How CBC is diving deeper when it comes to newsroom diversity

While promotional, some interesting data of diversity within the CBC, both in the newsroom as well as management, highlighting the relative under-representation of the different visible minority and Indigenous groups. Also some interesting analysis regarding the diversity of people being interviewed (but not the thought diversity that is harder to measure and assess):

Soon after the news broke about the discovery of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, we convened a small group of our leaders and Indigenous journalists from across the country to act as an advisory committee for the CBC division of News, Current Affairs and Local.

We knew the story would only grow. There would be more discoveries in many different parts of Canada in the months ahead. We knew there was important accountability and investigative journalism to be done, building on years of excellent work tracking Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. (See Beyond 94, for example.)

We were also aware of the pain and trauma our journalism could create, not only for survivors and their families, but for our own staff with ties to this terrible legacy.

The committee was quick to identify areas in which we could support our staff. We rolled out a special edition of our “Reporting in Indigenous Communities” training course to about 30 leaders and assignment editors involved in deploying people to cover the story. We connected with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University to create a training program specific to the residential school story that will help our journalists understand trauma and how to approach people in affected communities, while also managing their own mental well-being.

And we created a dedicated residential school unit to ensure sustained, focused investigative journalism in the months ahead. The unit created an email tip line, wherearethey@cbc.ca, which received more than 200 messages in the first few weeks. It now has a toll-free number: 1-833-824-0800.

That early and proactive impulse to set up a committee and regularly consult with our Indigenous staff as this difficult story emerged resulted in greater sensitivity and understanding — and ultimately better, more nuanced journalism.

It’s a good example of what’s possible when a news organization like ours embraces the call for greater racial representation, equity and inclusion in everything it does, at every level. It’s a step forward on a long journey, with many more steps and undoubtedly years of hard work still to come.

We are 15 months into the cultural and social revolution sparked by the murder of George Floyd. As I’ve written before, this revolution swept news organizations the world over and resulted in some profound self-reflection about how we hire and promote, our core journalistic values and who defines them, and the stories, voices and perspectives we include — or exclude — as we cover the news.

To be clear, we started this important work long before May 2020 in many parts of our organization. We have always had a duty and responsibility to authentically portray this country and, as a result, the root of nearly every inclusion challenge we face are four key questions: Who’s at the table? Who’s speaking? Who’s missing? Who’s deciding?

Here’s a brief update on some of the work happening at CBC News, Current Affairs and Local to keep us on the path forward:

Newsroom diversity survey

We are participants in the Canadian Newsroom Diversity Survey led by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ). The results, expected this fall, will offer a comparative analysis of the gender and racial makeup of at least 170 news organizations in Canada.

CBC/Radio-Canada is an industry leader when it comes to tracking and reporting on equity and staffing, having done so since the 1980s. As a federally regulated Crown corporation, CBC reports annually on our overall staffing composition per the Employment Equity Act, but many of us want more detail.

Are we reflective of Canada’s demography in the voices you hear, see or read each day? What about behind the scenes? Does management look different from part-time staff? Can we get more detail about specific racial groups as opposed to broad Employment Equity Act definitions such as “visible minority” or terms like “people of colour”?

We saw a great opportunity to get some of these answers in the CAJ initiative.

The measurement is imperfect. For instance, our numbers — a now-outdated snapshot in time as of December 2020 — come from self-declarations on a “cultural census” that we ask staff to complete. Many employees are captured under the broad equity definitions, but they have not completed the cultural census declaration for various reasons, which means we are forced to report many “unknowns” when asked for specific information about ethnocultural identity. Our gender data is binary (CBC is in the process of changing that to include non-binary). Biracial and multiracial staff may self-identify with one or more of the available categories in the survey. How should they be more accurately represented?

Still, the data will offer a baseline and provide some clarity on where we need to focus our recruitment and promotion efforts as a news organization. Here are few of the topline results for CBC’s journalism division, with more detail to come in the CAJ release this fall:

On gender, our newsrooms skew female at all levels: senior leadership is 54 per cent female and 46 per cent male; journalists are 56 per cent female and 44 per cent male; supervisors are 59 per cent female and 41 per cent male; part-time staff are 60 per cent female and 40 per cent male.

Of senior newsroom leaders in management positions, 22 per cent are people of colour or Indigenous. Here are a few graphs that show breakdowns in more detail:

Journalists (full time):

Journalists (part time):

Supervisors:

Senior leadership:

* Notes on Senior Leadership: As this is a relatively small group of leaders, we addressed inconsistencies in the CBC cultural census data with what we know to be our leadership. We tallied leaders identified under one of the five ethnic categories and grouped everyone else under uncategorized. 

JSP and inclusion

We are also months into a review of how our Journalistic Standards and Practices (JSP) — the framework that guides our journalism — are interpreted through the lens of inclusion. A staff-led consultation led to 65 recommendations. We are moving immediately on 20 action items and continuing consultations on the rest. Among the biggest commitments included in that first set of 20:

  • We will create an advisory group involving Black, Indigenous and journalists of colour to support the JSP office.
  • We will create a separate staff advisory committee with representation from various communities to consult and support ongoing changes to our internal language and style guide.
  • We will reinforce that lived experience and being a part of any one community does not constitute a conflict of interest when covering those communities. We will remind all that we value lived experience and community connections in our journalists because it helps us to broaden and deepen our journalism.
  • We will continue to hire and promote representation at all levels of our organization, including leadership and decision-making roles. We will exceed 55 per cent representation for new hires from three equity deserving groups (people of colour, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities) in the year ahead.

Content tracking

In addition, more than 25 CBC journalistic programs have been involved in a staff-led content-tracking pilot project that tracks who appears on our airwaves and websites. Each team aims to identify at least three aspects: gender, race/ethnicity and whether or not the subject is speaking about their race or ethnicity. We are also tracking people who have publicly identified themselves as non-binary. Additional customized questions, such as the role of the guest on the program, can be added by the teams participating in this content-tracking project.

The results provide a baseline; a check on our assumptions and intentions around gender and racial equity. We learned, for example, that of nearly 5,000 guests counted across all the participating programs, 60 per cent were male. Hard numbers like that give our teams direction and ensure they course-correct. One consumer program saw that male experts appeared more often than females, for example, and the team made a concerted effort to bring more female guests onto their show.

