Economic analysis

Here's why Statistics Canada's in so much trouble

It's easy to forget just how deep the job cuts at Statistics Canada have been

Census NHS 20130502
That Statistics Canada is in chaos is no secret. Incidents of poor or incomplete data have been highlighted with increasing and disturbing regularity. The barren wasteland of Canadian statistics was already a concern before Auditor-General Michael Ferguson warned the government has serious gaps in its numbers around job vacancies. Earlier this month the agency’s director of labour statistics said any new survey on vacancies would cost “well over” $5 million and budget cuts make that impossible.

So yeah, StatsCan’s a mess. But it’s still easy to forget just how deep the job cuts at the agency have been. Today StatsCan released figures about Ottawa’s spending on science and technology, and buried in the tables was a breakdown of federal workers engaged in science and technology by department and agency, including StatsCan.

One caveat to the above chart is that 2006 was a census year, and Statistics Canada employment always swells with temporary enumerators. But even with bumps in 2006 and the 2011 census, the number of science and technology workers at the agency has been on a steadily downward trend.  


With Ottawa planning to eliminate 9,000 more jobs over the next three years, Canada’s statistical agency may not be clear of its troubles yet.