Results: what we achieved

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Statistical information


Statistics Canada produces objective, high-quality statistical information for the whole of Canada. The statistical information produced relates to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic, environmental and general activities and conditions of the people of Canada.


Statistics Canada has always fostered a culture of innovation. Change is constant, and the agency's modernization journey will continue to change the way it does business to meet the needs of Canadians.

The modernization journey revolves around five key pillars, which were developed in collaboration with stakeholders and data users to better understand their information needs.

  • Ensure staff are empowered in a modern and flexible workplace
  • Provide user-centric service delivery to focus resources on what clients want and need today
  • Collaborate and engage with partners, share expertise, and increase access to data
  • Help build statistical capacity with partners and foster data literacy among Canadians so they can effectively use the agency's data
  • Use leading-edge methods.

The agency helped Canadians understand the story behind the data through many statistical capacity, data literacy and communications initiatives. Assisted by new methods and numerous collaborative partnerships, the agency expanded its data holdings and access to data. At the same time, the agency properly managed risks, prepared for the 2021 Census and delivered on key priorities, such as providing more disaggregated data on topics such as gender, region and ethnicity.

In 2019–20, Statistics Canada was able to adapt quickly to the new reality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the advances it had already made toward a modern and flexible workplace.

Modern and flexible workplace

As part of its modernization initiative, Statistics Canada changed the way it works, manages its teams and meets organizational goals, including risk mitigation. This transformation brought about a cultural shift, in line with Blueprint 2020, by focusing on building a modern, capable and high-performing workforce.

A corporate culture change was initiated to make Statistics Canada a more agile, flexible and responsive organization. The agency's vision of a modern and flexible workplace is a workplace that fosters a culture of innovation and connectivity, and that improves how it and its mobile employees leverage digital technology and space.

The agency introduced four new culture values: curious and always learning, purposeful, trustworthy, and caring and inclusive. These values were designed to help guide employees throughout the modernization journey. A wide range of activities took place during 2019–20 to help promote these values, including a learning fair, panel discussions and the development of a Culture Passport.

The agency's ability to react to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the progress made in this cultural change. Statistics Canada established a COVID-19 Task Force on January 27, 2020, before the pandemic hit North America, to monitor the latest information globally and within Canada. When the Ontario government announced that citizens must take exceptional public health measures to protect themselves from the virus, the agency transitioned to an entirely remote workforce on March 13, 2020. This included successfully transitioning approximately 7,500 employees to remote working overnight, and invoking only 12% of the agency's business continuity plans. All 22 mission-critical operations were kept fully operational within the existing bandwidth and remote access capabilities. Communications to all staff and senior management continued daily throughout March 2020 to keep employees informed of changing business operations and health and safety measures.

Statistics Canada has also activated new programs that provide critical specialized data and statistics that are needed to accurately model and track important topics, such as personal protective equipment, contact tracing, and targeted economic and social statistics. These new programs inform decision makers on the current situation in Canada and how to adjust their policies to best suit the needs of Canadians on a daily basis.

Mitigating risk in an agile manner

To meet Canadians' current and emerging data needs in a timely, responsive and agile manner, Statistics Canada continuously monitors its internal and external environment to develop risk mitigation strategies. The agency has a flexible integrated risk management framework to systematically identify, understand, manage, monitor and communicate risk. With the new corporate culture in mind, the agency identified several key potential risks for 2019–20:

  • the loss of relevance and responsiveness
  • the impact of modernization and transformation initiatives
  • the loss of public trust
  • statistical errors; and
  • breaches in confidentiality

To address these risks, the agency continued to adapt and to evolve its governance oversight by implementing a principled performance model and by creating a Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Division that will offer a well-coordinated and integrated approach to reliably achieve objectives while addressing uncertainty and acting with integrity. More specifically, during 2019–20, the GRC Division implemented key principles for risk-based governance to increase the effectiveness of the internal governance structure. This included ensuring that governance is informed by risk, and assigning clear accountabilities to each committee to drive strategy to reach identified strategic outcomes. Namely, the agency

  • refreshed and streamlined the internal governance structure for tier-level committees
  • clarified the terms of reference for all existing and newly formed committees to ensure strategic, risk-based governance with focused work plans
  • developed standardized processes and tools to effectively and efficiently manage governance committee meetings and track performance.

To complement internal governance systems, the agency also relied on the advice and recommendations of external governance bodies, such as the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) and the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council (CSAC). The DAC provides assurances on the adequacy and effectiveness of Statistics Canada's management systems, and the CSAC provides information to the Chief Statistician and the Minister on the overall health of the national statistical system.

With their inaugural meeting in July 2019, the Advisory Council on Ethics and Modernization of Microdata Access (ACEMMA) provided guidance to Statistics Canada on data access, privacy and data governance to maintain and support the data needs of Canadians. The ACEMMA has a wealth of knowledge and experience in ethics and will help support the agency's overall risk mitigation strategy when considering new data sources.

The agency sought to further strengthen the trust of Canadians by showing how it protects their privacy every day. In 2019–20, through the Trust Centre, and social media platforms, the agency released an infographic called Administrative data: Why it matters to you, and five infobytes based on Joe Anonymous, a video that makes these important concepts accessible to all Canadians in a visual format. The Trust Centre, is managed in a responsive manner, with new material added regularly.

As a further step, the agency made investments—both technological and methodological—to ensure the reliability, timeliness, scalability and security of its data.

