality. A review is in progress to determine the scope of the next redesign to ensure the continued reliability of these key statistics. The LFS collection and processing systems need to be upgraded to current technologies and will be in the scope of this re-design.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Start to transition to common processing tools.
  • Review the methodological aspects of the redesign for implementation in 2014.

Planned activity: Release the results of the 2012 Survey of Financial Security

Statistics Canada has ongoing coverage of household income and expenditure data. Measuring families' wealth by collecting information on net worth, or assets minus debts, takes place less often. Wealth has been identified as an important statistical data gap to effectively discuss issues related to pension and income replacement. Several countries have implemented a wealth survey as part of their regular program.

Statistics Canada conducted the first Survey of Financial Security in 1999, providing a comprehensive picture of Canadians' net worth. Information was collected on the value of all major financial and non-financial assets, as well as debt held on mortgages, vehicles, credit cards, student loans and other forms of credit.

Since these data were last collected in 2005, significant changes in the economy, in investment options and strategies, as well as in the tax system have likely had an impact on households' net worth. Statistics Canada has received strong representations from major policy departments, as well as its advisory committees, including the National Statistics Council, that an update to this data is urgently required. To provide up-to-date information on the net worth of Canadian households, Statistics Canada will collect information on financial security in 2012, and will release the results in early 2014.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Process and analyze the data for release in the winter of 2013–2014.

Planned activity: Online data reporting for household surveys

Interest is growing in the Internet as a survey response option, as shown through Statistics Canada's experience with the 2006 and 2011 Censuses of Population—54% of respondents filled out their census form online in 2011. Given this interest, and the potential savings in data-collection costs, the Internet is an option being explored for a larger proportion of household survey respondents.

The General Social Survey will be the first major household survey to introduce an online option. In January 2013, some travellers selected for the International Travel Survey were offered an online option to respond to the survey.

An online option is also in development for the LFS. In 2012–13, a prototype Internet application was used to offer approximately 6,000 households the option to complete the LFS online in a pilot test. A high take-up rate for the LFS, and for other household surveys in the future, could produce collection efficiencies and data quality improvements in coming years.

As part of the redesign for the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), an online option will be developed. A new application will be tested in spring 2014 during the pilot phase of the CCHS redesign project, and will be available to respondents beginning in January 2015.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Offer online response option to General Social Survey respondents for the 2013 Social Identity survey.
  • Continue integrating the online response option for the General Social Survey's cycles.
  • Analyze the full pilot-test results, including not only the LFS, but also some supplementary surveys attached to the LFS infrastructure, such as the Travel Survey of Residents of Canada.
  • Integrate the online response option into the LFS collection operation to offer an Internet response option in 2014.
  • Using lessons learned from the LFS, develop Internet response options for other household surveys, such as the new Cross-sectional Income Survey.
  • Begin work on an online response option for the CCHS.

Planned activity: Expand administrative data use for statistical purposes

Recent technological advances have facilitated and reduced the cost of manipulating large administrative files. There is renewed interest in administrative records as an alternative to the relatively expensive collection costs of statistical surveys and censuses. Using administrative files instead of surveys should reduce respondent burden, though privacy implications are an issue in the forefront of this debate. Finally, rising demand for small area data, which cannot usually be obtained from sample surveys, points to administrative records as a potential alternate source of such data, wherever possible.

Administrative data files are now being used in several social statistical programs, including provincial and territorial vital statistics registries, education, health, justice, employment insurance, and federal administrative data on immigration and income tax.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Assess the Longitudinal Health and Administrative Database to renew its long-term goals and further its utility.
  • Explore the potential to produce more small area data and develop new research venues by linking the data to other surveys or administrative sources.
  • Continue to assess the Indian Registry for statistical purposes.
  • Increase the use of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's administrative files to better inform policies on the integration of immigrants to Canada.
  • Continue to introduce administrative data for statistical purposes in Statistics Canada's RDCs, with the Canadian Cancer Registry and vital statistics data available via the RDC network. The use of the Longitudinal Administrative Databank, by itself, and linked with some education data will be piloted in the federal RDC.

Planned activity: Redesign the Canadian Community Health Survey

The CCHS provides information on the health status, health care utilization and health determinants of the Canadian population 12 years of age and older. Health-related data are available by health region to support community-level policy-making and program development.

