Government of Canada fulfills commitment to give Statistics Canada greater independence
Greater independence ensures high-quality data and better decisions for Canadians
December 13, 2017 – Ottawa
Canadians rely on the integrity and accuracy of the data produced by Statistics Canada to properly manage their affairs and facilitate business and economic growth. Impartial information is valued and is essential for making informed decisions.
Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, welcomed Royal Assent of a bill that reinforces Statistics Canada’s independence through legislative amendments to the Statistics Act.
The amended Act formalizes Statistics Canada’s independence by entrenching this independence into law. It helps ensure that decisions on statistical matters are transparent and are based on professional considerations.
The amended Statistics Act sets out the responsibilities of the Minister and those of the Chief Statistician. The changes will increase transparency around decisions and directives made by the government as they relate to Statistics Canada. This reinforces Statistics Canada’s credibility and will increase Canadians’ trust in their national statistical agency.
The targeted amendments:
- enable the appointment of the Chief Statistician by the Governor in Council to a renewable term of not more than five years—the Chief Statistician may only be removed for cause;
- create the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council to advise the Minister and Chief Statistician on the overall quality of the national statistics system and publish an annual report;
- remove from the Act the threat of imprisonment for those who refuse to respond to mandatory surveys; and
- allow the transfer of records for all censuses from 2021 onwards to Library and Archives Canada after 92 years and the transfer of records where consent was given for the censuses of population taken in 2006, 2011 and 2016 as well as for the 2011 National Household Survey.
These amendments reflect the Government of Canada’s commitment to increasing transparency and supporting evidence-based decision making. By strengthening Statistics Canada’s independence, the Government ensures that Canadians can continue to rely on the integrity and accuracy of the data produced by their national statistical agency.
“One important criterion for high-quality data is impartiality. The quality of statistical information is maximized when decisions on statistical matters and operations are not subject to control by the Government.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
“Statistics Canada is a world-class agency that carries out its mandate to provide Canadians with unbiased, high-quality information that responds to the information needs of the country.”
– Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada
Previously, the Statistics Act had no specific provision establishing the independence of Statistics Canada.
Canada endorses the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Recommendation on Good Statistical Practice. The amendments better align Canada with these international standards.
Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA
Karl W. Sasseville
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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