National Statistic Authorities
In this research, the research team has focused on providing information on the national statistics authority in Canada. Canada's national statistics office, Statistics Canada, has the principal role of ensuring that Canadians have access to accurate information on the society, economy, and environment, which they may need to function effectively as citizens and decision makers in Canada. Statistics Canada follows a centralized statistical system and has the sole rights to collect statistical data. The office uses a few systems like computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), electronic questionnaires (EQ), computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), paper and pencil interviewing (PAPI), and multi-mode collection to collect its data.
The Canadian national statistics body is known as Statistics Canada. Its principal role is to guarantee that Canadians have access to accurate information on the society, economy, and environment, which they may need to function effectively as citizens and decision makers in Canada.
Statistics Canada enables Canadians to understand their country better. Aside from conducting a Census every five years, it has almost 350 surveys currently active in every aspect of Canadian life. Statistics Canada is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all information it is entrusted with, ensuring that it delivers prompt and relevant information to Canadians.
The 1985 Statistics Act helps govern and protect Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada falls under the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development which is governed by the Honorable Navdeep Bains, with the help of the Honorable Kirsty Duncan, the Honorable Melanie Joly, and the Honorable Mary Ng. Statistics Canada itself is governed by a Chief Statistician under the Statistics Act. Mr. Anil Arora currently holds the office.
In 1912, the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who was also in charge of official statistics, the Right Honorable Sir George Eulas Foster, fused the Census and Statistics Office into his department.
R.H. Coats was appointed as Dominion Statistician and Controller of the Census at the Department of Trade and Commerce in 1915. Coats was given the responsibility of carrying out the Commission's recommendations, which included setting the stage for establishing a centralized statistical system. He played an important role in drafting new legislation to establish the Dominion Bureau of Statistics.
A bill to create the Dominion Bureau of Statistics and a centralized and coordinated national statistical system was presented to the House of Commons in April 1918.
Statistics Canada, the country's central statistical agency, was, therefore, established in 1918 as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics and assumed its current name in 1971. Under the Statistics Act of that year, the agency is responsible for collecting, compiling, analyzing, abstracting, and publishing statistical information on the financial, commercial, industrial, social, economic, and general activities and condition of Canadians.
In 2017, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development issued a statement on the bill amendment of the Statistics Act to give Statistics Canada greater independence to carry out its responsibilities. Greater independence means having authority over statistical methods and operations, including all aspects related to the production of statistical information. Decisions on these matters must be based on professional considerations, and be free from interference by government or outside interests.
The 2017 Bill directly authorizes the Chief Statistician to take decisions on methods and operations, as well as collecting, compiling, analyzing, abstracting, and publishing statistical information. Currently, these authorities are assigned to the Minister who then assigns them to the Chief Statistician. Under the 2017 Bill, once it comes into practice, a new Canadian Statistics Advisory Council will come into play—a new body that Statistics Canada did not have in the past.
Throughout the history of Canadian, the release of census records has been done after varying periods of time ranging from 70-98 years. The Privacy Act was adopted in 1983, at which time, the 1891 Census data had not yet been released. The Privacy Act regulations, therefore, included a provision for the release of census records after 92 years (1983 to 1891). That 92-year precedent was applied to the Statistics Act in 2005 through the addition of a section about releasing census records.
In 2018, a new set of questions were added to the Census as a pilot Census that asks more personal questions that have never been asked before under the Canadian Census. These questions have been made compulsory with a $500 fine if not answered. Statistics Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018.
Statistics Canada follows a centralized statistical system. Based on the Statistics Act, it has the sole rights to collect statistical data. Other federal government departments take part in very few statistical activities in very specialized fields. However, they often assist in producing official statistics by providing Statistics Canada with administrative data.
Statistics Canada uses a few systems like computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), electronic questionnaires (EQ), computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), paper and pencil interviewing (PAPI), and multi-mode collection to collect its data. These technologies are used by the Collection Planning and Research Division. Statistics Canada is also exploring the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) or tablets enabled with a global positioning system to verify the location of interviewers.