We learned that 64 per cent of Indigenous guests and story subjects who appeared in our programs during the pilot spoke about their race and ethnicity, compared to 34 per cent of Black guests and story subjects. There is no right or wrong with these figures, considering how prominent the story of the Indigenous experience in Canada has been in recent months of news coverage. But the data forces us to self-reflect and discuss how we should incorporate the perspectives and experiences of these equity-deserving groups in all stories we are doing, beyond just issues related to aspects of their identities.

We aim to make this project a permanent, consistent practice across News, Current Affairs and Local. The staff leading this change have done extensive research and have years of experience in content tracking in Canada. They have already been asked to share their learnings with other newsrooms with similar efforts, including the BBC, NPR and many more.

What’s next?

We’ve come a long way. We have a long way to go.

The goal is clear: We will deepen our journalism and relevance to Canadians by broadening the perspectives at all levels of our organization and in the stories we tell.

Those four fundamental questions continue to guide us: Who’s at the table? Who’s speaking? Who’s missing? Who’s deciding?

Because as Canada’s public broadcaster, with one of the most trusted news services in the country, it is critical we are authentically and truly representing this country and all of its diversity.

Source: How CBC is diving deeper when it comes to newsroom diversity

Canada’s data gaps hampered pandemic response, hurting vaccination tracking: report

An area that governments need to address:

The pandemic has exposed significant problems with how Canada gathers and processes data on everything from case numbers to vaccinations, which has hurt the country’s response to COVID-19, a new report conducted for the federal government says.

Canada could not track the spread of the virus as effectively as it needed to last year, according to a report prepared by the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy Expert Advisory Group that will be made public Thursday. The country is now struggling to keep tabs on vaccine effectiveness because of flaws in the system, including how different jurisdictions record and share information.

These data gaps, created by a patchwork of health systems that don’t always work together and often code data in different ways, need to be addressed with a national approach, the report warns.

“There is no doubt that our response to the pandemic has been severely limited as a result,” says an advance copy of the report, which was reviewed by The Globe and Mail.

The report was ordered by Ottawa last year to examine data problems exposed by COVID-19. The group will put together a list of recommendations to the Public Health Agency of Canada and other departments on how to fix these weaknesses, said Vivek Goel, who chaired the review.

When the COVID-19 outbreak hit, problems in reporting new cases, symptoms and other crucial data became apparent in Canada’s patchwork system. Since provincial and territorial jurisdictions don’t necessarily use the same standards for collecting or codifying information, pooling crucial data on a national level became difficult.

“Early on it was challenging to get a full national picture, even of basic case counts,” Dr. Goel said, noting that crucial information such as the sites of the outbreaks, or the occupations of those who became ill, weren’t always collected, codified, or shared between health jurisdictions. This prevented policy makers from knowing where and how hot spots were developing, and where the next crisis might be lurking.

“That [information] is something that is collected on the front lines of public health as people do their interviews, or it is collected at the time someone goes for testing. But if it’s not collected in a consistent way in every place and then coded and loaded into the system, we don’t wind up with a good picture,” Dr. Goel said.

“I would say if we had some of that information in a more timely manner, we might have had some decisions [by the government] being made sooner,” Dr. Goel said.

The country got better at processing information as the pandemic progressed, but “Canada had had some pretty significant challenges early on in even getting some of that basic data shared and uploaded,” he said.

These data gaps have become magnified as the country tries to mount a rapid immunization campaign across those same varied jurisdictions. Lacking the ability to quickly and effectively pool data from around the country, Canada is struggling to track, in real time, how effectively the vaccines are working in the broader population.

“Probably the most important question around vaccination in Canada is around the effectiveness of the vaccines in the real world with the dosing schedules and approaches that we’ve taken in Canada, because we’re the country that’s taken the longest dose interval,” Dr. Goel said.

“We’ve got reports that have started to come out, but they’re coming out at the provincial level,” he said. “We don’t have a national report, and every province’s systems are slightly different. So we wind up with slightly different estimates. They’re not going to be comparable.”

More detailed data on vaccine uptake is also difficult to compile, he said. “We need to have data coming together around how many people have been immunized by age group, occupation codes, all sorts of information. For example, people want to know how many teachers have had [the vaccine]. But we don’t have systems that really allow us to easily bring that kind of data together,” Dr. Goel said.

Questions specific to Canada, such as the effectiveness of mixing vaccines, are also hard to answer without properly collecting and analyzing data from across the country, he said. “We’ve got more of this mixing and matching coming up, so we need to be generating real-world evidence on how well it’s working,” Dr. Goel said.

The findings echo a report by the Auditor-General of Canada in March that said the government lacked proper data procedures to accurately track the spread of the virus. Dr. Goel said the issues are due to a number of causes, from lack of investment and concerns over privacy breaches to provinces simply wanting to oversee their own systems.

He also noted that various reports and governments have tried to address these issues in the past, but the problems were never fixed. After the 2003 SARS outbreak, Ottawa oversaw the creation of a database system known as Panorama, intended to improve infectious-disease surveillance and immunization tracking on a national level. However, the project struggled to gain support, ran into numerous roadblocks and was never effective.

“Despite all these good intentions, we don’t seem to make the progress we’d like to see,” said Dr. Goel, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health who is leaving to become president of the University of Waterloo next month.

The report calls for Ottawa to work with provinces and territories, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, to build a system where health data, including information on outbreaks and immunization, can be pooled effectively, and governments can act faster. Overcoming privacy concerns is a key challenge, and any such initiative must ensure that personalized information is protected, the report says.

“We need to tackle the root causes of the problems that have plagued our ability to make progress toward a common aim for all Canadians,” the report says. “Put simply, our systems, processes and policies are geared towards an analog world, while we live in a digital age.”

Dr. Goel said there are several examples of countries that collect, share and process data better than Canada, while still protecting privacy and respecting regional autonomy. Several Scandinavian countries have systems Canada should seek to emulate, he said, while the British, despite having data challenges of their own, have a more effective surveillance system implemented across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“There are models for how we could approach that in Canada, but until we get to the point where we work together on these things, we wind up with these siloed sorts of approaches across the country,” Dr. Goel said.

