Knowledge isn't free

Stephen Gordon rebuts the notion—expressed here for instance—that the information Statistics Canada collects is freely available to researchers and the like.

If you go looking for data at the Statistics Canada website, you end up looking at a price list. For reasons going back to the Mulroney-era budget cuts, Statistics Canada is expected to generate a significant portion of its revenues. In 2009, some 20% of its $500m budget came from selling access to its data. Private-sector clients are not the only people who pay for StatsCan data: government departments and agencies at all levels must pay for access as well. (A significant chunk of the Parliamentary Budget Office’s budget goes to Statistics Canada.)