Archived – Program 3: Censuses

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Program description

The program's purpose is to provide statistical information, analyses and services that measure changes in the Canadian population, demographic characteristics, and the agricultural sector. It serves as a basis for public and private decision making, research and analysis in areas of concern to the people of Canada. The program includes the Censuses of Population and Agriculture. The Census of Population provides detailed information on population sub-groups and for small geographical levels required to assess the effects of specifically targeted policy initiatives and serves as a foundation for other statistical surveys. Population counts and estimates are used in determining electoral boundaries, distribution of federal transfer payments, and the transfer and allocation of funds among regional and municipal governments, school boards and other locally-based agencies within provinces. The Census of Agriculture provides a comprehensive picture of the agriculture sector at the national, provincial and sub-provincial levels and is mandated by the Statistics Act. The program meets statistical requirements specified constitutionally, and supports those in statutory requirements and regulatory instruments. All per capita measures in fiscal policies and arrangements and other economic analysis, and in program and service planning, come from this program's statistical information.

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
11,518 11,518 3,962 1,102
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
128 44 11

The decrease from 2013-14 to 2014-15 and 2015-16 are the result of lower reference levels for the census programs as they wind down.

Table 3: Censuses: 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
Government policy makers use the Census of Population and the Census of Agriculture 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 intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) satisfied with the data 80%
Table 4: Census of Population: 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 use Census of Population data to make informed decisions Percentage of key policy makers that have been consulted to understand their evolving data needs 100%
Percentage of major statistical outputs publicly released as planned 100%
Percentage of intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) using the data regularly 100%
Table 5: Census of Agriculture: 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 use Census of Agriculture data to make informed decisions Percentage of key policy makers that have been consulted to understand their evolving data needs 100%
Percentage of major statistical outputs publicly released as planned 100%
Percentage of intended key users (federal departments, provinces and territories, international organizations and others) using the data regularly 100%

Planning Highlights

For the Census of Population Program, the key activities are releasing the results of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), completing and publishing data quality studies for both the 2011 Census of Population and NHS, and planning for the 2016 Census of Population Program.

The Census of Population provides basic information on population and dwelling counts, which are the basis of the population estimates used in determining electoral boundaries, distributing federal transfer payments, and transferring and allocating funds among regional and municipal governments, school boards and other locally-based agencies within provinces. This data is supplemented by the results of the NHS with details on mobility, ethnicity, labour, education, income, citizenship, immigration, transportation, and dwelling characteristics.

For the 2011 program, collection operations were successfully completed for the Census of Population and NHS in summer 2011. In fiscal year 2011–12, other activities focused on producing results for the Census of Population: edit and imputation, data certification, tabulation, dissemination, and coverage measurement studies in support of data and analytical releases. In fiscal year 2012–13, the major activities were completing data processing, certification and tabulation for NHS, and continuing data quality studies. In 2013–2014, the major activities will be completing the data quality studies and disseminating three major releases for NHS. As well, final estimates of net undercoverage for the 2011 Census of Population are planned for release in September 2013.

For the 2016 program, an interim funding allocation for fiscal years 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 is required to plan, design, develop and test systems and processes before 2016, and to maintain essential infrastructure. Starting in 2013, Statistics Canada must conduct a series of live tests to validate key planning assumptions, processes and systems. In spring 2013, options regarding the size and scope of the 2016 program will be developed.

The Census of Agriculture provides a comprehensive picture of the agriculture sector at the national, provincial, territorial and subprovincial levels, and is mandated by the Statistics Act. Economic data series derived from the census serve as a benchmark for the annual estimates required by the SNA to form the GDP agriculture component required by the Fiscal Arrangements Act.

Departments such as Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Environment Canada, Health Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada require agriculture data to support objectives contained in their respective legislation or regulations, and to craft policies to meet their mandates. On an international level, Canada is a member of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. FAO is primarily the organization through which the international agriculture commitments Canada makes are carried out, as with several recent G20 initiatives. The FAO requires each country to produce and share agriculture data. Canada also participates in several bi- and multi-lateral trade agreements, which require sound agriculture statistics for when they are drafted, for the continued participation in trade and for the settlement of trade disputes when they arise. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture requires that Canada adhere to certain standards for international trade and identifies how trade disputes are handled. These standards require the use of agriculture data, particularly during trade disputes.

The key activity in 2013–2014 for the Census of Agriculture is to release all remaining products for the 2011 Census and start planning for the 2016 Census.

Planned activity: Release the results from the 2011 National Household Survey

The 2011 NHS produces social and economic information that communities, businesses and all levels of government use to plan services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, roads and public transportation, and skills training for employment.

The NHS results will be disseminated to Canadians in 2013. A dissemination strategy has been designed to provide data products and analysis that showcase the relevance of NHS data and that respond to a wide range of user needs.

A schedule of the 2011 NHS major releases can be found at http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/index-eng.cfm.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Complete data processing for NHS, including edit and imputation, certification and tabulation.
  • Continue data quality studies.
  • Release NHS results.
  • Finish evaluating the lessons learned from NHS.