“These issues have been underscored through Canada’s response to COVID-19,” the report says. The challenges include “timely collection and use of testing, case and vaccination data; assessing impacts of the pandemic in specific populations; sharing genomic data for management of variants; and the persistent challenges of long-term care.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-canadas-data-gaps-hampered-pandemic-response-hurting-vaccination/

Government’s failure to keep stock of PPE reserves hurt us when we needed it most

Good commentary on the long history of government data management and use issues, brought to prominence during COVID-19, along with systemic accountability issues.

And yes, the default option for government data would be public (and to be fair, the open government initiative has resulted in more availability of data):

Seventeen years ago, there was a cabinet minister named Reg Alcock, the President of the Treasury Board, who invited people to his office for lectures about data.

The late Mr. Alcock was a hefty, 6-foot-8 mountain of a man with two main interests: Liberal Party organizing in Manitoba and dragging the government into the digital age. Part of the lecture he gave in 2004 was a question: Why is it that corporate executives have computers that can tell them, for example, how many trucks their company owns, but a prime minister would need a year to get the same answer from government?

On Wednesday, Auditor-General Karen Hogan issued a report on the government’s handling of stockpiles of PPE that let it be known that Mr. Alcock’s question is still hanging in the air, nearly two decades later.

Ms. Hogan’s team reported that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had a stockpile of personal protective equipment and medical devices, but it didn’t have a policy about what should be in it, or what was in it, or whether the equipment had expired.

When the biggest public-health crisis of modern times hit and provinces needed N95 masks and ventilators from the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, well, there wasn’t enough useful stuff there. The data were so unreliable the auditors couldn’t tell how badly it fell short.

The haphazard management of the stockpile wasn’t a new thing. Internal audits in 2010 and 2013 raised those issues.

Citizens might think a decade of disregarded warnings is a scandal that will shake the halls of power in Ottawa. But for a politician, it is cause for relief. The best kind of failure is one that was going on long before you took office. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s advisers will be happy enough that the Auditor-General credited the government for responding after the crisis hit.

But note that PHAC did draft a proposal to develop a better inventory management system in January, 2020 – just as COVID-19 was spreading – but agency officials told auditors “it was put on hold because of budget constraints.”

Mr. Alcock, back in the day, didn’t just want government to get computer systems – they have a lot – but to manage data, to make more information available and usable, so that government knows better what is happening within government.

But politicians in charge aren’t good at driving change in long-term, systemic issues that voters don’t even see. Mr. Alcock, for example, was preaching for IT in a Paul Martin government busy with Liberal scandals and non-confidence votes in Parliament.

Two PMs later, and governments still have a hard time seeing what government is doing. The National Emergency Strategic Stockpile wasn’t much use in a crisis because it didn’t do the kind of information management that that happens at a grocery store: figuring out what you will need, buying it, tracking what goes in and out and what is going bad.

By now we know that bad data management, not knowing what you don’t know, raises risk in a crisis. And there’s something else: Most of that data can and should be made public.

Why not let the public see the running tally of N95 masks in inventory, or ventilators on the web? Most people won’t look at it, but perhaps a few experts in universities and elsewhere will analyze the policies, crunch the data and, we can hope, point out when they’re messed up. Or just missing. That applies to other kinds of data, too.

In Britain, this week’s remarkable testimony of Dominic Cummings, a former aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about the chaotic initial response to the pandemic made it pretty clear that it’s no longer necessary, or wise, to leave the data inside government.

Mr. Cummings testified to a parliamentary committee that false assumptions, bad analysis, and groupthink inside government led Mr. Johnson’s government to a disastrous notion that it should try to reach herd immunity rather than slowing the spread of COVID-19. Scientists outside government, notably a mathematician, helped convince him that was “catastrophically wrong,” he said. He and the government’s top science adviser later agreed data should have been released earlier, to get input.

That’s not the same thing as PHAC’s failure to keep track of a stockpile. But then, if we want to encourage the government to keep tabs on the data, one good way is to demand to see it.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-governments-failure-to-keep-stock-of-ppe-reserves-hurt-us-when-we/

Canada votes to collect data to document ‘environmental racism’

Interesting, likely correlates with lower income as well:

Canada will collect data on the impact of siting a disproportionate number of polluting industries and landfills in areas inhabited by racial minority communities, federal lawmakers voted Wednesday.

The bill aims to tackle “environmental racism,” where Indigenous, Black and other racial minority communities are exposed to higher levels of dirty air, contaminated water or other toxins and pollutants.

One of the most famous cases is in the Indigenous Grassy Narrows First Nation community in Ontario, where residents have since the 1960s suffered health impacts from mercury contamination produced by a former pulp and paper mill.

Source: Canada votes to collect data to document ‘environmental racism’

President Trump Reduced Legal Immigration. He Did Not Reduce Illegal Immigration

Usual solid analysis by Cato Institute:

President Trump entered the White House with the goal of reducing legal immigration by 63 percent. Trump was wildly successful in reducing legal immigration. By November 2020, the Trump administration reduced the number of green cards issued to people abroad by at least 418,453 and the number of non‐​immigrant visas by at least 11,178,668 during his first term through November 2020. President Trump also entered the White House with the goal of eliminating illegal immigration but Trump oversaw a virtual collapse in interior immigration enforcement and the stabilization of the illegal immigrant population. Thus, Trump succeeded in reduce legal immigration and failed to eliminate illegal immigration.

Figure 1 shows the monthly number of green cards issued to immigrants outside of the United States. In most years, about half of all green cards are issued to immigrants who already reside in the United States on another visa. Thus, the number of green cards issued to immigrants abroad is a better metric of the annual inflow of lawful permanent residents than the total number issued. Trump cut the average number of monthly green cards issued by 18.2 percent relative to Obama’s second term, but that average monthly decline hides the virtual end of legal immigration from April 2020 onward.

In response to the recession and the COVID-19 outbreak, President Trump virtually ended the issuance of green cards to people abroad. In the last 6 months of the 2020 fiscal year (April‐​September 2020) the U.S. government only issued about 29,000 green cards. In the same period in 2016, the U.S. government issued approximately 309,000 green cards. Compared to the last half of FY2016, the number of green cards issued in the last half of FY2020 fell by 90.5 percent (please see note at the end of this blog post for how I estimated these figures).