  • The agency developed a Confidentiality Classification Tool, which classifies confidential data against a set standard along a continuum of disclosure and sensitivity risk.
  • The Statistics Canada Quality Guidelines were updated and published. This document brings together improved guidelines and checklists for issues to be considered in the pursuit of high-quality statistics.
  • Errors in The Daily were minimal because of improved internal procedures, including increased automation and more rigorous monitoring.
  • Security training continued to be a priority for new and existing employees, and was reinforced and validated with regular physical security sweeps. The use of more engaging and user-friendly communications continued.

User-centric service delivery

Statistics Canada's focus on user-centric service delivery is about ensuring that users have the information they want when they want it and how they want it. Through engagement and outreach activities, Statistics Canada learned that Canadians wanted more visuals, which make the data easier to understand. However, many partners with higher data-literacy skills still wanted data tables.

To meet Canadians' diverse range of needs, the agency provided information on its website in various formats, including data tables, infographics, interactive maps and other data visualizations.

In 2019–20, Canadians could access 37,254 data products on the Statistics Canada website and 7,368 data tables through the open government portal. In 2019–20, there were just under 20.3 million visits to the agency's website—making it one of the most visited federal government websites. For users who preferred to obtain data through application program interfaces (APIs), the agency received over an average of 250,000 API calls per month.

The agency has created a number of portals to improve user experience. These portals are gateways or hubs for accessing all Statistics Canada's information on a particular subject. In 2019–20, 21 new portals were created. In 2018–19, there were just two. These new portals provide improved access to data on the motor vehicle sector, seniors and aging, Indigenous peoples, poverty, health, housing, price indexes, education, courts, correctional services, economic accounts, agriculture and food, business and consumer services, travel and tourism, and culture statistics.

Data visualizations, including online interactive tools and static infographics, provide data to Canadians in an easy-to-use and visually appealing format. In 2019–20 alone, the agency added 89 infographics, bringing the agency total to 251 infographics.

Similarly, to meet the needs of Canadians, the number of interactive data visualization tools continued to climb. Out of the agency's total of 82 data visualization tools, 39 were created in 2019–20. This fiscal year, visualization tools were created for a broad range of themes, including transportation, immigration, income, crime, education, imports and exports, price indexes, retail commodities, Internet use, gross domestic product, trade, and housing statistics.

Videos were used more often and more strategically, with 30 weekly videos released on gross domestic product, the Consumer Price Index and the Labour Force Survey. More than 30 other videos were created for tailored subjects, such as data in a changing world, modernizing to serve Canadians, the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, and the faces of Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada also provided Canadians with data insights through 1,229 articles in The Daily, the agency's official release bulletin and the first line of communication with the media and the public. The agency also published 48 issues of The Weekly Review, a summary of the week's top statistical stories, released on the last working day of each week. This product further increases the accessibility of data released through The Daily.

Many Canadians look to obtain statistics through the news media. The media relations team responded to over 2,200 media inquiries and recorded more than 56,000 mentions of Statistics Canada in the national media.

To improve user experience, the My StatCan feature allows subscribers to customize their view of the agency's website, select specific publications and data products, and receive customizable data through email. Over 59,000 data users subscribed to My StatCan in 2019–20, a 7.2% increase in subscribers and 5.3% above the target for the year.

In 2019–20, Statistics Canada improved its ability to share its work through an increased digital presence and increased outreach. The agency now has a presence on Reddit and Instagram, in addition to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Similarly, the agency shared over 2,500 social media publications in 2019–20, and its posts reached over 12.2 million online users. These users engaged with the agency's social media posts over 350,000 times.

In 2019–20 Statistics Canada translated over 6 million words—this ensured Canadians could access to all the agency's information in the official language of their choice. In addition, the agency promoted the use of both official languages through regular messages and activities, including the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act.

The 2021 Census: New content to count everyone

The census is the largest program at Statistics Canada and has focused on a user-centric delivery model for many cycles. During 2019–20, preparations for the 2021 Census included numerous consultations and partnership activities to ensure that users have the data they need.

Building on the previous year's work of consultations and qualitative testing, in 2019–20, the census questionnaires were tested quantitatively during the 2019 Census Test. The 2019 Census Test evaluated changes to the wording and flow of some questions, as well as the potential addition of new questions. The test also incorporated the evaluation of new communications material and variations to further improve collection methods. The content was tested by a sample of nearly 135,000 households and was reviewed by nine analysis panels.

Agency officials also met with representatives of 14 federal departments and other interested organizations. To better understand the needs of Indigenous organizations and communities, more than 60 in-person discussions were held in 30 Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Canada, with more than 400 contributors. Statistics Canada also met with individuals from organizations representing official language minority communities, organizations representing or providing services to Canadians with disabilities, immigrant and ethnic communities and organizations, LGBTQ2 communities, academia, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

Based on the findings from consultations and discussions, Statistics Canada proposed changes to census content to respond to key priorities identified by participants. This included new questions on sex at birth, gender, veterans, minority language rights-holders, Indigenous identity, multiple modes of transportation, and labour market activities. These questions were added so that everyone can see themselves in the census—a key desire heard from Canadians. The 2021 Census will also include new labour and commuting questions. Understanding the changing nature of the labour market and the skills people bring to it is critical for Canada to remain competitive in a global market economy.

“For many decades, we have worked very closely with Statistics Canada. Our countries are very similar in our census: vast geographies and our need to work closely with First Nations people in our work. The StatCan collection innovations that we have mirrored have brought us better outcomes for our populations who have benefitted from greater choice in the ways we interact.”

Chris Libreri
General Manager, Census Division
Australian Bureau of Statistics

This rigorous testing in 2019–20 set the stage for a 2021 Census that will provide accurate data needed to support Canadian communities as they evolve, adapt and continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, data from the 2016 Census have been key to the emergency response. In the early days of the pandemic, crucial demographic information on vulnerable populations was provided to public health authorities and emergency services officials. This information was instrumental in informing policy making in the context of the pandemic, and helped guide decisions on where government support was most needed.