Planned activity: Release final estimates of coverage error for the Census of Population

Coverage errors occur when people or dwellings are enumerated in error or missed during the census collection period of the 2011 Census of Population. Estimates of coverage error are an important element in evaluating the Census of Population and an essential input to Statistics Canada's population estimates program. These coverage results supplement census data, which are used to produce population estimates, which in turn are used to improve the efficiency and quality of other social and household surveys. Final estimates of coverage error will be released in September 2013.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Complete data processing, analysis and evaluation to release final estimates of coverage error in September 2013.

Planned activity: Release all remaining products for the 2011 Census of Agriculture

In 2013–2014, the Census of Agriculture will release all remaining products for the 2011 Census.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Analyze and release data from the Agriculture-Population Linkage Database.
  • Benchmark the farm financial data series to the 2011 Census.

Planned activity: Planning for the 2016 Census of Population Program and the Census of Agriculture

In preparation for 2016, in 2011–12, Statistics Canada reviewed international methodological approaches and their applicability to the Canadian context and identified possible approaches to conduct the 2016 Census of Population and Census of Agriculture.

In 2012–13, the findings of these reviews as well as the results from evaluating the 2011 censuses and NHS will enable Statistics Canada to frame specific options for 2016 that will respond to the need for relevant, timely and quality information while respecting respondent privacy and reducing respondent burden.

An interim funding allocation for 2012–13 and 2013–2014 is required to plan, design, develop and test systems and processes before 2016, and to maintain essential infrastructure. Starting in 2013, Statistics Canada must conduct a series of live tests to validate key planning assumptions, processes and systems.

The Census of Agriculture is conducted to develop a statistical portrait of Canada's farms and their operators. The data offer a full picture of the major commodities of the agriculture industry, farm finances, use of technology, and new or less common crops and livestock.

In terms of content development, an assessment will be done on the feedback received from data users in the 2016 Census of Population Program content consultations that were held in fall 2012. Qualitative testing of content will begin in 2013, leading to a content test in May 2014.

In 2013, options regarding the size and scope of the 2016 census programs will be developed.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Continue evaluating the 2011 Census of Population, Census of Agriculture and NHS.
  • Develop an improved structure and transparent process to determine the content of the 2016 census programs, and develop a corresponding methodology.
  • Develop a collection methodology that uses the Internet as the primary mode of data collection.
  • Evaluate data users' feedback from content consultations and conduct qualitative testing.
  • Investigate how administrative sources could improve the quality and efficiency of the 2016 Census of Population Program or reduce respondent burden.
  • Investigate how administrative sources and technologies such as remote sensing could improve the quality and efficiency of the agriculture statistics program, including the Census of Agriculture.

Planned activity: Prepare recommendations on the use of income tax data for future censuses of agriculture

When Treasury Board approved funding for the full cycle of the 2011 Census of Agriculture in April 2008, included was a strategic investment project to assess the feasibility of using tax data to replace the financial data currently being collected from respondents. The assessment will link respondent-provided 2011 Census of Agriculture financial data with the data on their agricultural operations filed with the Canada Revenue Agency. The project's results will serve as a basis for determining the financial content and methodology for the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Prepare specifications and begin modifying collection and processing systems and processes to accommodate tax data replacement for certain financial questions on the Census of Agriculture.

Benefits for Canadians

Decennial Census of Population data have been constitutionally required for determining the number and boundaries of federal electoral districts. Determining electoral boundaries still depends on decennial Census of Population data; however, recent changes to the Constitution Act and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act mean that determining the number of electoral seats among the provinces now depends on the population estimates program. The population estimates, in turn, depend on the results of a quinquennial census program.

Further, the demographic, social and economic data that the census program collects on the Canadian population are needed to meet the priority information needs of government and the private sector. The census program provides unique and essential data to support

  • analysis of populations that are key targets of government policy (e.g., recent immigrants; visible minorities; Aboriginal peoples, including First Nations communities; ethnic, religious and language minorities; seniors and youth)
  • provincial, territorial and local government planning and program delivery, by providing detailed small-area information to monitor progress on issues such as rural population decline, infrastructure investments by all levels of government, and the changing makeup of neighbourhoods
  • Statistics Canada's ongoing household survey program
  • analysis of social and economic issues, such as the skills shortage and the integration and settlement of recent immigrants
  • federal legislation.

The Census of Agriculture is critical for developing and evaluating programs and policies related to food supply and safety, the environment, renewal, science and innovation, and business risk management. It contributes both directly with data and indirectly by supporting the annual Agricultural Statistics Program. The Census of Agriculture provides a comprehensive source of data that is the foundation for the analysis of the agriculture and agri-food industry done by federal and provincial departments. Direct federal and provincial payments to the agriculture sector have totalled approximately $4 billion annually in recent years.

Census of Agriculture data are used by provincial, territorial and municipal governments, local-level organizations and agencies (e.g., conservation authorities), farmers' associations (e.g., the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union), academics (e.g., sociologists, economists and agronomists), specialized agriculture media and the general media.

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