Before the COVID-19 pandemic during the period from January 2017‐​February 2020, the average number of green cards issued per month was only down about 0.5 percent under Trump compared to from January 2013‐​February 2016 under the Obama administration with cumulative numbers down just over 3.2 percent. Beginning in mid‐​to‐​late March, the Trump administration virtually halted the issuance of green cards to people abroad. Without the COVID-19 immigration restrictions unilaterally imposed by the President, the issuance of green cards to foreigners abroad would have barely declined relative to the second term of the Obama administration.

Figure 2 shows the monthly number of non‐​immigrant visas (NIVs) issued abroad. NIVs include tourist visas, work visas, student visas, and others that do not allow the migrant to naturalize. Trump cut the monthly average number of NIVs by about 27 percent relative to Obama’s second term, but that decline obscures the virtual end of NIVs from April 2020 onward.

As with immigrant visas, President Trump virtually ended NIV issuance in response to the recession and the COVID-19 outbreak. In the last 6 months of the 2020 fiscal year (April‐​September 2020) the U.S. government only issued 397,596 NIVs. In the same period in 2016, the U.S. government issued more than 5.6 million NIVs. Compared to the last half of FY2016, the number NIVs issued in the last half of FY2020 fell by almost 93 percent (please see note at the end of this blog post for how I estimated these figures).

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, during the period from January 2017‐​February 2020, the average number of monthly NIVs issued was down about 12 percent under Trump compared to the January 2013‐​February 2016 period under the Obama administration and the cumulative numbers were down by just over 14 percent. Beginning in mid‐​to‐​late March, the Trump administration virtually halted the issuance of NIVs to people abroad. The COVID‐​19‐​related restrictions were the most severe and impactful part of Trump’s immigration policy.

Looking at the decline in the number of visas issued abroad under Trump through November 2020 compared to the second term of the Obama administration, Trump reduced the number of green cards issued by approximately 418,453 green cards and the number of NIVs issued by about 11,178,668. That’s a roughly 18 percent decline in the number of green cards issued abroad and approximately a 28 percent decline in the number of NIVs issued during Trump’s only term relative to Obama’s second term.

Although Trump succeeded in cutting legal immigration more than he initially planned, he oversaw the collapse of interior immigration enforcement. In 2020, the removal of illegal immigrants from the interior of the United States was the lowest as an absolute number and as a share of the illegal immigration population since ICE was created in 2003 (Figure 3). Trump failed to increase removals because local jurisdictions refused to cooperate with his administration, continuing a trend begun during the Obama administration in response to their deportation efforts. As a result, the population of illegal immigrants remained about the same as when he took office (Figure 4).

Canada needs a national database to track COVID-19 vaccination in real time

Good analysis on the need by Michael Wolfson, a former assistant chief statistician at Statistics Canada.

One of the frustrations I encountered with the non-resident birth data was that Quebec does not automatically include its health data as a matter of course in the Canadian Institute of Health Information, with Quebec refusing to provide me with the comparable data (given health provincial jurisdiction, point of principle over-riding common sense).

So not sure how realistic Wolfson’s proposal is but better and consistent data helps all:

With Canada in the midst of rolling out the vaccines, the importance of effectively monitoring the immunization campaign is coming to the fore. The federal government has recognized the importance of monitoring data, at least within federal jurisdiction, and the prime minister himself recently emphasized the federal government will “be a partner with the provinces  … [for] better co-ordination of data.”

The government response nicely recognizes the lead role of the provinces in setting priorities for vaccination. And the federal government appears sanguine about the existing jumble of layers of vaccine-monitoring data systems, including for adverse reactions.

This co-operative federalism is wonderful—when it works. However, for anyone with experience in software, databases and statistical analysis, the vaccination monitoring described sounds like a dog’s breakfast. That’s not good enough when lives are on the line.

Standard adverse-event reporting systems in the U.S. and Canada missed the scandalous connection between Vioxx and heart attacks. Something more reliable is essential for COVID-19 vaccinations, not only for safety but to avoid misinformation from anti-vaxxers.

Canada has world-class potential for statistical surveillance of adverse health events in the electronic health databases housed in each province. But these data often reside in multiple impenetrable silos within each province.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the urgency of breaking down these data silos. One of the most important blockages has been provincial insistence that health care is their show; the only role for the federal government is to hand them more money, no strings attached.

This has to stop.

Specifically, for a vaccine registry and monitoring, the obvious solution is a single standardized system, mandated by the federal government using its constitutional jurisdiction for statistics. The federal government could commission an organization—Statistics Canada is an obvious choice—to immediately develop a secure, real-time data-collection portal or site for critical information on every person who is vaccinated for COVID-19.

This software system would be used in clinics, doctors’ offices, and drugstores. The nurses and other health professionals giving the vaccination would enter information, exactly as done for flu vaccinations. But now, some of the information would be federally mandated, over and above anything recorded for patients’ medical records and provincial billing purposes.

Decades of experience have shown that rhetoric about federal-provincial co-operation has continually failed, resulting in the patchwork of incoherent and incomplete data that have been limiting too much of the science for managing Canada’s pandemic, and the health-care sector more generally.

The federal government was successful in eliminating doctors’ extra billing by holding back transfers to the provinces. But with no strings attached, a number of provinces have been shamefully clawing back some of the COVID-19 cash payments the federal government has sent to the neediest Canadians by reducing or cancelling their social assistance. To ensure effective implementation of this monitoring solution, strong fiscal sanctions should be included if provinces do not co-operate.

Real-time, federally mandated vaccine monitoring will provide crucial information on vaccination uptake not only by province, but also by neighbourhood, type of vaccine, race/ethnicity and occupation —enabling provincial and local public-health authorities to target vaccinations to the vulnerable. This is not federal intrusion into provincial jurisdiction; it is simply the most efficient constitutionally enabled way to provide critical information.

There is no reason that this kind of software could not be adapted and made available across the country for vaccinations in a matter of weeks, along with speedy agreements on data standardization.

While confidential personal data are involved, Statistics Canada has, for decades, collected exactly such data in the monthly labour-force survey (recently doing so online), with exceptionally strong safeguards for security and confidentiality.

There are obvious privacy concerns. However, we must be careful not to allow them to overshadow the potentially huge benefits. The framers of Canada’s constitution, over a century and a half ago, recognized the fundamental importance of critical statistical information that is national in scope.