Census data users are asking for more information, delivered at an increasingly granular level. Given the work completed in 2019–20, Statistics Canada is prepared to meet these needs while continuing to listen to and engage broadly with organizations and individuals representing various government departments, Indigenous leadership, the general public, communities, the private sector and academics to ensure that the agency remains in touch with the interests and needs of Canadians.

As Statistics Canada progressed with its preparations for the 2021 Census, the agency supported the positive outcomes of the live 2019 Census Behaviour Test to improve statistical and operational processes and the risk posture for the 2021 Census. This was a critical step in ensuring that the 2021 Census collects and disseminates relevant data of the highest quality to support evidence-based decision-making by public and non-public sector users within Canadian society. Statistics Canada worked in close collaboration with Shared Services Canada to take steps to ensure key infrastructure is in place to deliver the 2021 Census.

Collaboration and engagement with partners

A key pillar of the agency's modernization framework is collaboration and engagement with partners, including the sharing of expertise and expanded access to data. During 2019–20, Statistics Canada continued to increase collaboration and engagement.

In the summer of 2019, the agency expanded its focus on collaboration and engagement with partners through organizational changes that included creating a corporate Strategic Engagement Field, led by a new assistant chief statistician and guided by a new innovative strategy.

To foster increased collaboration with other external organizations, many speeches and special outreach and engagement events occurred. Specific external audiences included international statistical officials visiting the agency, and organizations such as the Empire Club, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and affiliate members, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Research Data Centre Network, and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Statistics Canada took a leadership role on the international stage. Its collaboration with various partners resulted in significant successes and milestones over the past fiscal year. For example, for the Conference of European Statisticians (CES), Statistics Canada led an in-depth review on measuring well-being in digital society, which covered data collection practices in 40 countries. The Chief Statistician and other executives assumed the role of chairperson for multiple international groups. In 2019–20, Statistics Canada assumed the roles of chair, co-chair or member for 14 out of the 18 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe CES working groups.

Creating and sharing data through new partnerships and collaboration

Statistics Canada increased the number of collaborative projects and the sharing of new information during 2019–20. These projects ranged in size, length and formality. During 2019–20, Statistics Canada entered into 1,700 formal agreements with cost-recovery clients and partners to provide custom requests, workshops, statistical surveys and related services.

The agency has greatly increased collaborative activities related to housing statistics. In 2019, in partnership with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Statistics Canada shared the results of the new Canadian Housing Survey to provide data on various topics, including social and affordable housing, wait-list times for housing, perceptions of well-being, and social inclusion.

In support of the National Housing Strategy, Statistics Canada also provided data on at-risk veterans. In partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, the agency used 2016 Census records linked with a cohort of Canadian veterans to produce data on housing affordability, sustainability and accessibility.

Results from these two projects provide information on whether Canadians have housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. This helps policy makers to ensure that more Canadians have access to an affordable home.

In addition to housing statistics, the agency engaged with many partners to gather energy information. In June 2019, Statistics Canada launched the Canadian Energy Information Portal, a first step in creating a hub for energy information to address long-standing concerns regarding dispersed datasets and gaps in energy data that impact researchers, analysts, decision makers, etc. Feedback from portal users and user consultation and focus group testing informed the design of the Canadian Centre for Energy Information (CCEI), with the purpose of providing a convenient hub for information on Canada's energy future. In parallel with this design, the CCEI engaged with a broad base of stakeholders on their data needs and priorities, including participants of the Energy Modelling Initiative, federal partners from Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canada Energy Regulator, provincial and territorial energy departments, and industry. The CCEI also established itself on social media with the hashtag #energynews. Foundational work done to document concepts and variables related to energy will form the base of a data standard with which to connect dispersed information.

Statistics Canada participated in other collaborative projects that resulted in increased access to data for partners and allowed them to better meet their organizational goals and public policy objectives that benefit society. The agency

  • provided a presentation on key data points to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs when it was considering the firearms legislation Bill C-71, and to the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (responsible for advising the Minister of Public Safety)
  • reorganized data from the adult component of the Integrated Criminal Court Survey so that partner organizations could analyze open cases and completed cases, and to create a new series of indicators that will help partners improve the efficiency of Canadian criminal courts
  • participated on the Health Canada Task Force on Virtual Care to explore the state of Canada's health data landscape as it relates to virtual care and artificial intelligence
  • renewed engagements and outreach with Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities; on multiple occasions, the agency met with President Natan Obed of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and representatives of the First Nations Information Governance Centre to discuss Indigenous affairs
  • developed a national and provincial index of marginalization and deprivation, which is based on housing instability, economic deprivation, social and cultural isolation, and reliance on others, and allows for an understanding of inequalities in society
  • launched the virtual Federal Research Data Centre at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to designate a room to allow 24/7 access to 25 researchers
  • released 248 new comprehensive datasets for access in the research data centres, representing one-third of the total data available.

Statistics Canada also expanded collaborative activities with partners to help better understand the economic conditions within Canada. The agency

  • created new, more granular tourism data that are available more frequently and include comparable measures of expenditures, gross domestic product and employment; for example, the National Travel Survey was expanded from 6 to 13 airports and, in collaboration with Destination Canada, payment data were integrated with survey data to improve visitor spending estimates at the sub-provincial level
  • partnered with each territory to produce harmonized, pan-territorial data on both domestic and international travellers to create quarterly tourism indicators for the North
  • expanded national and provincial Monthly Survey of Manufacturing data to include 12 census metropolitan areas.

