Summary of the evaluation of the Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Retail and Service Industries Program (2012/2013 to 2016/2017)

The mandate of the Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Retail and Service Industries Program (MWTRSIP) is to collect, compile, analyze and publish trusted, relevant and comprehensive information on the manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade and service sectors. The data inform public debate on economic issues; support economic policy development, implementation and evaluation; and guide business decision making.

The Evaluation Division of Statistic Canada's Audit and Evaluation Branch conducted an independent evaluation of the MWTRSIP. The main objective of the evaluation was to provide a neutral, evidence-based assessment of the relevance and performance of the program in support of decision making, accountability, and improvement. The evaluation was conducted in accordance with Treasury Board Secretariat's Policy on Results (2016) and Statistics Canada's Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan (2017/2018 to 2021/2022).

According to the evaluation, the program is well aligned with federal roles and responsibilities, government priorities and Statistics Canada objectives. Information from the program is used by a broad range of users to meet a variety of needs. Program information is generally considered accessible, accurate, coherent and interpretable. Users indicated that they would like information sooner, however, most most were not willing to trade timeliness for accuracy.

Finally, the evaluation found that the program maintains effective relationships with users and stakeholders and as a result, has a good understanding of program gaps.

The evaluation proposed four recommendations to improve the MWTRSIP.

Recommendation 1: Data gaps

It is recommended that plans address the following key gaps:

  • E-commerce and the new economy—an agency-wide approach is required, given that the subject spans several programs. While efforts are currently underway in several areas, there is a lack of coordination, roles and responsibilities are not clear, and senior management engagement needs to increase.
  • Greater level of detail—over time, there has been a loss of detail for users. The MWTRSIP should continue working with key partners and stakeholders (internal and external) to explore avenues to address this.
  • Data on services—while services make up a large share of the economy, statistical information is rather limited. It is recommended that the MWTRSIP explore opportunities to increase the frequency of its surveys and to increase the scope of the services covered.

In exploring these gaps, the program should continue to use a strong user-centric approach.

Recommendation 2: Timeliness

It is recommended that the MWTRSIP

  • review its process for releases to ensure they are as timely as possible, taking into consideration other key objectives such as relevance and accuracy; this includes exploring the possibility of reducing contextual analysis to improve timeliness, and targeting and coordinating the setting of release dates
  • undertake a comprehensive consultation of its key users prior to taking any steps to improve timeliness that would impact accuracy.

Recommendation 3: Priority setting

It is recommended that during transitional period, MWTRSIP management provide greater clarification on priorities to employees.

Recommendation 4: Outreach and client services

It is recommended that the MWTRSIP

  • develop and implement a comprehensive outreach plan based on information from consultations, staff and other relevant partners (internal and external); the plan should include mechanisms for ongoing communication with users to inform them of program developments and to raise awareness
  • prepare a strategy to strengthen client service delivery.
Date modified: