Archived – Program 4: Statistical Infrastructure

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Program description

Statistical infrastructure comprises activities and services that are administered to support a strong statistical system. Professional and Statistical Services include the development of sound statistical methodology, standardized concepts and classifications (including geographic concepts), the development and provision of statistical metadata, the development and maintenance of registers of enterprises and addresses for statistical purposes, and the provision of advice with respect to the Statistics Act and data-sharing agreements. Operational Statistical Services provide support to data collection activities for Statistics Canada's surveys, such as data capture, coding, editing, interviewer hiring and training, and the provision of advice to clients regarding statistical products. The production of Statistics Canada's catalogued publications, online databases and the dissemination of Statistics Canada's official release vehicle The Daily form part of statistical infrastructure. These latter activities comprise Other Statistical Support Services. Research and development activities related to statistical methodology, data collection, and operational activities are also undertaken.

Table 1: Financial Resources (Planned Spending - 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
127,381 127,381 102,319 95,585
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
1,201 901 901

The budget related to the one-time workforce adjustment costs was transferred from all programs to the Statistical Infrastructure Program in 2013-14 in order to be managed centrally. The budget is returned to the programs in 2014-15, accounting for part of the decrease. The remainder of the decrease in 2014-15 is due to program adjustments. This is partially offset by an increase for newly signed collective agreements. The decrease from 2014-15 to 2015-16 is related to a centrally managed reprofiling.

Table 3: Statistical Infrastructure: 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
An infrastructure of statistical services and activities is administered to support an effective statistical system Percentage of programs using methodology services 60%
Percentage of programs using statistical infrastructure services 100%
Percentage of programs using operational statistical services 65%
Table 4: Professional and Statistical Services: 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
Programs within Statistics Canada implement state-of-the-art statistical theory, survey methods, standardized concepts, statistical classifications, and registers in the production of statistical outputs Number of programs that undergo a review of their methodology and/or statistical infrastructure 4
Percentage of programs reviewed to which the methodology and/or statistical infrastructure provided approved solutions 100%
Proportion of the proposed solutions that were adopted by the programs 80%
Table 5: Operational Statistical Services: 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
Subject-matter divisions use modern and state-of-the-art statistical services to support program delivery Percentage of service level agreement components that are met 75%
Percentage of clients who receive the information that they requested 80%
Table 6: Other Statistical Support: 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
Canadians use the Statistics Canada website to meet their information needs Percentage of website visitors that found the information they were looking for 75%
The continuity and quality of Statistics Canada's ongoing programs is being maintained through the integrated strategic planning process Percentage of the investments in the Continuity and Quality Maintenance Investment Plan (CQMIP) implemented as planned 80%

Planning Highlights

The Professional and Statistical Services program provides methodological, IT systems and statistical classification services to programs throughout the Agency. In particular, services are provided to the Corporate Business Architecture (CBA) projects mentioned previously, including, but not limited to, the Integrated Business Statistics Program, the household survey frame project, the use of e-questionnaires and the use of generalized systems. It also provides such services to implement the third year of the multi-year project to improve the CPI program and the SNA Renewal project and historical revision. A new focus this year in line with organizational priorities is increasing the use of administrative data to improve data quality, reduce respondent burden and expand the data series made available to all kinds of users.

Several key activities supporting operational and statistical services started in 2012–13, such as the establishment of the Integrated Collection and Operation System (ICOS) project. Current data collection processes at Statistics Canada are carried out using a wide variety of tools and systems for creating questionnaires; hiring, training, supporting and managing staff engaged in collection activities; and collecting and storing data. Many of these tools have been developed over time in an environment of de-centralized data collection and with little coordination of concepts, methods and systems. Many of these processes also pre-date the development of the new data collection modes that are now being adopted, and which are foundational to Statistics Canada's collection strategy for the future—namely, to encourage respondents to self-respond on the Internet and to collect a declining proportion of responses by telephone interview, personal interview or paper. Maintaining and operating the existing data collection tools is costly and leaves our department vulnerable to the loss of corporate knowledge through attrition. Finally, up until now, the census and ongoing surveys have built and used separate tools to conduct collection. ICOS will deliver a common set of processes and tools that satisfy all collection requirements, which will increase efficiencies further.

The second activity related to operational statistical services is developing and implementing the New Dissemination Model. Over the last number of years, Statistics Canada has played a leading role in statistical data dissemination both nationally and internationally. Our Web presence has become the backbone of our successful dissemination activities in serving a wide audience with a large spectrum of information, products and services. Our current dissemination model is a successful one, but there are a number of business challenges that need to be addressed. The goal of the New Dissemination Model is to modernize our current methods and framework for the coherent dissemination of data to the public, including on the website, with the focus on aggregated statistics. This modernization will be done with a user-centric approach. Elements will include a single output database driving dynamically generated data tables and a radical simplification of our product line ensuring consistency in product availability, presentation and functionality across the different subject-matter areas.

The Government of Canada produces vast amounts of data to support delivery in areas such as health, environment, agriculture and natural resources. The Open Data Portal pilot was developed to create a central location for making government data freely available in machine-readable formats. The pilot stage is now complete and the Government of Canada has announced the next generation of the Open Data Portal. Treasury Board has asked Statistics Canada to house, maintain and build the new version of the Open Data Portal.

