Raison d'être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do


A better Canada driven by the agency's leadership in expanding knowledge and insights.

Raison d'être

Canadians need high-quality, insightful and accessible data to support good decision making. Statistics Canada's mission is to provide trusted data, statistical services and insights required to support these decisions, while continuing to build and maintain the trust of Canadians, Canadian businesses and Canadian institutions through robust quality, privacy protection, communications and measurement.

The agency is leading the integration of statistics and strengthening the national statistical system by enabling the strategic use of data and delivering data insights through innovative collaborations and partnerships. Furthermore, it is the agency's role to help decision makers and all Canadians increase their data literacy to draw actionable insights and unleash the power of data.

The agency is committed to ensuring the relevance of its statistical programs to meet the highest-priority information needs of Canadians, while also ensuring that its information is accessible; that respondent burden is kept to a minimum; and that the agency's business processes and systems are efficient, robust and responsive.

Mandate and role

Statistics Canada produces data that help Canadians better understand their country - its population, resources, economy, environment, society and culture. As Canada's central statistical office, Statistics Canada is legislated to serve this function for Canada and each of the provinces and territories. The agency must also conduct the Census of Population and the Census of Agriculture every five years, providing a detailed picture of Canadian society. Statistics Canada operates under the authority of the Statistics Act and is committed to protecting the confidentiality and privacy of the information it is entrusted with.

Statistics Canada has two main roles:

  1. to provide statistical information and analysis about Canada's economic and social structure to
    • develop and evaluate public policies and programs
    • improve public and private decision making for the benefit of all Canadians
  2. to promote sound statistical standards and practices by
    • using common concepts and classifications to provide better-quality data
    • working with the provinces and territories to promote quality and coherence of Canada's statistics through collaboration
    • reducing the burden on respondents through greater use of data sharing agreements
    • improving statistical methods and systems through joint research studies and projects.

For more information on the agency's organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister's mandate letter.

Operating context

A developed, democratic country such as Canada requires vast amounts of data to function effectively. Statistics provide Canadians with vital information to help monitor inflation, navigate social and economic disruptions, promote economic growth, plan cities and roads, adjust pensions, help understand social inequities, and develop employment and social programs. They also help governments, businesses and individuals make informed decisions.

As the demand for information and data insights increases, privacy concerns and a decrease in response rates are making it more challenging to connect with and receive information from Canadians. As a result, the agency is actively researching, developing and implementing innovative solutions to provide decision makers with increased access to high-quality, relevant and trusted information on issues affecting society using methods that protect the privacy of Canadians.

In this digital world, Canadians must be able to trust that their privacy is protected and that their data will not be misused. To that end, the agency will continue to build partnerships that will strengthen its position of trust and deliver value at every interaction to better serve Canadians.

The key ingredient in meeting this ever-evolving operating context has always been, and will always be, an innovative, motivated, representative and professional workforce deployed in a strong, supportive, virtual and corporate environment. It is through employee engagement, dedication, knowledge and skill that the agency will serve Canada with high-quality statistical information that matters.

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