An Act to Amend the Statistics Act
Ottawa, December 7, 2016—The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today made the following statement:
"Our government believes that for a national statistical agency to be credible, there must be a high degree of professional independence.
"That is why I am pleased to announce that I have introduced a bill that proposes to reinforce Statistics Canada's independence through legislative amendments to the Statistics Act.
"The proposed amendments would strengthen Statistics Canada's independence by clearly defining the responsibilities of the Minister and those of the Chief Statistician; increasing transparency around decisions and directives about Statistics Canada made by the government; appointing the Chief Statistician to a renewable term of not more than five years; creating the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council to reinforce the independence, relevance and transparency of the national statistical system; and removing the threat of imprisonment for those who refuse to respond to mandatory surveys.
"This bill, once passed, will ensure that there will be no political interference in the collection of statistics in general, and the census in particular.
"This bill will entrench Statistics Canada's independence into law, ensuring that Canadians can continue to rely on the integrity and accuracy of the data produced by their national statistical agency.
"Canadians understand that high-quality and impartial data are necessary for planning critical services that all Canadians rely on, including housing, schooling, public transportation and skills training for employment.
"Earlier this year, Canadians demonstrated their commitment to the Census Program by enabling Statistics Canada to carry out the most successful census in Canadian history.
"I am proud of our government's decisions to reinstate the mandatory long-form census and to introduce this bill. These actions will ensure that Canada's national statistical system remains strong.
"More than ever, the government is committed to evidence-based decision making and to making available the data that organizations and governments need in order to make informed decisions."
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For further information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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