StatCan-3 – Update on communications methods to better convey the importance of business surveys
In response to the recommendation to reduce business burden and provide stakeholders with pertinent information, Statistics Canada has undertaken a number of communications initiatives. These initiatives will allow survey respondents to have a better understanding of the importance and use of survey data and to express their information needs.
Improve the website
New sections have been created and posted on the website providing additional and relevant information.
In summer 2012, videos emphasizing the importance of responding to surveys were posted on Statistics Canada's website and YouTube channel.
In September 2012, new components for businesses were added to the website, including questions and answers and key facts about business surveys, as well as a description of the Red Tape Reduction initiatives undertaken by Statistics Canada to reduce response burden. As well, more specific information was provided to help respondents understand the role of Statistics Canada's ombudsman for businesses.
Recognizing that business entrepreneurs have specific information needs, Statistics Canada has been publishing a monthly newsletter dedicated to small and medium-sized businesses since October 2012. The objectives are to provide business owners, managers and entrepreneurs with the latest releases about the economy and society, and to share important information about upcoming events and activities that will help them get the most from Statistics Canada data. So far, over 1200 businesses receive monthly newsletter.
Links to the individual Red Tape Reduction initiatives, outcomes and benefits to respondents were made available on the website. The module also presents the long-term commitments to reduce burden by offering links to the Government of Canada's Paperwork Burden Reduction Initiative website and Statistics Canada's Paperwork Burden Reduction Initiative Report: Baseline Count and Complementary Measures.
In May 2013, a tutorial for businesses was launched in the newsletter and posted online to help businesses easily and efficiently access data that are of interest to them.
Improve printed and other materials
Letters inviting respondents to participate in surveys and communications to follow up with them were reviewed to ensure that they focus on relevance and uses of the data, and clearly explain the purpose of surveys. This is an ongoing task.
Nine blogs entries were posted on the CanadaBusiness.ca website hosted by Industry Canada. Blogs topics included The Daily, the business survey video, the tutorial for businesses, Statistics Canada's Business Register and CANSIM.
An article about CANSIM and Entrepreneurs was published in November 2012 in a magazine for business reaching 30,000 senior executives leading Canadian companies.
Statistics Canada is also making strides to help small businesses in using data from the Agency. This information is critical for businesses to choose data sources with confidence, knowing that their decisions are based on solid information. Specifically, tools have been developed to assist them in assessing the quality of surveys, whether from Statistics Canada or some other source.
Increase the visibility of the website and engage with business on social media
The agency contacted webmasters of 750 sites that cater to Canadian businesses to invite them to post links from their sites to relevant data and analysis on the Statistics Canada website. As a result, more business-relevant sites provide direct access to Statistics Canada information.
The web traffic on the Survey participants section of the website has increased by 5% between 2012 and 2013.
According to Statistics Canada's web evaluation survey conducted in 2013, 72% of respondents to the survey were satisfied or fully satisfied with the website, compared with 68% in 2012 and 2011, and 65% in 2010.
To increase the visibility of the website and to engage public awareness on social media, a crowdsourcing initiative will be implemented in fall 2013. Statistics Canada will use its Twitter account to engage the public online. The objective is to consult with this community to seek their feedback on how communications with respondents could be improved. A series of monthly questions will be posted and comments and feedback will be collected for review, consideration and implementation.