Statistics Canada also participated in unique collaborative efforts with global implications related to the environment. For instance, in collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada, the agency conducted extensive consultations with other federal departments and organizations to identify Canadian indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through the agency's leadership role in the development of, and commitment to, global indicators supporting the 2030 Agenda, Statistics Canada published additional indicators, more granular data and new visualizations on the Sustainable Development Goals Hub. The agency also worked with other departments, organizations and subject-matter experts to identify the best data sources for the 60 indicators in the Canadian Indicator Framework and to develop disaggregated data for vulnerable populations.

Using leading-edge methods

As part of the agency's mission to continue to provide trusted insight to Canadians, Statistics Canada strives to find ways to increase access to new and untapped data. The agency is also increasing its use of administrative data, modelling and new leading-edge methodologies to increase data capacity and reduce the response burden on Canadians. This includes the development of the agency's Necessity and Proportionality Framework, which aims to balance society's data needs with the protection of Canadians' privacy.

An increased focus on innovation with data science

Data science enables the integration and efficient use of big and unstructured data sources to create new, high-quality, relevant and easily accessible products. New approaches that integrate data (e.g., from text, satellites, large digital data sources and big data) have been used by Statistics Canada to address evolving expectations in a constantly adapting manner.

For example, electronic scanner databases with sales and product information are now available from major retailers. Statistics Canada uses machine learning to classify all the product descriptions in the scanner data, and then obtains aggregate sales data for each area. This approach has resulted in a high degree of automation and accurate, detailed retail data. It also reduces the response burden for major retailers. The data and machine learning models for the first retailer are now being used in the Retail Commodity Survey and the Monthly Retail Trade Survey, with the other retailers to follow. This approach will also be used for other surveys.

Addressing the opioid crisis in Canada

During 2019–20, in response to a clear data need and with the help of collaborative activities and partnerships, Statistics Canada developed innovative research efforts on opioids.

In June 2019, the City of Surrey Opioid Summit: From Data to Action hosted 60 experts, and Statistics Canada data insights fuelled the discussion. The opioids work undertaken by Statistics Canada highlights the agency's ongoing commitment in support of all levels of government to address the most significant challenges currently facing Canadian communities. Statistics Canada securely and privately gathered data from across various social domains to provide an unprecedented lens for delivering meaningful insights to Canadians on the opioid crisis to inform responses by program and policy makers. Health Canada also provided Statistics Canada with additional funding to expand the Surrey project to the whole of British Columbia, and selected jurisdictions in Alberta and Ontario.

The agency launched a project with Ryerson University to determine the possibility of using machine learning to identify specific causes of death (e.g., opioid-related deaths, cycling-related deaths) recorded in the Canadian Coroner and Medical Examiner Database (CCMED). The CCMED is a unique source of information on preventable deaths, including opioid and other drug overdoses. In addition to the demographic information on the decedent, the CCMED contains information on the circumstances surrounding the death, and detailed narratives on each death investigated by coroners and medical examiners. These narratives provide a rich source of contextual information on the circumstances of a death.

The agency also analyzed the impact of the opioid crisis on life expectancy rates in Canada. Canada has experienced and continues to experience a serious opioid overdose crisis. The impact of the crisis on the Canadian population can be measured in different ways. Life expectancy is one of the most general measures of overall population health, reflecting the number of years a person would be expected to live based on the rates of death in a population in a given year. From 2016 to 2017, for the first time in over four decades, life expectancy at birth did not increase for either males or females. This trend was largely attributable to the opioid crisis.

The innovative linkages combining information on opioid use and socioeconomic data were used to create analytical products, including a profile of opioid users and trajectory analysis to identify events leading to an opioid event. A feasibility study was conducted to identify data sources available to study the impacts of other harmful drugs (e.g., methamphetamine).

Measuring Canada's digital economy

Globally, there is limited intelligence surrounding the value of the digital economy and data. However, its economic importance cannot be denied. To address this data gap, in May 2019, Statistics Canada released "Measuring digital economic activities in Canada: Initial estimates," a digital economic account with estimates of the value of digital economic activities in Canada from 2010 to 2017. These activities included digitalization enablers, such as IT infrastructure, e-commerce transactions and digital delivery to consumers.

In June 2019, Statistics Canada released a new experimental framework to measure the value of data, databases and data science in Canada. Experimental estimates based on this framework were released a month later. Statistics Canada is working with international counterparts to set global standards to measure data's economic impact.

The agency also conducted research to better understand how and where the digital economy fits into the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts and how it can be measured. For example, research is underway on how the widening productivity gap between the most productive firms and all other firms affects the distribution of individual employment earnings.

Measuring government-wide modernization efforts

As announced in Budget 2018, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Statistics Canada are working together to improve performance and impact assessments for innovation-related programs.

Statistics Canada is using a data-driven approach to create consistent and comparable performance and impact measures for government innovation programs. For example, to measure business innovation, the Entrepreneurship and Linkable File Environment (ELFE) section used administrative data from 18 federal departments to produce a research database to help various government departments evaluate the effectiveness of their programs. The ELFE section also has a visual tool to help analysts track business indicators using a range of variables.

New and improved modernization projects

The agency's modernization culture has inspired innovative projects across the agency. In 2019–20, Statistics Canada developed many new leading-edge approaches to reduce survey response burden on Canadians and provide new, improved or timelier data and services to Canadians.

Among the successes regarding economic statistics, the agency

  • gathered data on cannabis consumption using wastewater sampling
  • monitored shifts in the clean technology sector and the low-carbon economy
  • measured the impact of foreign ownership on housing
  • continued to assemble alternate sources of agriculture data, with an aim to reduce the burden on farmers
  • used scanner data, web scraping and APIs to supplement the Consumer Price Index
  • created interim "flash estimates" for monthly gross domestic product, and other key economic indicators to provide government and private sector analysts with more timely economic signals.

