Internal memo reveals Ottawa cut labour market data spending

More indications of the botched up Temporary Foreign Workers program, linked to bad labour market data, cutbacks and overall approach to evidence-based policy making:

“Things are getting done in the opposite direction,” said economist Don Drummond, who will release a paper Wednesday for the Institute for Research on Public Policy calling on Ottawa to tackle Canada’s long-standing labour market data problems. “Normally you create an information infrastructure and that informs the policy. But here we’ve had dramatic changes in policy with the temporary foreign worker program and the Canada Job Grant, while we’re undermining the lousy information infrastructure we already had.”

Mr. Drummond chaired a 2009 panel on labour market information and says many of the panel’s recommendations have not yet been fully implemented.

A spokesperson for Mr. Kenney said the minister has repeatedly noted the need for better labour market information in Canada and is looking for ways to achieve this. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada explained the spending reduction by stating that the department has modernized its data portfolio in a “tighter fiscal environment,” in part by stopping low-priority surveys to fund higher-priority research.

The recent debate over labour data has focused in part on the government’s decision to reduce funding for Statistics Canada, which gathers labour data through phone surveys of employers, while relying more on private-sector data based on scans of Internet job boards.

Internal memo reveals Ottawa cut labour market data spending – The Globe and Mail.

Update:

The Government announced that it would restore funding to StatsCan to improve labour market information:

“The government will be launching two significant, robust, new labour market information studies,” Mr. Kenney told the House of Commons Wednesday. “Of them, one will be a quarterly study on job vacancies and the other a robust annual survey on wage rates, just as experts have asked us to do.”

Sources say the new $14-million would largely reverse the 20 per cent cut by 2015-16, returning the department’s annual spending on labour market information to more than $80-million.

Ottawa increases funding for labour-market surveys

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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