Disaggregated Data Action Plan Accomplishments Report 2022-2023: Building on a solid foundation

The Disaggregated Data Action Plan (DDAP) is a whole-of-government approach led by Statistics Canada to support governmental and societal efforts to address known inequalities and promote fair and inclusive decision making.

The DDAP supports Statistics Canada's efforts to continually identify and fill data and knowledge gaps across its programs. This leads to more representative data collection and enhanced statistics on diverse populations by collecting, analyzing and disseminating more disaggregated data than ever before. Disaggregated data are data that have been broken down into categories (e.g., gender, age, income, geographic region) to better understand the experiences of diverse population groups and potentially reveal important insights between and among different groups that may have otherwise been missed.

In 2022/2023, Statistics Canada expanded on the previous year's disaggregated data accomplishments by employing innovative survey designs and sampling methods, which allowed for more intersectional analyses and insights on diverse population groups. For instance, studies conducted during this period examined trends in pay gaps; the housing experiences of various population groups; the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in provincial custody; and the educational and economic outcomes of lesbian, gay and bisexual people from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds. Furthermore, DDAP-funded research on innovative methods included improving sampling for better representation of diverse population groups and coordinating sampling between surveys to reduce respondent burden, especially for small population groups.

Building on work started in 2021/2022, Statistics Canada continues to modernize its data collection and administrative data programs. Notably, monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) supplements were collected from April to December 2022, and the resulting data offer valuable insights on the quality of employment for various groups. Once funding is secured for the completion of the project, new variables will be added to the Civil Court Survey, allowing for the integration of civil court data in other administrative databases. Finally, the DDAP Administrative Data Fund, which provides funding to external partners to enable them to enhance their administrative data holdings, was introduced.

Statistics Canada routinely engages with various partners and stakeholders to meet the increasing information needs of Canadians. Noteworthy achievements include Statistics Canada's partnerships with selected cities to enhance the Business Register, as well as identify strategies to address municipal data gaps.

The following sections highlight the achievements of key projects funded under the DDAP in 2022/2023.

Expanded disaggregated data assets

Social, health and labour indicators

Statistics Canada launched the first wave of the Survey Series on People and their Communities (SSPC), which collected sufficient disaggregated data to examine the experiences of racialized Canadians and immigrants, including newcomers to Canada. The first panel included questions on sport, community engagement, confidence in institutions, political engagement and workplace culture. The first set of SSPC results was released in March 2023.

Statistics Canada has also been developing a framework to address data gaps on the care economy. Questions were added to the sixth wave of the Canadian Social Survey, which focused on paid and unpaid caregiving for both children and care-dependent adults. An article was released in November 2022, and others are forthcoming. Additionally, many data tables using disaggregated data from the General Social Survey were produced for the Quality of Life Framework and the Social Inclusion Framework.

Statistics Canada continued to work on the production of demographic projections and estimates for specific population groups and lower levels of geography. In September 2022, Statistics Canada released population projections on immigration and diversity in Canada up to 2041. These projections are discussed in a report and are available in table form and as part of an interactive dashboard. The 2022 population estimates for municipalities (2016 census subdivision boundaries) were also released in January 2023.

Consultative engagements and a feasibility exercise were completed regarding the addition of new content to the Civil Court Survey. New variables will be added and will include personal identifiers to allow the integration of civil court data in other Statistics Canada databases. This data integration will allow for the analysis of socioeconomic factors, including information on Indigenous people and racialized groups, which will provide insight into the experiences of diverse populations in Canadian civil courts. Additionally, following recommendations from public engagement on the new Canadian Correctional Services Survey, Statistics Canada developed new population-based indicators and analysis on the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in provincial custody.

Disaggregated data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) were used to develop a variety of products, including social inclusion indicators for Canada's ethnocultural groups, food security indicators and data pertaining to access to a regular health care provider. In addition, 2015 to 2018 CCHS data allowed for the release of a table on the socioeconomic characteristics of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. Further, data from the 2016 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort were integrated with administrative data, which were then used to calculate COVID-19 mortality among racialized populations in Canada and its association with income.

Additional enhancements were made to the LFS in 2022/2023, including additional indicators on quality of employment for diverse population groups in Canada. Specifically, data pertaining to child care and career challenges experienced by parents, financial difficulties faced by households in the context of high inflation, and the number of Canadians working through digital platforms were collected. Further, the new Labour Market and Socio-economic Indicators (LMSI) survey, a supplement to the LFS, was implemented to collect data about labour, support payments and unmet health care needs, and to monitor the economic well-being of individuals and families. Data from the LMSI and the Canadian Income Survey were integrated to provide 12 months of LFS data on people with disabilities. These disaggregated data will be released every year. This improved coverage enabled detailed analyses on the labour market characteristics of people with and without disabilities in 2022.