Among the accomplishments achieved in social statistics, the agency

  • completed a microsimulation pilot project related to the Saskatchewan criminal justice system that included projections on the potential impact of reducing the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people
  • made arrangements to use administrative correctional services data to replace the enumeration of usual residents in correctional facilities for the 2021 Census
  • invested in and supported the development of the new Social Data Integration Platform, which provides a more focused and timely way of producing social statistics, including web panels and crowdsourcing.

Advances were also made in statistical methodologies. For instance, the agency tested privacy-preserving techniques, including homomorphic encryption, which provides data protection for highly sensitive data while enabling data processing. The agency also addressed a broad range of privacy concerns through the development of the Necessity and Proportionality Framework.

Necessity and Proportionality Framework

In December 2019, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced the findings from his year-long investigation into two projects undertaken by Statistics Canada that were designed to access Canadians' financial microdata through banks and credit rating agencies.

The investigation found that Statistics Canada complied with the spirit and intent of both the Statistics Act and the Privacy Act, but recommended that the future versions of the two projects take into account the necessity (i.e., need and justification) of the data being collected and the proportionality (i.e., appropriate magnitude of the effort as it relates to the need) of the sample being designed.

After strong collaboration with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Statistics Canada has become a global leader in its implementation of a ground-breaking Necessity and Proportionality Framework. This framework ensures and demonstrates more transparency for Canadians about the agency's processes to protect the privacy and confidentiality of information.

The Necessity and Proportionality Framework was shared at the United Nations Statistical Commission by the Chief Statistician and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Statistics Canada continues to lead work in this area while sharing progress with Canadians through the Trust Centre on its website.

This framework allows for the evaluation of data proportionality and necessity, while simultaneously ensuring that statistical values—such as quality of information, the protection of personal information, and confidentiality—remain intact. The framework is now fully imbedded into the data acquisition process and fully integrated in the privacy impact assessment process.

Canadians, businesses and associations are now assured that the information gathered by Statistics Canada has been obtained in a fully transparent and ethical manner. Also, by enabling the appropriate acquisition of data from a variety of data sources, the framework provides stakeholders with access to more precise and timely information for use in public policy-making and business decision-making that benefits all Canadians.

Building statistical capacity and fostering data literacy

In 2019–20, the agency led a series of external engagement and co-creation initiatives with public and private sector partners to build data literacy and promote data-driven decision-making. This involved welcoming partners from more than 25 federal departments and agencies, provincial and municipal governments, academia, the private sector, and civil society to participate in innovation hackathons on high-profile topics including the Sustainable Development Goals, early learning and child care, urban transit, empowering citizen science, food security, and workplace mental health measurement. The agency, through its regional services areas, provided training courses that helped users understand the use of data.

More specifically, Statistics Canada has made important contributions in building statistical capacity and fostering data in specific subject matter areas, including Indigenous statistics, and gender, diversity and inclusion data. The agency also showed leadership in the development of both the federal data strategy and its own data strategy.

Supporting Indigenous communities with statistics

As part of the Indigenous Statistical Capacity Development Initiative, the Centre for Indigenous Statistics and Partnerships engaged with over 127 Indigenous communities, organizations and governments and successfully completed three pilot projects, which included training Apatisiiwin Skills Development (formerly the Cree Human Resources Development Office) to design, collect, process and analyze a survey in 10 communities. This led to a three-year plan to develop and deliver 15 courses to help Indigenous communities and organizations build their own data and research capacities.

The agency released three publications as part of a comprehensive release strategy that encompassed three booklets, three infographics and one interactive map. The analytical publications focused on employment among First Nations people living off reserve, and Métis and Inuit participation in the wage and land-based economies in Inuit Nunangat.

In 2019–20, the agency developed indexes, indicators and portals to address the statistical needs of Indigenous communities, organizations and leadership.

Key products included

  • Indigenous life expectancy for the human development index
  • new indicators and analyses related to the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system
  • the Indigenous Statistics Portal, which was launched on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21, 2019).

To address data gaps, the agency calculated school participation rates for children aged 4 to 6 living on reserve by using administrative data from Indigenous Services Canada.

Leading the way: Gender, diversity and inclusion statistics

Statistics Canada is not only on the leading edge of new technologies, but also at the vanguard of efforts to address data gaps to help Canadians get the necessary information to make important decisions. The Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics (CGDIS) is an example of a Statistics Canada initiative that focuses on providing new information to Canadians and building statistical capacity.

For instance, in 2019–20, the CGDIS released 19 tables on the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub in support of the Gender Results Framework. In addition, a new publication to publish gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) articles was created. The CGDIS also published a conceptual and methodological overview of the gender pay gap and published a number of articles and infographics to address key policy needs and raise awareness of issues related to gender, diversity and inclusion.

Positive feedback from data users was received for four products that specifically highlighted new disaggregated data on Black communities in Canada, with a focus for policy departments to identify the socioeconomic issues facing Black communities in Canada. Statistics Canada released a socioeconomic portrait of Canada's Black population in February 2020 to support the Government of Canada's priority to address socioeconomic issues faced by Black Canadians.

In 2019–20, the CGDIS continued to generate new information to improve statistical standards for GBA+. Statistics Canada developed the capacity to acquire data from other departments that can be "housed" at Statistics Canada to help measure progress on the Gender Results Framework indicators. For example, data from the Band Governance Management System were acquired with Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to develop indicators on the gender composition of First Nations band councils and the proportion of Chiefs in First Nations communities who are women. In addition, work is being undertaken in collecting and disseminating ethnocultural statistics. With support from Canadian Heritage, the new cycle of the General Social Survey on Social Identity will allow for the disaggregation of some specific ethnocultural groups to help address issues related to anti-racism, such as discrimination.

