To continue to produce high quality data while reducing response burden, Statistics Canada is looking to supplement traditional surveys with new methods of collection. Statistics Canada is evaluating the viability of web scraping as a means of automating the collection of information from websites. For example, as more Canadians begin to purchase goods and services online, the agency is exploring automated website data collection, including product prices and descriptions.
Data collected are only used for statistical and research purposes, to meet the needs of the agency's various programs. Statistics Canada does not collect personal information through web scraping, and ensures that work is done in a responsible and transparent manner.
Web scraping has the possibility to significantly reduce response burden, reducing survey content, and saving businesses and organizations time and resources. It is also a cost-effective means of acquiring large volumes of information. Businesses, organizations and Canadians at large will benefit from this new method of collection, with more timely and accurate statistics.