While the proposed data flows may raise concerns among provinces and territories regarding ownership, these can be ameliorated with clear ground rules on how they can access these data.

Privacy commissioners across Canada have adopted the principles of necessity and proportionality as the central criteria for data collections that raise privacy concerns. For pandemic vaccination, with the deaths of potentially thousands of Canadians in the balance, these criteria would clearly be met.

Now, more than ever, Canada needs a strong national approach for monitoring data to ensure vaccination proceeds effectively, fairly and safely.

Michael Wolfson is a former assistant chief statistician at Statistics Canada and a member of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa.

Source: Canada needs a national database to track COVID-19 vaccination in real time

Bill Blair orders prison data to be turned over, but does the data even exist?

Good question in the header (follow-up article to Paul Wells’ Another farce on Bill Blair’s watch:

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he has ordered Correctional Service Canada to hand over data to an independent panel reviewing its practises, nearly a year after the panel first requested the information. But new documents from the corrections agency reveal it may be failing to accurately collect the data altogether.

In an interview with Maclean’s, Blair vows that “we are working very hard to make sure that we are able to provide that information and access to what the panel needs before they would consider continuing their job.”

Anthony Doob, the former head of the panel, says he still hasn’t heard from Correctional Services and has not been convinced to continue his work. “I need to know that we can actually do our work,” he told Maclean’s.

Last month, the panel tapped by the Trudeau government to review the implementation of its Structured Intervention Units (SIUs) was disbanded. Its scathing final report pointed to a lack of cooperation from Blair and Correctional Services, which rendered the panel “powerless to accomplish the job that it was set up to do.”

The new SIUs were supposed to replace an existing solitary confinement regime, which courts in Ontario and British Columbia called unconstitutional and, possibly, torture. Yet when Doob and his panel tried to analyze whether the new units were complying with the court orders and a new legal regime, they were stonewalled.

Doob says the information is crucial to the implementation of these units and that “the bulk, or all of the data, that we’re asking for is stuff they should want for their own purposes.”

But Correctional Services was unable to turn over the necessary data before the panel’s appointment ended in August. It has yet to offer a timeline on when it might supply the statistics.

On Wednesday, Correctional Services posted a request for information to the Canadian government’s procurement platform, seeking companies capable of updating its offender management system. The system, which tracks every inmate in custody, was implemented in the early 1990s and last updated in 2002.

The system governs just about every part of Canadian prisons, and is responsible for tracking the accommodations and mental health status of inmates. It is also the system that monitors inmates placed in the Structured Intervention Units.

Correctional Services first identified the need to update the system in 2015. Today, the database is strained, the document reveals. The systems to input and check crucial information on inmates, including their risk of suicide, “are manual, cumbersome, redundant and open to potential human error in data entry.” Other indicators, such as social history, are “not well integrated into the overall process.”

Correctional Services also notes that, on several fronts including inmate discipline, the process is “cumbersome and relies on paper and humans to ensure that information is gathered.”

Doob says that while their computer systems may be “not ideal,” that technology is no excuse. “They do lots of research themselves using their old system to get data. And, as I’ve said many times, if they truly cannot get the data for the panel, that means that they don’t know what is happening, in a systematic way, in their institutions.”

Often, the only recourse for inmates to contest the conditions of their confinement is to file a grievance. As Correctional Services notes in the procurement documents, the “offender grievance process is approximately 90 per cent paper based. This process has resulted in delays in processing offender grievances from the 60-80 day policy prescribed timeframes to up to three years.”

The service did provide a batch of files to the panel in May but, Doob says, the tables were unusable, inaccurate and essentially worthless for his study. For example, he says, the data noted when an inmate had a mental health issue—but not whether it was noted before, during or after their stay in the Structured Intervention Unit. The service employee responsible for data analysis admitted the information was essentially worthless, Doob says.

Maclean’s asked Correctional Services about deficiencies in their inmate tracking system, but has yet to receive a response.

Blair acknowledges that “Correction Services Canada struggled to collect and then make available the information in a timely way.” The panel first alerted Blair to its issues obtaining data in mid-March, then filed an interim report, noting “this panel has not been allowed to do its work” on July 23, and filed its final report on Aug. 11.

It wasn’t until the details of the report were released by Vice on Aug. 26 that Blair’s office responded. The day after, Blair called Doob to discuss next steps.

Asked why he didn’t intervene sooner, Blair didn’t answer. “When it was brought to my attention, I immediately gave direction that the information was to be collected and made available to the panel,” he says.

Doob says that, even if Correctional Services produces the data, he’s not sure he’ll rejoin the panel. He wants assurances that he’ll be able to properly review the service’s practises, including on-the-ground access to the new cells. “I’ve heard zero from CSC,” he reports.

Zilla Jones, a Winnipeg-based lawyer and a fellow member of the panel, has clients who have been placed in the Structured Intervention Units at the Stony Mountain penitentiary in Manitoba. She says the upgrades to some of the cells have been limited to “cosmetic” changes, such as a new coat of paint and some posters.

In a series of court rulings declaring the old system unconstitutional, the courts of appeal in Ontario and British Columbia ruled that inmates must be given more than two hours outside their cell per day. As part of the new Structured Intervention Units, the Trudeau government vowed that 20 hours per day would be the maximum amount of time per day that inmates would be locked up.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Correctional Service Canada has locked some inmates—especially those who are awaiting tests for the virus, or who exhibit symptoms—in the Structured Intervention Units for upwards of 23 hours a day.

Blair disagrees that doing so has run afoul of the courts’ rulings. “That was not for the purposes of either administrative or disciplinary segregation,” he says. “It was medical isolation for those who were ill.”

Given that Correctional Services has not been collecting data on those put in these units, Doob and the panel have questioned if Ottawa even knows whether the new law is being followed.

Nevertheless, Blair is confident. “The law is explicit, in that it eliminates the administrative and disciplinary segregation in those institutions,” Blair says. “We have eliminated [solitary confinement].”

Source: Bill Blair orders prison data to be turned over, but does the data even exist?

Wells: Another farce on Bill Blair’s watch

Hard not to read this column by Paul Wells and not be discouraged. Why launch a process, led by a well-known expert, and then not provide the needed data and cooperate.

And even more shocking that Correctional Services Canada does not have any of the requested data on hand.