Finally, 2019–20 saw the continued building of statistical capacity for the CGDIS. It worked closely with the Canada School of Public Service to develop training materials and to deliver a GBA+ premium course. The CGDIS reviews course content annually, sits on discussion panels, and co-presents the module Geeking out About Data, which guides participants through selecting a data source, disaggregating data and interpreting results using a GBA+ perspective. The CGDIS also released the results from the Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces. These results helped to expand knowledge on gender-based violence among the general population in a new way by including a wider range of behaviours that are on the continuum of gender-based violence, but may not necessarily meet the criminal threshold.

Data strategies for the federal public service and Statistics Canada

In 2019–20, work was undertaken to deliver three high-priority initiatives in support of the government-wide implementation of the Data Strategy Roadmap for the Federal Public Service.

  • The Data Literacy and Training initiative will provide online, user-centric training videos to build capacity among public servants so that they can better understand and use Statistics Canada's data to make evidence-based decisions and policies.
  • The Data Stewardship as a Service initiative involves partnerships with Government of Canada organizations to increase their capacity to manage and mobilize data, including through the use of standards. Statistics Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada launched a pilot project using address data to demonstrate the potential of all federal departments using one authoritative source of information for addresses rather than duplicating efforts.
  • The Data Science Community initiative involves building a data science ecosystem to share expertise and best practices to build data science capacity across the federal government.

Statistics Canada also collaborated with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) to pilot an approach to measure data literacy, and engaged with other departments such as Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Privy Council Office, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Global Affairs Canada to discuss scaling beyond the agency. Support was provided on a number of other CSPS initiatives: establishing data literacy competencies, guiding the development of the "Discover Data" training course, and contributing to the CSPS data literacy training project to produce online training resources in core data literacy areas (e.g., quality, stewardship, analysis).

The Statistics Canada Data Strategy (SCDS) was released internally to the federal public service in late September 2019 and publicly in late April 2020. The SCDS provides a roadmap for how Statistics Canada will continue to govern and manage its valuable data assets as part of its modernization agenda and in alignment with and response to other federal government strategies and initiatives, including the Data Strategy Roadmap for the Federal Public Service, Canada's 2018–2020 National Action Plan on Open Government, and the Treasury Board Secretariat Digital Operations Strategic Plan: 2018–2022.

In a related project, Statistics Canada is leading the implementation of a proof-of-concept external data stewardship engagement office. With the end goal of building capacity and fostering data literacy, this office will directly engage with other federal departments and agencies to optimize the use of data to facilitate sharing and integration, reduce duplication, and increase trust and transparency.

Results achieved

Across the agency, employees are working to improve results and to ensure targets are both relevant and ambitious. The agency made significant progress and reached 7 out of 11 performance indicator targets for 2019–20, and has improved its results relative to previous years. As the Departmental Results Framework matures, the agency is integrating performance indicator results into its decision-making processes to ensure value for Canadians and alignment of resources with government priorities.

Results achieved
Departmental results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2018–19 Actual results 2019–20 Actual results
Statistical information is of high quality Number of post-release corrections due to accuracy 0 March 31, 2020 3 2 1
Number of international forums of which Statistics Canada is a member 170 to 190 March 31, 2020 168 184 190
Percentage of international standards with which Statistics Canada conforms 90%Table note 1 March 31, 2020 89% 88% 88%Table note 2
Statistical information is available and accessed Number of visits to Statistics Canada website 17,000,000Table note 3 March 31, 2020 26,461,926 19,752,776Table note 4 20,285,269Table note 5
Percentage of website visitors that found what they were looking for 77% March 31, 2020 76% 79% 78%
Number of interactions on social media 400,000Table note 6 March 31, 2020 559,709 358,673Table note 7 521,441Table note 8,Table note 9
Number of statistical products available on the website 37,300 March 31, 2020 33,642 35,920 37,254
Number of Statistics Canada data tables available on the Open Data Portal 7,150 March 31, 2020 7,162 6,944Table note 10 7,386
Statistical information is relevant Number of media citations on Statistics Canada data 70,000 March 31, 2020 67,539 74,657Table note 11 56,921Table note 12
Number of journal citations 23,000 March 31, 2020 23,903 22,716 26,505Table note 13
Percentage of users satisfied with statistical information 80% March 31, 2020 79% 80% 80%
Footnote 1

The target is set at 90% since not all international standards are relevant to Statistics Canada.

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Footnote 2

While the results have remained the same from last year, the agency's overall trend is increasing toward greater use of standards. Five additional standards were in scope in 2019–2020, of which four were in use, resulting in the department level staying constant at 88%.

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Footnote 3

The target for 2019–20 reflects the change in software that calculates this indicator, from Webtrends to Adobe Analytics, in June 2018. Adobe Analytics is a Government of Canada solution that aims to provide better-quality data by removing traffic generated from identified robots, spiders and crawlers. The definition of a visit has also changed from "a series of pages viewed within 30 minutes" to "a visit begins when a visitor enters the site and ends within 30 minutes of inactivity or 12 continuous hours of activity." Based on the change of software and definition of a visit, the number of visits to the website is expected to decrease. The data for this indicator will no longer be comparable with previous years.

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Footnote 4

Statistics Canada changed the software for measuring website traffic in September 2018 from a technology based on log files to a modernized page-tag technology. This solution was chosen by the Government of Canada to provide better-quality data and remove non-human traffic. The actual number of total visits provided for 2018–19 is a combination of data derived from the old and new technologies, and is lower than the target of 24,000,000 previously provided because of the change in methodology. Because of the change in technology, the 2018–19 results cannot be compared with results from previous years.

