Statistics Canada Departmental Plan
2020 - 2021 Review
In fiscal year 2020-21, Statistics Canada is working across the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Portfolio to:
- Enhance Canada’s innovation performance;
- Improve conditions for business investments;
- Increase Canada’s share of global trade and build a fair and efficient marketplace that promotes consumer choice and competition.
Statistics Canada’s modernization initiatives are taking shape in providing Canadians with more timely, detailed and high quality data and insights while further strengthening privacy and confidentiality measures using world class techniques and technology. Statistics Canada’s priorities for 2020-21 include:
- Modernizing operations. Statistics Canada is investing in modern technical, secure infrastructure as well as machine learning, finding fresh ways to model and present data, and developing new recruitment strategies to attract the next generation of data scientists;
- Enhancing Statistics Canada’s coverage of emerging social concerns. The agency is launching a new platform to deliver more data and analysis on important issues, such as hate crimes, housing affordability, climate change and Canadians’ quality of life;
- Seeking out data from alternative sources. Canadians have often asked why they are asked to provide the same data multiple times to government institutions. Statistics Canada is exploring greater use of administrative data?information already held by other organizations’to reduce costs and lessen the burden placed on Canadians and businesses;
- Encouraging data literacy. In 2020, Statistics Canada will be working to ensure that both experts and non-expert users are better able to access and use Statistics Canada’s data. By capitalizing on data visualizations and social media outreach, the agency will reach more Canadians. By promoting data literacy, Canadians can understand statistics and use them in their daily lives.
Planned results and resources, and key risks:
In order to support its modernization efforts, and in line with the Government of Canada approach, Statistics Canada is adopting cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud solutions will allow the agency to deliver more timely data to better serve Canadian, researchers and the academic community by providing on-demand access to high volumes of processing and storage capacity for calculation-intensive modeling, simulations and analytics. Cloud services offer the flexibility to maintain information technology services as demand for online services increases and technologies evolve. Statistics Canada is in the planning stages of migrating systems to the secure cloud. Statistics Canada will only migrate protected information once its systems have been deemed secure for cloud services appropriate for sensitive information, as per Government of Canada procedures and processes. Certified and tested Cloud services provide a secure, efficient and cost-effective platform for the agency to migrate its data and business processes. Statistics Canada continues to work closely with the Communications Security Establishment, Shared Services Canada and the Office of the Chief Information Officer of Canada at Treasury Board Secretariat to ensure that the agency continues to adhere to all legal, policy, and regulatory requirements related to data security and privacy.
- Statistics Canada is modernizing its services to adapt to a changing reality in which data are part of the everyday lives of Canadians. Statistics Canada’s stakeholder engagement approach will make it possible for the agency to design client-centric products, services and technologies and provide existing and future clients with an enhanced user experience.
- The agency is focused on becoming digitally vigilant by capitalizing on new and existing technologies and leveraging data management expertise. The next generation of Application Programming Interface work is underway at Statistics Canada, along with virtual data labs to facilitate data access.
- Statistics Canada will also develop and implement a data science strategy. The strategy involves improving recruitment and professional development practices to ensure that the agency has the skilled employees necessary to work with data in a digital environment and ensure the right information technology environment is available within the agency so that skilled professionals are able to use the disruptive technologies.
- The agency will formalize the key executive responsibilities of the Chief Data Officer to complement the Chief Information Officer’s role. This will involve carrying out the agency’s information management (IM) vision and improving its digital infrastructure. This will modernize the way Statistics Canada manages the information it collects, compiles, analyzes and publishes. The application of the IM vision and principles will also strengthen the agency’s approach to protect information in the context of a digital society, and will help foster modernization and the development of new programs and organizations, such as the Canadian Centre for Energy Information. Furthermore, the establishment of the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council by the Government of Canada is one of many initiatives that will support Statistics Canada’s modernization to an increasingly digital society.
Support for government priorities:
- The agency is focusing on the development of a Data Analytics as a Service (DAaaS) platform which is targeted toward internal and external data scientists, researchers, academics, and policy analysts. DAaaS components will serve as reusable building blocks for business solutions that will enable users to collaborate, access/discover, analyze and visualize key data and microdata using state of the art methods and tools, thus accelerating the timely delivery of these solutions in an efficient and secure manner. In alignment to agile project management and user-centred design practices, features will be iteratively prioritized, designed, developed and tested with the user community and will be released incrementally to leverage ongoing advancements in the analytics domain.
- Digital technology is revolutionizing the way Canadians live, work, and access information, products and services. The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and Internet of things has changed the types of jobs and skills required in the workplace today. The adoption of these digital technologies in business and society in general has the potential to positively impact the well-being of Canadians, giving them a greater choice of goods and services and increasing their ability to communicate with one another and their digital devices regardless of their physical location. However, mental and physical well-being can be negatively impacted by the same technology through online victimization, disinformation, and addiction.
- Statistics Canada will explore ways to address data gaps related to employment and income earned by Canadians from online platforms, household e-commerce spending, and the purchase of digital products and services. As well, Statistics Canada will examine how digital technology is used in the production process and in cross-border transactions.
Transformation Statistics Canada will explore more open data sources, develop quality indicators, prioritize the implementation of key digital building blocks to enable modernization, continue to identify and address skill gaps, as well as, foster and build relationships with key strategic partners.
Internal Services: planned results
The agency’s informatics services are also modernizing to enable the digital evolution and deliver technological innovations. Consistent with the Government of Canada cloud first direction, Statistics Canada is in the planning stages of migrating systems to the secure cloud. Statistics Canada will only migrate protected information once its systems have been deemed secure for cloud services appropriate for sensitive information, as per Government of Canada procedures and processes. Certified and tested Cloud services provide a secure, efficient and cost-effective platform for the agency to migrate its data and business processes. Cloud services offer the flexibility to maintain information technology services as demand for online services increases and technologies evolve.