With a little bit of experience or research, we can judge the quality of the clothing we buy, the food we eat or the car we drive. However, when it comes to data, quality is much harder to measure. After all, there is no comparison shopping when Canada only has one national statistical office. Nor can data users see a survey being conducted the way restaurant patrons can watch a chef assemble a sushi roll. Instead, for quality of data, users depend on the standards of the organization that produces it.
Statistics Canada's monthly figures on employment, unemployment and the labour force participation rate—three essential Labour Market Indicators (LMIs)—are among its most sought-after data.
The media, labour market analysts, economists, consultants, planners, forecasters and academics in both the private and public sectors look forward to seeing the latest numbers on the first Friday of each month.
In late spring 2016, Canada watched as a wildfire spread across northern Alberta, engulfing the oil sands town of Fort McMurray. About 88,000 residents of Wood Buffalo—the municipality that encompasses Fort McMurray—left their homes to take refuge across the province and in other parts of the country.
When they returned over the following weeks, they found that more than 2,500 homes had been destroyed by the fire.