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Footnote 5

Statistics Canada exceeded its target as there was an increase in the number of tables released in 2019–20 compared with previous years, and the 2019 Canadian election campaign caused an increase in visitors looking for information on the Canadian economy.

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Footnote 6

Results peaked from 2015 to 2018 because of Census Program activities and paid advertising related to the census. Since the beginning of 2018, some social media platforms have been using new methodologies to tailor content delivery to fewer audience members. The target for 2019–20 has been lowered in consideration of these two factors.

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Footnote 7

Fiscal year 2018–19 had the lowest interaction on social media in the census cycle. Furthermore, since the beginning of 2018, some social media platforms have been using new methodologies to tailor content delivery to fewer audience members. The target for 2019–20 has been lowered in consideration of these two factors.

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Footnote 8

Statistics Canada had more interactions on social media as significant efforts were made during fiscal year 2019–20 to increase visibility of the agency’s social media content and leverage partnerships with other government departments and key stakeholders for amplification. These actions helped boost overall interactions on the social media accounts above projected targets.

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Footnote 9

An updated methodology is being considered for this indicator to standardize and include new social media platforms that the agency uses to interact with Canadians. This new methodology would be introduced in future Departmental Plans and applied as a correction to the 2020–21 Departmental Plan.

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Footnote 10

The number of datasets was streamlined in 2018–19 as a result of the agency’s New Dissemination Model. While this has decreased the number of datasets on the Open Data Portal, it has resulted in a more simplified, coherent and user-friendly approach to accessing statistical information.

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Footnote 11

The target for 2018–19 was exceeded. Beginning in October 2018, a single significant media story about Statistics Canada contributed to a significant one-time boost of about 2,000 articles in the first six months. However, broad increases to four themes—economy (3,853), health (1,875), justice (1,771) and trade (1,740)—resulted in an additional 9,239 media citations. This made up for the dip in citations from the census and contributed to exceeding the target of 56,000 provided for 2018–19. Leading up to and following the legalization of recreational cannabis, media afforded considerable coverage to the agency’s economic and health releases. International trade issues and heightened interest in justice issues also captured media attention. Media citations for future years could continue to increase as coverage shifts to the growing number of Internet news sites that the agency can access.

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Footnote 12

Statistics Canada media citations are generated from the publication of data released through the agency’s official channel, The Daily, and through responses to media inquiries and interviews. During the 2019–20 period, the national general election dominated much of the daily news coverage and the deployment of the Government of Canada’s caretaker convention, which restricts activities of government departments, reduced the agency’s data publishing and promotion activities. For these reasons, there were fewer media citations during this period than anticipated.

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Footnote 13

Statistics Canada had more journal citations for fiscal year 2019–20 as the number of current authors tracked through the collection tool (Google Scholar) increased. There were also a few articles that gathered an unusually high number of citations, which contributed to exceeding the target.

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Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
  2019–20 Main Estimates 2019–20 Planned spending 2019–20 Total authorities available for use 2019–20 Actual spending (authorities used) 2019–20 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
Gross Expenditures 551,104,432 551,104,432 600,534,042 584,770,894 33,666,462
Respendable Revenue -120,000,000 -120,000,000 -120,038,495 -120,038,495 -38,495
Net Expenditures 431,104,432 431,104,432 480,495,547 464,732,399 33,627,967
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
  2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents 2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents 2019–20 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
Gross expenditures 5,501 5,595 94
Respendable Revenue -1,321 -1,366 -44
Net Expenditures 4,180 4,229 50

The difference between planned spending and actual spending is the result of an increase in resources for new initiatives from Budget 2018 & 2019. These initiatives include the New Anti-racism strategy, implementing a "Data Analytics as a Service" platform, co-developing an Indigenous Statistical Capacity Development Initiative, and enhancing GBA+ analysis through the creation of a Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.

The difference is also attributable to retroactive pay from the ratification of new collective agreements and budget carried forward from 2018–19 to 2019–20, allowing the agency to meet the needs of its cyclical programs and to invest in its integrated strategic planning process.

Furthermore, full-time equivalents vary slightly as a result of differences between the actual salary rates paid and the estimated average salary rates used to forecast planned spending.

Financial, human resources and performance information for Statistics Canada’s Program Inventory is available in GC InfoBase.

Internal Services


Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are

  • Acquisition Management Services
  • Communication Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Legal Services
  • Material Management Services
  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Real Property Management Services.


All Internal Services have been engaged with the agency's modernization agenda and have become more efficient and user-centric. Internal Services strengthened and modernized the agency's governance, performance management and risk management frameworks to support compliance and ensure the agency is efficiently aligning its resources.

Efficiencies and improvements have been made by leveraging technology, monitoring business processes and measuring performance. The agency increased data analytics within its Internal Services to provide quick and direct insight into the health of the organization.

Adapting to transformation

The modernization agenda is a significant transformation. Statistics Canada continues its proactive approach to monitor the agency's health through change, to identify trends in areas such as turnover, sick leave, job satisfaction and morale, and to take action to improve these trends.

The agency envisions a diverse, inclusive, respectful and healthy workplace that is agile and resilient to change. To support this vision, the agency has focused on strategies to measure and support organizational health, is developing an organizational health framework/index and indicators, and is collecting important information through pulse surveys and focus groups.