CCHS began collecting health information from Canadians in 2001. The survey was initially undertaken every two years and data are available for 2001, 2003 and 2005. The CCHS was redesigned in 2007 so that data could be collected every year.

To ensure its continued relevance and data quality, the CCHS redesign will be completed in 2015. The redesign will include reviewing the content, revising the sampling strategy, and developing an online response option.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Complete consultations with key stakeholders.
  • Undertake a full content review.
  • Develop the sample allocation strategy for 2015.
  • Continue developing an online questionnaire.

Planned activity: Implement the Aboriginal Liaison Program

The Aboriginal Liaison Program serves as a bridge between Statistics Canada and the country's First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities as well as Aboriginal organizations. The program's mandate is to strengthen communications between Statistics Canada, the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, and other stakeholders at the national, regional, provincial and territorial, and community levels, on developing and disseminating Aboriginal statistics.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Increase access to Statistics Canada's data, products and services including improved accessibility for the 2011 Census program.
  • Reach out to Aboriginal people on the value and use of data in planning and understanding the demographic dynamics of their community and population.

Benefits for Canadians

Relevant, timely and accurate information on a broad range of social issues provides decision-makers in all levels of government, as well as those in non-government organizations and in academia, with essential information for developing policies, managing programs, conducting research, and making decisions that affect individuals, families and households in Canada. The Social Statistics Program provides objective statistical information on topics that respond to Canada's evolving and highest-priority data needs.

Social policy and program development are supported through the statistical analysis of social and socio-economic characteristics of individuals, families and households in Canada and the major factors that can contribute to their well-being.

This includes measures of Canada's ethnocultural diversity, through the lens of first- and second-generation Canadians as well as those whose ancestors have been in this country for three generations or more. Subgroups of the population such as recent immigrants, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and minority-language groups also contribute to Canada's ethnocultural diversity. Analyzing the socio-economic status of these groups includes measuring their household income and expenditure, their educational attainment, their employment and unemployment, and factors affecting the labour supply. The Survey of Financial Security is being repeated to address a need for more comprehensive data on income and wealth. Data on labour and income contribute to the SNA, including labour income, monthly GDP, and productivity.

The Social Statistics Program also provides information and analysis on the facilities, agencies and systems that are publicly funded to meet Canadians' socioeconomic and physical needs, and on the outcomes of the services that they provide. It covers the justice and education systems as well as cultural institutions and industries. The program measures the nature and extent of their services and operations, and the characteristics of the individual Canadians and families they serve.

The justice statistics program provides data that are extensively used by partners in the National Justice Statistics Initiative to evaluate changes to the Criminal Code and their potential impact at all levels of government. The police community relies on the timely release of data from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (from which are derived the crime rate and the Crime Severity Index for both youth and adults), and the Homicide Survey and the Police Administration Survey to evaluate their policies and programs. Stakeholders consistently rely on courts data (both criminal and civil) and correctional services data to determine the impact of changes to legislation and specific programming offered to individuals passing through the courts and correctional facilities. Data from these three key justice areas are used collectively by parliamentary budget officers to evaluate the financial costs of legislative change.

The Social Statistics Program also measures the overall health of Canadians and provides essential information on the determinants of health. Key health indicators, including infant mortality, life expectancy, cancer incidence, obesity rates and chronic conditions such as diabetes, are produced on an annual basis to allow Canadians to better understand the performance of the health care system. Specifically, the Canadian Health Measures Survey is being used to create reference intervals for the pediatric population in Canada, which will improve diagnostic capabilities among pediatricians. This survey also provides biomonitoring data to assess Canadians' exposure to environmental chemicals, which will be used by policy-makers to develop appropriate chemical management strategies.

For demographic statistics, population estimates are required on an annual basis to determine the amounts payable under the Federal–Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, including the equalization program, the Canada Health and Social Transfer, and the Wait Times Reduction Transfer. Territorial estimates are also used in the Territorial Formula Financing. In addition, population estimates are now being used to allocate federal seats to provinces following the passing of Bill C-20, the Fair Representation Act.

Population estimates are produced annually and quarterly by province and territory. Demographic projections are derived every five years, following the census. Various assumptions on population fertility, mortality and migration are used to define potential population growth scenarios.

To ensure continuing relevance, the program regularly communicates with stakeholders to identify emerging information needs and adapt existing programs to meet them. Adapting to new technologies, such as those made possible by the Internet, is also important for data collection and dissemination. The upcoming redesign of the LFS touches all of these elements.

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