Data on business conditions

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions plays a vital role in helping governments understand the key economic issues that businesses in Canada are facing. Detailed data are published for all provinces and territories and the 20 largest census metropolitan areas, by population centre and rural area, business size, and sector. Data tables on the average percentage of women and men in management positions were released for the first quarter of 2023. Data tables on private sector business counts disaggregated by majority ownership were also released for the second quarter of 2022, third quarter of 2022, fourth quarter of 2022 and first quarter of 2023. All other data tables released were crossed with majority ownership variables, including majority ownership by women, Indigenous people, immigrants to Canada, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ population and members of racialized groups.

Data integration and administrative data

On the data integration side, two projects focused on patent-related research to fill important data and knowledge gaps on patenting by gender at the business and individual levels. The Canadian Patent Research Database is now included in the Linkable File Environment, which allows for Statistics Canada's business microdata to be integrated with different administrative and survey sources. In addition, databases pertaining to business ownership and government business support programs for the COVID-19 pandemic were integrated, updated and made accessible to a wider research community. This fostered research on the impact of the pandemic on businesses owned by underrepresented groups and how those businesses were supported by government programs. The integration of such databases led to the development of a forthcoming research paper on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on underrepresented groups, including women and immigrants.

Finally, 2022/2023 saw the launch of the DDAP Administrative Data Fund, which provides external partners with an opportunity to improve their own disaggregated administrative data holdings. In 2022/2023, the Administrative Data Fund team launched an agency-wide callout for proposals and received numerous applications for funding. All proposals were reviewed, and five initiatives that span the social and economic domains were recommended for potential funding. These proposals will be funded throughout 2023/2024, as the budget permits.

Increased analytical insights

Statistics Canada continues to provide detailed statistical information about the economic, social and health experiences and outcomes of diverse groups in Canada. Overall, 45% of analytical products released by Statistics Canada during the 2022/2023 fiscal year included disaggregated data for at least one of the four employment equity groups (i.e., Indigenous people, women, members of racialized populations and people with disabilities).

With regard to the interrelated health and socioeconomic outcomes of Canadians, one research project focused on how historical improvements in life expectancy and health status influence economic outcomes, such as earnings and employment, for diverse groups in Canada. An article pertaining to the educational and economic outcomes of lesbian, gay and bisexual people from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds was also released. Another project examined the association between cybervictimization and mental health among diverse Canadian youth, including transgender and non-binary youth, Indigenous youth, and those with chronic conditions. An article examining variations in immigrants' lower risk of suicide-related behaviours was also released. In collaboration with policy partners, these projects led to the production of detailed statistical information to highlight the experiences of diverse groups of Canadians, shed light on inequities and promote inclusion in decision making.

Two other projects focused on the changing demographics of racialized people in Canada and variation in poverty among racialized groups. An introduction paper and a series of fact sheets on housing provide timely analytical insights into the housing experiences of various population groups in Canada.

In terms of labour, disaggregated data and analysis from the LFS were highlighted in monthly releases and other publications throughout the year. The October 2022 LFS release included estimates of the share of Canadians living in households experiencing financial difficulties, and new insights on self-employment among racialized groups were included in the July 2022 release.

May 2022 marked the first release of the Quality of Employment in Canada publication, which provided data and analysis on key quality of employment indicators using an internationally supported statistical framework. The release included an article on pay gaps, which examined the average hourly wages of racialized employees and provided updated information on the gender wage gap.

In terms of business and economic statistics, a study examined the patenting activity of women-owned businesses and compared it with that of men. Forward-looking analyses on businesses owned by women, members of racialized groups, immigrants and Indigenous people were also released based on data from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions. Key highlights include analysis on businesses majority-owned by women in the second quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, businesses majority-owned by immigrants, and businesses majority-owned by immigrants to Canada and businesses majority-owned by racialized people.

To better understand the participation of Indigenous people in the Canadian economy, Statistics Canada is developing the Indigenous Peoples Economic Account (IPEA). A feasibility study with preliminary estimates was published in August 2022. The first iteration of the IPEA had three components: a suite of economic indicators; a human resource module, which provides estimates related to paid worker jobs by various sociodemographic characteristics; and a supplementary analysis showing how estimates of gross domestic product, output and total jobs could be further broken down by location of residence and Indigenous identity group.

Enhanced access to disaggregated data

Statistics Canada’s Municipal Data Program successfully launched the Centre for Municipal and Local Data. This provides a primary platform for municipal users to access data at the level of geography most relevant to municipalities. The release was promoted through municipal associations, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Statistics Canada offices that constantly collaborate with municipalities.

In addition, the Municipal Financial and Socioeconomic Data Dashboard was updated to include 35 cities, including two regions in Ontario, which established the framework for how to allocate regional finances and services.

The Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub continues to bring together data tables, analyses and announcements regarding diverse population groups on a centralized platform, making it easier for data users to access disaggregated data and analyses. New statistical products are promoted via social media campaigns, highlighted on the hub, and shared with key partners and stakeholders via email. Consultations with non-federal organizations and academia took place to gather feedback on the usability of the hub, and their outcome is being considered for future enhancements.

Statistics Canada continues to leverage existing data access solutions such as Public Use Microdata Files and Real Time Remote Access to improve access to and dissemination of disaggregated data for Canadians.