Fortunate that with immigration, IRCC has an abundance of data, and with diversity and representation, as does TBS, even if I sometimes complain and want more.

The GiC appointments index, on the other hand, bears some similarity to the issues raised in the case of Correctional Services Canada, in that there is no integrated spreadsheet of all appointments, only separate tables by organization, as I discovered when doing my baseline analysis in 2016 (Governor in Council Appointments – 2016 Baseline):

I’ve got my journalistic obsessions, Lord knows. But the notion that Bill Blair, the minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, is in way over his head was not something I brought to this game. It’s a learned response. Lately it’s kind of getting locked in.

First there was the federal government’s response to April’s mass murder in Nova Scotia, which amounted to three months of silence and stonewalling, a botched announcement of an “independent review” that would have no power in law to compel testimony, and a hasty retreat after three days because basically everyone in Nova Scotia was saying in the newspapers what hundreds of them had been trying to tell Blair in private for months.

The hallmarks of this farce were unfamiliar but, in hindsight, look characteristic.  A long period of bland assurance that all is well in hand. (“We’ll put the processes in place to make sure that those answers not only are obtained for Canadians, but done in a way which is trustworthy,” Blair told Maclean’s in June. “It’s not an easy thing to do, but that’s my job.” Nice touch, that last bit.) The belated realization that actually, freaking nothing is happening. And finally, the headline-driven climb-down, accompanied by assurances that the minister was on top of things all along.

Fast forward to the strange case of Anthony Doob, Emeritus Professor of criminology at the University of Toronto. He’s 77, he’s in the Order of Canada, he’s one of the most-cited criminologists in the field. Last summer Blair’s predecessor Ralph Goodale put Doob in charge of a distinguished panel to monitor changes to solitary confinement in Canada’s federal prisons.

The change was part of Bill C-83, and it amounted to replacing “segregation units,” where inmates could be holed up alone for up to 22 hours a day if they were deemed dangerous to other prisoners or if they were under investigation for disciplinary infraction, with “structured intervention units (SIUs),” where they could be kept for up to 20 hours a day. Under the new law, summarized with its limitations in this article, inmates would also be given regular “meaningful human contact” with a counsellor, elder or other helpful person.

It’s a very modest improvement to treatment that’s been found systematically damaging to inmates’ prospects of rehabilitation—and, in some cases, to their lives. A succession of courts have found disciplinary segregation violated inmates’ Charter rights. Finally a B.C. Supreme Court justice gave the feds a year to fix the system.

The stakes were high. Section B of the court’s decision begins with a long discussion of whether extended solitary confinement constitutes torture. The judge sounds inclined to conclude it does.

So Bill C-83 was the Trudeau government’s coerced response to a legal obligation, not a spontaneous decision for reform. But Goodale appointed Doob and seven colleagues because he wanted to make sure the reform was working. The SIU review panel “will play an essential role in ensuring that the new SIU system achieves our goal of humane and effective corrections,” Goodale said then. He told the panel to “give ongoing feedback” to Correctional Services Canada during its one-year mandate—and to “alert the Minister directly” about any “problems or concerns” with the new system.

On Tuesday of this week, Professor Doob announced the panel no longer exists and that it had achieved nothing because Correctional Services Canada gave it no usable information and Bill Blair did nothing to help when Doob tried to tell him what was happening.

Justin Ling has reported on this over at Vice, and it’s been reported elsewhere, but I want to emphasize the Kafkaesque absurdity of the situation.

Usually when this government screws up, its defenders look around for somebody they can designate an outsider, spoiler, saboteur or wrecker, somebody who doesn’t understand the Trudeau government’s beautiful mission and who seeks to discredit it. A Jody Wilson-Raybould, a Jesse Brown, a Postmedia. That’s hard in this case because every player in this drama was appointed by this government: Blair, CSC Commissioner Anne Kelly, Doob and his fellow panelists.

From Doob’s final report (“We have essentially not been able to examine any aspect of the SIUs during their first 7-8 months of operation”) and a telephone conversation I had with Doob on Friday, the short version of what happened is as follows.

In mid-November, the panel told CSC it would need a set of information on every inmate transferred to an SIU: the inmate’s case history, the reasons for transfer, the maximum number of hours in the SIU in a 24-hour period, the average number of hours of confinement per day over the length of the stay, and so on. It was a long list of indicators, but that’s why Doob sent the list to CSC before the SIUs even opened in late November, and it’s why he asked for the first batch of data to be sent in February. This would take time. Updates would follow every two months.

The information the panel requested was “all things that were administrative in nature,” Doob said. “It’s stuff that is almost certainly in their files somewhere.” If anything he asked for wasn’t available, he’d adjust. “I’ve been working with quantitative data for 50 years. This is the sort of thing that happens all the time. And you don’t worry about it.”

Correctional Services gave no hint that any of this would be a problem.

In mid-February Doob contacted the agency to begin figuring out how the data would be transmitted to the panel, how inmate confidentiality could be respected, and so on. This is three months after he told them what he wanted and five months after the responsible cabinet minister called his work “essential.” Doob’s contact at CSC said the agency hadn’t yet decided whether it would give the panel any of the information it had requested.

This turn of events “came to the panel as a complete surprise,” Doob wrote mildly in his final report. After some back-and-forth to insist on the importance of the panel’s request and gauge the agency’s willingness to block, he wrote to CSC Commissioner Anne Kelly in mid-March—and to Bill Blair at the end of March. From Kelly, he received no reply. Not until she saw her name cc’d on the complaint to Blair. That got a request from her for a meeting. But it took most of April for the meeting to happen. Finally in late May, CSC delivered data to Doob.

That data was unusable. Instead of a single spreadsheet with comparable indicators for every inmate, there were more than 900 spreadsheets. And Doob quickly discovered that depending on the criterion, the number of cases varied. Which meant that there was no way to compare among cases or between criteria. “It was a pile of crap,” he told me. Remember, this is a guy who’s spent decades in the field.

Doob’s dismayed response led to CSC, an organization with 18,000 employees, coughing up one (1) data analyst to work with him on cleaning up the data. His report is very complimentary about this data analyst, but after she’d worked for six weeks, he sent CSC a report advising the agency that he had no systematic analysis because he’d been given no useful data for most of his panel’s time on this earth.

