About us

Our mission: Serving Canada with high-quality statistical information that matters.

What we do

Statistics Canada produces statistics that help Canadians better understand their country—its population, resources, economy, society and culture.

In addition to conducting a Census every five years, there are about 350 active surveys on virtually all aspects of Canadian life.

In Canada, providing statistics is a federal responsibility. As Canada's central statistical office, Statistics Canada is legislated to serve this function for the whole of Canada and each of the provinces and territories.

Objective statistical information is vital to an open and democratic society. It provides a solid foundation for informed decisions by elected representatives, businesses, unions and non-profit organizations, as well as individual Canadians. As a member of the United Nations Statistical Commission, Statistics Canada endorses the Fundamental principles of official statistics.

We at Statistics Canada are committed to protecting the confidentiality of all information entrusted to us and to ensuring that the information we deliver is timely and relevant to Canadians.

Our data

  • Advisory groups
    Emerging issues prompt demands for new kinds of data. Maintaining the relevance of our program by meeting these information needs is one of Statistics Canada's primary goals. This is why Statistics Canada relies on many advisory groups.
  • Stakeholders
    Statistics Canada has a wide range of stakeholders. These are groups that we depend on to supply data and share expertise as well as those that benefit from the information we produce.
  • How data are used
  • Review of Quality Assurance Practices

Administrative data

What are administrative data?

Administrative data refer to information collected by government agencies and/or private sector companies in support of their operations. Examples include records of births and deaths, taxation records, records about the flow of goods and people across borders, and data collected by satellites.

How are administrative data used?

Statistics Canada uses administrative data for statistical purposes only to complement survey data, or in lieu of surveys and to support statistical operations. Using administrative data means the agency is able to improve data quality, meet new and ongoing information needs, reduce data collection costs and save time for Canadians who respond to our surveys.

What's the benefit?

It saves time and money. Canadians do not have to supply the same information to various government organizations over and over again. Administrative data are especially helpful for obtaining data pertaining to populations or topics that may be difficult or costly to obtain by survey.

What about confidentiality?

Administrative data obtained by Statistics Canada are used solely for statistical purposes and are treated with the same degree of scrutiny, confidentiality and security as data collected in surveys.

At Statistics Canada, the use and protection of all data, including administrative data, is governed by the Statistics Act, the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Web scraping

To continue to produce high quality data, Statistics Canada is looking to supplement traditional surveys with new methods of collection. As more Canadians are purchasing goods and services online, the agency has started to explore the use of automated means for collecting information from websites, including product prices and descriptions.

Web scraping is an efficient and cost-effective method of collection that will reduce response burden on businesses and organizations. Statistics Canada will not collect any personal information through web scraping.

The agency will engage in this activity in a responsible and transparent manner.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping is a process through which information is gathered and copied from the Web, for later retrieval and analysis. It can be conducted manually or through the use of an automated software.

Why is Statistics Canada engaging in web scraping?

Statistics Canada is committed to exploring alternative information sources to complement traditional collection methods.

As more goods and services are available online for purchase by Canadians, Statistics Canada has started to test the use of automated means for collecting information from websites. The use of web scraping is part of a broader effort to reduce burden on respondents, while continuing to provide high-quality data in a timely and cost-effective manner.

What is the goal of Statistics Canada's web scraping initiative?

Statistics Canada is evaluating the viability of web scraping as a means of automating the collection of information from websites. Data collected will be used only for statistical and research purposes, to meet the needs of the agency's various programs.

For example, the Consumer Price Index program will use web scraped data to identify differences between online and in-store price movements and trends, and to assess the possibility of using such collection methods to supplement or replace field collection activities in the future.

What are the benefits of web scraping?

Web scraping will significantly reduce response burden, saving businesses and organizations time and resources, as current survey content can be reduced. It is also a cost-effective means of acquiring large volumes of information. Respondents and Canadians at large will benefit from this new method of collection, as more timely and accurate statistics will be available.

Web scraping can also be used to complement traditional collection methods, particularly in the areas of data analysis and research, and is expected to produce better quality information.

How are websites selected for web scraping?

Websites are selected based on several factors, including the design, function and amount of activity on the site, as well as the size and composition of the industry to which the underlying enterprise belongs.

How frequently will websites be scraped?

The frequency of data collection will be determined by the various requirements of Statistics Canada’s program areas, and in line with industry best practices. In general, price collection activities for a particular website may occur up to once per day.

Will there be any impact on the websites?

As with all methods of data collection, Statistics Canada takes steps to minimize the burden on respondents. These steps include limiting collection to only what is required, and coordinating across statistical program areas to avoid obtaining the same information twice.

Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics - Thumbnail

Behind every number: A portrait of Canada

Behind every number: A portrait of Canada - Thumbnail

Public Service Renewal Results

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