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article imageStatistics Canada to cut surveys, $7 million from budget

By Andrew Moran     Oct 11, 2010 in Politics
Ottawa - Canada's top statistics organization, Statistics Canada, has been ordered to find $7 million in savings. This has forced the survey group to end five surveys and slash the amount of analysis it conducts.
Statistics Canada has been in the news for the last few months. First it was over the controversy between Industry Minister Tony Clement’s desire to scrap the mandatory long-form census and the survey agency’s plea to keep it.
The agency is now reportedly going to cut $7 million from its $400 million budget, according to CTV News. It also plans to chop at least five surveys: two environmental surveys, two business statistics and a health report.
StatsCan earns about $100 million per year from selling its data.
Despite finding cuts of $1 million by reducing the amount of analysis, former chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, wrote in a May 31 letter to the Treasury Board: “If we keep going down this path ... we are at serious risk of eroding the quality of our statistics to unacceptable levels. Our collections systems are becoming outdated, we have less than optimal levels of automation of our processes and we suffer from a lack of proper documentation that can be risky.”
So how much can the agency cut? Ending the five surveys will find them $4 million in savings, while cutting the amount of analysis will give them an extra $1.5 million. This leaves them a $2 million gap.
The federal government said over the summer they would be awarded $30 million in order to conduct the voluntary census survey, reports 680 News. However, agency spokesperson, Peter Frayne, stated: “At this point, no alternative sources of funding have been confirmed that would offset any of the proposed analytical or survey program reductions, although this remains a possibility.”
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