Performance measurement and program management

In line with these efforts, Statistics Canada continued to integrate performance measurement into program management and corporate planning to support and guide the agency's modernization journey. Specifically, performance measurement workshops were conducted with all program managers to develop a comprehensive agency logic model and measurement framework that aligns activities and outputs to outcomes. The resulting suite of indicators will allow the agency to better measure whether it is achieving its modernization agenda.

Internal Audit and Evaluation

To meet Canadians' need for timely and meaningful data, Statistics Canada's modernization agenda needed to ensure proper controls were in place to mitigate risk internally. In 2019–20, Internal Audit and Evaluation used results achieved and lessons learned to assure management that innovative and ongoing program delivery mitigated risks. These functions provided management with trusted and neutral information to inform decision making within the agency.

Diversity and inclusion

Throughout 2019–20, the Employee Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team conducted many activities and awareness campaigns to increase the visibility and effectiveness of resources available to all Statistics Canada employees. For example, tools and initiatives—including the Integrity and Respect hotline, access to appointed Integrity and Respect Awareness Officers, and promotion of the Employee Assistance Program and Informal Conflict Management Services—have been implemented within the agency. In addition, a multitude of training opportunities and discussion forums have been promoted to help employees broaden their perspectives and create a more inclusive environment.

Statistics Canada launched two action plans to support a culture of diversity and inclusion. The first was the 2019–20 Employment Equity and Diversity Action Plan, which identified three key achievements: a data-driven approach to diversity and inclusion, the elimination and prevention of representation gaps, and a work environment where all employees feel included. Key action items included mandatory staff training, tracking and identifying statistical trends in representation and progression of employment equity groups, monitoring Statistics Canada's diversity compared with Canadian society, and reviewing assessment tools by the Employment Equity and Diversity Section. The second action plan released was the Integrity and Respect Action Plan. Both of these plans were published as communication tools available to employees and illustrated organizational commitments and accountabilities.

Leveraging data analytics

Internal Services enable partners across the agency to make strategic management decisions—supported by data—that are related to human resources, financial management, procurement, accommodations, informatics services and more. A number of new trailblazing projects demonstrate the expansion of data analytics with a user-centric approach within the agency.

  • To eliminate the need for ad hoc reports and to encourage proactive planning, the Human Resources Analytics Management Dashboard was created to provide a self-serve compilation of easy-to-use, interactive, visuals-based reports—composed of real-time data—on the agency's workforce.
  • Pulse surveys—short questionnaires to help answer important, ad hoc managerial questions in a timely manner—were developed and analyzed.
  • As the agency's migration to the cloud progresses, live consumption metrics and optimization have been implemented to ensure robust and efficient operations.
  • The Financial Operations Analytics Dashboard was created to report on the health of key performance indicators and compliance with established Finance Branch service standards. This dynamic reporting tool allows the agency to identify potential risks and performance issues as it seeks to achieve continuous improvement and client satisfaction in the application of operational business processes.

A more modern and flexible work environment

The agency continues to move toward a more modern and flexible work environment through the development of open workspace concepts, additional network bandwidth, and remote work procedures, including mandatory employee training.

In addition, in partnership with Public Services and Procurement Canada, the agency launched the GCcoworking pilot. This pilot allows employees to use conveniently located workspaces outside the agency's main offices. This approach reduces the agency's carbon footprint, improves work–life balance and encourages collaboration.

Procurement initiatives

In support of modern comptrollership, procurement activities continue to be made more efficient and modern. This included reducing manual processes (electronic submission and acceptance) and decentralizing the 2021 Census procurement process to a more efficient and regionally benefitting approach. Social and green procurement approaches included purchasing paper with at least 30% recycled content and using Indigenous vendors for IT equipment and furniture. Similarly, furniture was purchased from CORCAN, which provides employment and employability skills training to incarcerated offenders.

Further strengthening information management

The agency established a renewed information management vision, with foundational principles and alignment to internationally recognized frameworks, to drive key business outcomes. This project is moving forward to deliver key information and data capabilities to meet the needs of the modernization agenda and major program delivery.

Digital solutions

To provide full transparency into the agency's efficiency and modernization efforts, the agency launched its first IT Plan of Record. This report provides greater visibility to the IT-enabled investments within the agency. It transparently details all IT-enabled investments across projects, products and services. In addition, to streamline help desk costs, two separate walk-up services for employee support (the Genius bar and the Accounts Desk) were consolidated to create a single station that now provides a broader set of services and expanded service hours, while reducing costs.

Further focusing on IT operations and lifecycle management, Statistics Canada advanced its technological modernization agenda through a number of complex, large-scale informatics projects:

  • The Cloud Services Enablement project aims to build the secure foundational blocks required to support current applications and data requirements, as well as the possibility of new cloud solutions.
  • The Workload Migration project seeks to move current applications and datasets into a cloud environment as much as possible. In June 2019, Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat began establishing the Government of Canada's first Workload Migration Factory.
  • In 2019–20, the agency officially kicked off development for the Data Analytics as a Service (DAaaS) program. As the year progressed, DAaaS successfully delivered technical components and solutions in support of the agency's modernization vision and in support of the Data Strategy Roadmap for the Federal Public Service.
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2019–20 Main Estimates 2019–20 Planned spending 2019–20 Total authorities available for use 2019–20 Actual spending (authorities used) 2019–20 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
64,345,374 64,345,374 82,048,294 82,217,225 17,871,851
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents 2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents 2019–20 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
566 626 60

The difference between planned spending and actual spending is mainly related to an increase in resources for a new initiative, approved in 2018–19, to migrate the infrastructure to the cloud, as well as additional spending related to internal IT support and pressures related to the Government of Canada pay system.

Although additional expenditures were prioritized under Internal Services, the agency's overall spending did not exceed its total authorities.

Financial, human resources and performance information for Statistics Canada's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

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