Strong methods and statistical standards

A robust methodology and well-defined standards are essential to the production of high-quality data and reliable statistics. To improve the statistical representation of diverse population groups in surveys, Statistics Canada has diversified its sampling strategies, such as by using multiple sampling frames and optimizing sample allocation among the various subpopulations of interest, while ensuring the coordination of samples drawn to reduce any overlap and additional respondent burden. It is also testing non-probabilistic sampling methods for hard-to-reach populations. A methodological guide was developed to summarize all relevant sampling approaches in the DDAP context. Moreover, methods related to disaggregation were presented and discussed by statisticians from around the world at Statistics Canada's 2022 International Methodology Symposium, "Data disaggregation: Building a more-representative data portrait of society."

To address partial non-response in surveys and facilitate further disaggregation, Statistics Canada has explored imputation strategies using data modelling and machine learning techniques. For instance, the efficacy of machine learning models was evaluated to address partial non-response across demographic variables such as sex, gender, Indigenous identity and racialized group in the Canadian Correctional Services Survey. While the conclusion was that more refinement of the models was needed before machine learning could be adopted for this purpose, the exercise answered several questions regarding the use of this technique. This annual survey includes variables on Indigenous identity, racialized status and other self-reported information. For certain individuals, information is missing, resulting in some groups being undercounted in correctional institutions.

For tackling the response mobility of DDAP group identification, modelling techniques were developed to improve the accuracy of identification in surveys such as the SSPC. Probabilities of identification in various groups of interest were also modelled at the sampling stage for the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions and the Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises, as part of a study on low or underrepresented populations among Canadian business owners.

Statistics Canada continued to develop new statistical standards. A new Standards, data sources and methods web page is now available to the public and was developed to improve the usability of the standards.

Statistics Canada's leadership in the development of international statistical standards on new forms of employment was reflected in the publication of the Handbook on Forms of Employment by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in August 2022. This new handbook provides guidance on the measurement of forms of employment and describes new types of arrangements and technologies that may place workers from diverse groups in vulnerable situations. In December 2022, Statistics Canada conducted an LFS supplementary survey on digital platform employment based on these international standards and recommendations. The results showed that in 2022, more than half of workers who provided ride or delivery services through an app or platform were immigrants. To examine changes over time, Statistics Canada will collect these data again in December 2023.

In June 2022, Statistics Canada released Reference Data as a Service (RDaaS) to provide machine-readable access to the DDAP standards. RDaaS includes the code sets, classifications and concordances that are used within Statistics Canada to harmonize data for better interdepartmental data integration and analysis.

Continued engagement and collaboration

Engagement and consultations with partners are crucial for ensuring the relevance of Statistics Canada statistical programs, data and statistical standards.

Statistics Canada undertook consultations as part of the review of the visible minority concept to identify the appropriate terminology and categories to describe the population and properly address data needs in health, education, justice and employment equity. The consultations opened in October 2022 and were conducted with virtual group discussions and information sessions, and e-forms and written submissions. Statistics Canada received submissions from over 460 individuals from a variety of organizations, including anti-racism groups, civil society organizations, ethnocultural community organizations, religious networks and social inclusion groups, and from the general public.

In 2022/2023, the expansion of the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey continued. This initiative will ensure that the collection of data on the Indigenous and racialized identity of accused people and victims of crime fulfills the data needs of communities, the police, policy makers and the Canadian population more broadly. In September 2022, an interim report with recommendations to guide the path forward was released, and a second round of engagements focusing on operationalizing the recommendations outlined in the interim report started in August 2022. The system was updated based on the recommendations received and should be ready to receive data from police services in January 2024.

With funding from the DDAP, the Uniform Calls for Service Reporting Program was able to advance in 2022/2023 on a plan developed in the previous year to operationalize a national-level reporting program that gathers microdata records of calls for assistance made by the public to police. This initiative fills important gaps in information on the full spectrum of police work, more specifically by examining the non-criminal types of events that police respond to, and the diverse populations who live within communities where these calls take place.

In terms of municipal data, Statistics Canada worked closely with five cities to create an administrative data template to upload information to the Business Register. Furthermore, data for 35 cities were released in the Municipal Financial and Socioeconomic Data Dashboard. This project is linked to a broader initiative aimed at encouraging municipalities and their jurisdictions to adopt standard approaches to the collection and sharing of government statistics with Statistics Canada.

Additionally, members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities were contacted over the winter of 2023 to find out how they use Statistics Canada data, to identify key data priorities and to identify other ways to collaborate. The results will guide Statistics Canada's future data improvements at lower levels of geography, in collaboration with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its provincial and territorial jurisdictions.

To meet Statistics Canada's long-term goal of effectively measuring the diversity of members on non-profit boards, Statistics Canada held a series of consultations with representatives from the non-profit sector. Furthermore, an external advisory committee with leaders from governments, academia and the non-profit sector across Canada was established and will serve as a forum to share expertise regarding this important sector.

Internally, subject-matter experts from across Statistics Canada collaboratively developed a comprehensive training workshop to build analytical capacity to effectively analyze disaggregated data and produce meaningful research and insights on diverse populations in Canada.

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