Planned activity: Integrated Collection and Operations Systems

The purpose of the ICOS project is to achieve efficiencies through implementing common and standard collection processes and tools for both the census and ongoing surveys. The ICOS project is divided into 11 integrated development teams, which are part of the governance structure. Each team has business leads from various areas and is responsible for providing business requirements as well as working closely with the ICOS project team to ensure the delivery of the components required to collect and process survey data.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Implement an online recruitment application for Statistical Survey Operations employees.
  • Increase the online response option for data collection for business and household surveys.
  • Implement Web-based collection instruments for Statistical Survey Operations employees.

Planned activity: New Dissemination Model

This three-year project, launched in 2012–13, includes

  1. developing a single output data repository to drive dynamically generated data tables
  2. simplifying the product line to ensure consistency in product availability, presentation and functionality across the different subject-matter areas
  3. reviewing the organization of our website and navigation strategy to ensure that our data are easy to find
  4. reviewing the output formats being offered, including consideration for a web data service.

Year 1 of the project, 2012–13, focused on research, wide user consultation and the development of a plan to overhaul our current dissemination model.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Initiate development of proposed systems.
  • Iteratively test the proposed systems.

Planned activity: Open Data Portal Project

As Canada's national statistical office, Statistics Canada is well-positioned to redevelop the Open Data Portal and become the government body to host the portal. This extension to Statistics Canada's portfolio would tie into the Agency's goals and objectives of providing greater access to statistical data for the Canadian public. The goal is for the portal to go live in spring 2013. To develop and deploy the Open Data Portal and its related requirements, a phased delivery approach over a three-year period (2012–13 to 2014–2015) will be applied because of the large scope of the project.

This project will leverage initiatives included in the New Dissemination Model, such as a central metadata registry, search, and content management system. Integrating common services into the Open Data Portal will save government departments time, resources and costs.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Continue to develop, test and implement the Open Data Portal infrastructure and user interface.
  • Maintain the Open Data Portal after launch (e.g., backups, bug fixes, upgrades).
  • Support the various departments using the Open Data Portal, including with the metadata requirements for registering their datasets in the portal.

Planned activity: Develop a corporate approach to foster the increased use of administrative data

Statistics Canada has a long-standing history of using administrative data for economic and social statistics as well as for census and demographic programs. These data can provide high quality input while minimizing the burden on respondents. Statistics Canada recognizes the need to even further reduce the burden on small and medium-sized businesses and to limit its intrusion into the lives of individual Canadians. Further, administrative and secondary data sources yield the potential to develop new information series on new and emerging issues at a reduced cost and without increasing global response burden when compared to traditional statistical surveys. To enhance its use of administrative or secondary data, Statistics Canada will review its practices and use to ensure a consistent, coherent corporate approach to the acquisition, management, use and disposition of such data. In the short term, it is expected that recommendations in the areas of corporate governance, policies, evaluation frameworks and processes will be made to facilitate expanded and innovative use of existing administrative data while fostering the acquisition of new sources.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Conduct an international review of the governance and frameworks for using administrative and secondary data sources.
  • Conduct a review of current internal practices for acquiring, using and managing administrative data.
  • Research developing an evaluation framework for administrative data to more rapidly assess its fitness for use.
  • Make recommendations for process optimization in the area of administrative data use.

Planned activity: Strengthen the corporate information management framework

Information management (IM) is integral to the strategic outcome of the national statistical office—to provide Canadians with access to a trusted source of information.

Statistics Canada's IM Action Plan addresses the highest priority IM challenges that the Agency faces as it pursues the corporate objectives of relevance, trust, access and stewardship. Initiatives are aligned with the priority components of the Enterprise Government of Canada IM Framework: Government of Canada (GC) Information Management (IM) Strategy.

IM continues to be a key principle of the Agency's CBA initiative. The integration of good IM practices into business processes is a key part of several strategic projects. The goal is to facilitate identifying and managing information resources of business value.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Continue to monitor the implementation of the Directive on the Management of Statistical Microdata Files and the Directive on the Management of Aggregate Statistics.
  • Prepare to implement GCDOCS to replace the Document Management Centre by continuing to analyze business processes to identify information resources of business value as well as retention and disposition schedules.
  • Complete the development of a statistical metadata strategy and action plan for implementation.
  • Begin developing the data service centre initiative, which will provide a single corporate approach to registering files, and authorizing and facilitating access to all of the Agency's key statistical holdings by authorized users.

Planned activity: Network Transformation Initiative

All resources associated with the delivery of email, data centre and network services were transferred in 2011–12 from Statistics Canada to Shared Services Canada (SSC). Since then, Statistics Canada has been working with SSC to ensure the ongoing protection of confidential statistical information, in conformity with the Statistics Act.

As SSC prepares for the next phases of transformative change, a challenge for Statistics Canada in 2013–2014 will be to begin integrating its existing email services, where sensitive statistical information is processed or stored, within this government-wide shared service. By the nature of its mandate and the presence of sensitive statistical information, Statistics Canada has a vast suite of applications and data files currently operating on a closed internal network. To be able to operate with a different network topology, to be provided by SSC, significant time and resources will be required to secure hardware and applications.

During 2013–2014, Statistics Canada will work with SSC on how best to plan and implement the integration of Agency programs into a cross-government infrastructure while ensuring the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act. Statistics Canada will prioritize the work with a focus on email services using the limited resources Statistics Canada can allocate to this task.

Specifically
2013–2014

  • Begin integrating its existing email services, where sensitive statistical information is processed or stored, within this government-wide shared service.
  • Work with SSC on how best to plan and implement the integration of Statistics Canada programs into a cross-government infrastructure while ensuring the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act are met.
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