CSC received that report on July 21. By an agreement Doob had reached with the agency when his panel was formed, it had three weeks to respond. After three weeks it hadn’t responded. After three weeks and six days, Doob received a letter from a senior deputy commissioner saying, in effect, sorry for the crummy data, we’re in the process of transferring our data collection from a platform that no longer works to one that doesn’t work yet. On the bright side, CSC promised monthly updates. On the downside, members of Doob’s panel were reaching the end of their one-year mandates, a couple at a time because they hadn’t even been appointed at the same time.

On Tuesday, Doob sent Ottawa reporters his final report with a cover-letter broadside, via the office of Kim Pate, a (Trudeau-appointed!) Ontario Senator with a long career in criminal-justice reform. “Our panel no longer exists,” he wrote. And it wasn’t just a problem that it wasn’t given the information it needed. It’s a problem because the agency that jails a huge prison population seems uninterested in how they’re doing. “CSC is telling us that it does not have systematic information on the operation of its Structured Intervention Units and apparently never made the gathering of this information a priority.”

Remember Bill Blair? Remember how he had nothing to say when Doob warned him through official channels in March? He did now, once Doob made his concerns public. “There have been news reports on the Correctional Services of Canada’s work with an Implementation Advisory Panel,” a statement from Blair’s office read.

“It is amusing to me that they don’t even acknowledge that these ‘news reports’ come from a report (from our panel) that CSC had for weeks,” Doob writes in an annotated version of Blair’s statement that Doob has been sending reporters.

The statement rehashes some of the background of the panel and adds: “We have dedicated extra resources to expedite this request.” Doob’s response: “CSC itself, for its own purposes, should want to know how the SIUs are operating. They shouldn’t have to be pushed into getting these data by an independent panel. They should want to know. Hence the implication that we are requiring them to dedicate ‘extra resources’ is, quite frankly, offensive.”

At midweek, Doob received a telephone call from Blair. “He said to me, ‘I’d like you to do this job,’” said Doob, who had written to Blair five months earlier warning that he was not being permitted to do his job.

Doob still thinks it’s worth knowing whether a court-mandated and hastily-developed reform is achieving its ends. He still thinks somebody should do the work he tried to do. Will he, now? “I told [Blair] that a necessary condition would be that I actually have the data in front of me,” he says. Promises of data later aren’t enough.

But that’s what Doob needs before he’ll even consider doing for Blair the work Goodale assigned him, the work he’s spent all of 2020 trying to do. “That’s the necessary condition. I don’t know what the sufficient conditions would be. If they even exist.”

A few concluding thoughts.

Once at a public event, I met a staffer from the Prime Minister’s Office I didn’t know yet. This person worked on files related to science and research policy, a longstanding preoccupation of mine. “When you tweet about science policy, I wind up working all weekend,” this person said. Sure, it was flattering, and I’m sure it wasn’t meant as a rigorously truthful or complete statement. But it also struck me as a little odd. I’m not smart enough to write anything on science policy that I haven’t heard from researchers. Why would my tweet be the thing that provokes overtime shifts? Why not the scientists?

I thought about this conversation when I learned that a report from a duly-constituted government-appointed panel isn’t enough to get the responsible minister involved in the file—but a headline in Vice is. Blair’s call was “a response to what’s in the media,” Doob told me, “not to what I’ve sent the government.”

This is what many people who work with this government tells me. Public servants, consultants, NGOs. Official channels are useless. Process is window dressing. This government consults but doesn’t listen, and whatever the plan is, it’s never as useful to know the plan as it is to have the personal phone numbers of a half-dozen senior staffers so you can text one of them and urge an improvised change of plans.

A couple of weeks ago Rob Silver, a supremely well-connected Liberal working for a mortgage firm, was in the news for his attempts to secure a legislative change that would benefit his company. Silver’s overtures were fruitless and I offer no opinion on their propriety, but he plainly knew what you need to do if you want to get something done in this town: Call Mike McNair, call Elder Marques, call Justin To. Write a letter to the minister? Don’t be old-fashioned.

When Anne Kelly became the Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada, Ralph Goodale wrote her a public mandate letter. “I encourage you to instil within CSC a culture of ongoing self-reflection,” he wrote, amusingly in hindsight. “This includes: regularly reviewing policies and operations to identify what works and change what does not… and welcoming constructive, good-faith critiques as indispensable drivers of progress.”

But in a government in which only a handful of staffers can actually make a decision, very few people in any department have the kind of autonomy Goodale was hoping Kelly would exercise. When the decision-making pipeline is no thicker than the PMO, and every particle of communication is the product of a chain involving dozens of staffers and bureaucrats reaching across government, nobody has the right to decide. So nobody is accountable for their decisions.

I don’t just mean that in the negative sense that nobody is sanctioned for a bad decision. I mean nobody has the authority to make a good decision. Things just happen. Or they just don’t. In a real sense, we’re not governed. We’re just given a constant runaround by people who, in many cases, would prefer not to be part of the immense machine delivering the runaround. Which is how a panel appointed to answer a basic question — has Canada stopped torturing people yet? — could work for a year and find no answers. And somehow it’s nobody’s fault. Not even Bill Blair’s, I guess.

Source: Another farce on Bill Blair’s watch

Ottawa must put data first and tie to health funding

Agree in principle but politically hard to achieve (Quebec doesn’t even automatically share its data with CIHI):

The federal government looks yet again about to transfer billions of dollars to the provinces with essentially no strings attached.

We’ve seen this before with $40 billion in the 2004 First Ministers’ Health Accord and then $11 billion in the 2017 Health Accord, both highlighting home care, without evidence of significant progress.

And the prime minister just announced $19 billion for the Safe Restart Program, though without any details, especially as to what the federal government receives in return.

One major quid pro quo could address Canada’s profound lack of high-quality data, especially highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While U.S. analysts are able in near real time to estimate and project COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths down to the county level, Canada is barely able to produce comparable data by province.

Some of this $19 billion is meant for COVID testing and tracing, and improvements in long-term care.

A major failing in the tragic and disproportionate COVID-19 mortality rates in nursing homes was due to poor staffing levels, an issue that has been known for decades and pointed out in myriad reports and studies. But there are essentially no comparable and complete national data in this area.

As strongly recommended in the recent Royal Society of Canada report, high quality data on current staffing levels, connected at the individual level to health outcomes, are essential, especially for the federal government to develop the evidence-based national standards for long-term care so many have been calling for.

