August 15, 2014
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada released today updated estimates for the July 2014 Labour Force Survey. Today’s release replaces the information published August 8.
Statistics Canada recognizes that the Labour Force Survey is a vitally important key economic indicator. To ensure it remains relevant and accurately portrays the Canadian labour market, the Survey goes through a major redesign every 10 years. For this redesign, which began in 2011, Statistics Canada is investing five million dollars. Part of the redesign exercise included a scheduled update to the Labour Force Survey processing system.
During the system change that was implemented with the July release, one program was not updated. This was a human error that resulted in the incorrect processing of some data for July 2014 only. Certain respondents that should have been classified as employed were counted as not in the labour force resulting in an overestimation of job losses in full-time employment. Upon detecting the error, Statistics Canada immediately removed the information, and took measures to review, validate and publish the corrected data promptly on its website. Because Statistics Canada was able to isolate the cause of the error, the Agency is confident in the accuracy of the corrected data.
Statistics Canada applies high standards in every step of the statistical process and takes pride in being transparent with the public when issues arise. Chief Statistician Wayne Smith confirms the Agency’s ongoing commitment to data users. “I am fully confident in the integrity of the Labour Force Survey program. This was an isolated incident. Statistics Canada does and will continue to publish high-quality and relevant statistical information on all aspects of the Canadian economy and society”.
Statistics Canada takes this matter very seriously and has launched an internal review to determine how an error was introduced in implementing a system update and how this error could go undetected. The review will examine internal procedures for implementing process system changes, focussing on the factors that led to this isolated error and identify the measures that need to be implemented to ensure that such errors are avoided in future system updates to the Labour Force Survey, or any other program. The Director General of Methodology and the Director General of Economy-wide Statistics will spearhead the review. The report is expected to be made public within the next two weeks.
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