The Agency's Corporate Risk Profile for 2012–13 and 2013–14 identified six key risks and corresponding mitigation strategies. Management leads and, where appropriate, management committees, have been assigned the responsibility for following-up and reporting on risk mitigation action plans.
Public service workforce adjustment frameworks applicable to the Agency have been implemented. The Agency has ensured the proper alignment of existing staff with programs, moving to a streamlined set of well-documented corporate systems and processes, expanded training, and prioritization of investments and new work to ensure that those undertaken are properly resourced
Protection of the confidentiality of respondent information is essential to maintaining the trust of Canadian households and business and thereby their willingness to participate in the Agency's survey programs. The Agency has directed a portion of its internal audit program to assessing the sufficiency of the controls established to prevent breaches of confidentiality and the rigour with which these controls are being applied. The transfer of data centre and networking responsibilities from the Agency to Shared Services Canada (SSC) has required that Statistics Canada work carefully to ensure that the requirements of the Statistics Act with respect to confidentiality and data security are fully met in this process. An operating protocol has been established with SSC and internal policies have been adapted to reflect the new roles and responsibilities.
Increased concern among Canadians about personal privacy and informational security together with evolving telecommunications technologies make it more difficult to establish communications with households and easier for households to screen unwanted communications. Statistics Canada is proactively employing strategies to mitigate any reduction in response rates for household surveys by monitoring response rates and continuously assessing the presence of bias in survey results. Research is also being conducted into more effective methods of reaching and motivating survey respondents. Internet-based collection methods are being introduced and the Agency has begun including cellphone telephone numbers in its collection processes. Where possible, administrative data sources are being developed to replace or complement surveys.
The results of the 2011 National Household Survey will be released during the 2013–14 fiscal year. Given the voluntary nature of this survey, stakeholders have expressed concern about the quality of the data that will be obtained. Statistics Canada will conduct thorough quality assessments for data to be released and will communicate all available information on data quality to ensure that NHS data are used to their full potential.
A challenge for Statistics Canada will be the integration of its IT infrastructure within the government-wide shared service managed by SSC. Currently Statistics Canada has a vast suite of applications and data files with sensitive statistical information operating on a closed internal network. To be able to operate within the different network topology provided by SSC, significant time and resources will be required to secure hardware and applications. The Agency expects to begin this work in 2013-14.
Treasury Board has identified a number of standard software products that departments and agencies will in future be required to use in administrative functions such as human resources, finance, and records management. At present, none of the prescribed software are in use at Statistics Canada. Current estimates of the cost of acquiring and deploying these tools are very large relative to Statistics Canada's historical investment in this area. The Agency is working with Chief Information Officer Branch and other key players to identify cost-efficient solutions that will avoid any financial impact on the statistical program of deploying the standard software. Statistics Canada continued to improve its implementation of Integrated Risk Management throughout 2012, and is committed to monitoring and reporting risk in the future.