The provinces have typically argued that health care is a provincial jurisdiction, so the federal government cannot compel them to provide sorely needed data. However, in another example, we have had almost two decades of cajoling the provinces with federally funded Canada Health Infoway paying at least half the cost to develop and implement standardized and interoperable software systems for electronic health records.

Most relevant for the current pandemic, Infoway was specifically tasked with producing a system for anticipating and dealing with infectious disease outbreaks. This system, had it been working even 15 years after its initial funding in 2004, would have enabled a very different outcome this year, likely with far fewer cases and deaths from COVID-19.

Paper agreements and cajoling the provinces with optional subsidies have clearly failed. It’s time for a much tougher stance.

The federal government has the necessary constitutional powers, including explicit jurisdiction for statistics, criminal law, spending powers, and the general peace, order and good government (POGG) power, to compel the collection and flows of 21st century kinds of data.

Monique Bégin, as federal minister of health, successfully ended the practice of physicians’ extra-billing by amending the Canada Health Act to deduct any extra billing from an offending province’s fiscal transfer. The Supreme Court has just upheld the federal government’s genetic privacy legislation as constitutional despite objections from Quebec.

In the current pandemic emergency, high-quality, standardized, real-time data on “excess deaths,” COVID cases and hospitalizations, and details on the operations of the thousands of nursing homes and retirement residences across Canada are essential.

For nursing homes, we need these data to learn why some were completely successful in avoiding any novel coronavirus cases amongst residents and staff, while others suffered tragically. In turn, such statistical information will provide the federal government the strong evidence base needed to take the lead in establishing national standards for nursing home staffing levels, though action on staffing must not wait for perfect data.

And once we have standardized individual-level data on COVID cases, including factors like age, sex, neighbourhood, other diseases, individuals’ household composition, race, hospitalization rates, disease severity, and deaths, as the U.K. has been able to do for 17 million of its residents in near real time, then Canada will be able to support far more sophisticated analysis and projections to deal with the current top pandemic issues — not least, whether to open bars or schools.

NDP calls for race-based data collection to combat racism, spur change

Valid call. Will see whether the government’s Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics within Statistics Canada starts to generate results and in which areas:

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the federal government must start collecting race-based data in order to make policy changes that will start to turn the tide on what the United Nations has called the “deplorable” treatment of African Canadians.

Protests against the police-killing of George Floyd in the U.S. spilled into Canada last weekend and Toronto was seized by the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell from a 24th-floor Toronto apartment while police were in the home. Her death is under investigation by the province’s police watchdog.

On Monday, Canada’s political leaders tried to address the growing outrage. Mr. Singh proposed firm steps to address anti-black racism in Canada, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised his government would do more but didn’t outline specific steps or a timeline to act. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer proposed no new policies but said all levels of government have “much more to do.”

In contrast to protests south of the border, violence at Canadian demonstrations was limited to Montreal, where 11 people were arrested after dozens of businesses were damaged at the tail end of the formal march, which took place without incident.

Mr. Trudeau promised to “keep taking meaningful action to fight racism and discrimination in every form.” That progress in Canada has been too slow though, according to a 2017 United Nations Human Rights Council report on anti-black racism.

Across Canada, the report found disproportionately high unemployment rates for African Canadians, leading to more precarious and low-paid work, and worse health outcomes, where people in black communities are less likely to access health care services and more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions. In Nova Scotia, it found “deplorable” socioeconomic conditions and no change in educational inequities, 30 years after schools were integrated.

While federal leaders acknowledged the persistence of racism and systemic discrimination in Canada, Quebec Premier François Legault denied that it stems from structural problems.

“All humans are equal, are all the same, regardless of the colour of their skin,” Mr. Legault said. The UN report found African Canadians in Montreal have the highest poverty rates among visible minorities in the city.

The UN report recommended a mandatory nationwide policy on the collection of data disaggregated by race, colour, ethnic background, national origin and other identities “to determine if and where racial disparities exist for African Canadians so as to address them accordingly.”

That hasn’t yet happened and without it Canada is missing critical information that countries like the United States have readily available, said Arjumand Siddiqi, Canada Research Chair in population health equity. For example, Canada does not have information about how employment statistics break down along racial lines, making it difficult to know if some groups are being excluded from the suite of financial aid the Liberals have rolled out in the wake of the economic shutdown sparked by COVID-19.

While race-based data is collected in the census every five years, there is no routine collection of data, and on top of that, the data that is collected is not readily available, said Prof. Siddiqi, who is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

The difference between the data available in the U.S. and Canada is “night and day,” she said. Without that data, evidence-based policy changes are stymied and it’s harder to hold governments to account.

The failure to collect the valuable data comes even as the impact of having the information is clear, Mr. Singh said, noting that changes to police carding were only made when numbers laid bare that the practice disproportionately targeted black and Indigenous people.

He said the data collection would help spur systemic changes in policing, the justice system and to inequities in health care, education, housing and employment, which “perpetuates the undervaluing of black life, of racialized people’s lives.”

The Liberals funded a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics within Statistics Canada in 2018. A spokesperson for Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains did not explain why a separate centre was created rather than integrating it with all of the work done by the federal agency.

Evidence from other countries and small pockets of information in Canada show that poorer people and people of colour are being hit harder by the novel coronavirus. But the Prime Minister acknowledged that collecting that information widely in Canada is an uphill battle, given that at the moment the government doesn’t even have the age data for a “large portion” of the people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Mr. Singh also said he supported the use of body cameras for police officers to ensure accountability and said police need more training in how to de-escalate incidents.

The UN report released a long list of recommendations to the federal government, which included apologizing for Canada’s history of slavery and other historical injustices, as well as considering paying reparations. The federal government on Monday did not say whether it was going to accept either of those recommendations.

Source:    NDP calls for race-based data collection to combat racism, spur change NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh echoed the call made in a 2017 UN Human Rights Council report on anti-black racism in Canada <img src=”https://www.theglobeandmail.com/resizer/06BMxG3XANkkpiQPUyh4FRZLZTY=/0x0:3600×2400/740×0/filters:quality(80)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/tgam/OV42UZ73E5JO7BMPP6YND6GQ3I.jpg” alt=””>