New StatsCan data ‘indispensable’ for understanding systemic anti-Black racism, says professor

Some good commentary by Malinda Smith, Afua Cooper and Carl James. My one note to Afua Cooper’s comment about Canadian Blacks being a voting block is that the very diversity of the Black community, more so than other communities, combined with their relative distribution across ridings, make it less simple than that:

Data released by Statistics Canada over the past year and a half could help to dispel the myth of a single, uniform Black population in Canada, and will be “indispensable” for researchers studying systemic racism in the country, say professors from three universities across the country.

Statistics Canada has released a spate of data on the Black population in Canada in stages since February, 2019, to honour the International Decade of Peoples of African Descent, which runs from 2015 to 2024. The studies span a 15-year period beginning in 2001 and use data from the census, the general social survey, academic studies, and more.

The data shows the diversity of the Black population is often “obscured” by anti-Black racism and stereotypes that lead to a view of a “single” Black community in Canada. That belief exacerbates the effects of systemic racism, and leads to policies and practices that fail to account for the unequal effect of certain policies or practices, say Canadian researchers.

“This data…is really important for us to see the implications of racism and stereotypes on the life chances and outcomes for the Black Canadian population. Regardless of background, educational achievement, who they are, the stereotype prevails,” said Malinda Smith, professor of political science at the University of Calgary and the vice-provost of equity, diversity, and inclusion at the school.

Prof. Smith served on an advisory council created by Statistics Canada to help interpret the data. The data, Prof. Smith continued, “is indispensable for understanding systemic racism. What it helps you to see is the disproportionate impact of a certain practice on specific groups.”

Both the “breadth” and “depth” of the Statistics Canada studies make them particularly valuable, said Afua Cooper, an historian, sociology professor at Dalhousie University, and the coauthor of the university’s report on Lord Dalhousie’s history on slavery and race. Prof. Cooper also served on the Statistics Canada advisory panel.

“I’m going ‘wow’ all the time,” Prof. Cooper said, adding that the studies have been incorporated into her teachings

The breadth of the new data allows for change, or lack of change, to be accurately observed over a longer period of time, said Carl James, professor of education and senior advisor on equity and representation at York University.

“It would be good to look at this again five years from now, so we can see if there have been changes. What accounts for those changes if there are changes? How can we know the extent to which issues we identify now have been addressed? We can only know that if the data exists,” said Prof. James, who was also a member of the panel.

Statistics Canada began releasing the first set of data during Black History Month in February 2019. Titled “Diversity of the Black population in Canada: An overview,” the  study focused primarily on demographic characteristics and sought to “highlight the diversity of the Black population in terms of their ethnic and cultural origins, places of birth and languages,” the document reads.

The studies collected data from people who self-identified as Black on Statistics Canada surveys.

The first study shows that the Black population in Canada doubled in size between 1996 and 2016, to 1.2-million people—roughly 3.5 per cent of the population. The Black population is about a decade younger, on average, than the population as a whole, with a median age of 30.  It also showed that just more than half of Black adults in Canada were born in another country—170 different countries in total.

The second release came a year later, also during Black History Month, on Feb. 25, 2020, a few weeks before COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed. It included two studies, both focused more on socioeconomic factors such as education, employment, and income.

The first study, titled “Canada’s Black population: Education, labour and resilience” said that “compared to the rest of the population, employment rates remain low and the prevalence of low-income is more common among the Black population.

“Despite these challenges, Black individuals have high rates of job satisfaction and high rates of resilience,” the study reads.

The study showed that from 2001 to 2016, the Black population had unemployment rates about four percentage points higher than the rest of the population. The finding was consistent for both men and women. Even when an individual had  postsecondary education, in 2016 the rate for the Black population was 9.2 per cent compared to 5.3 per cent in the rest of the population.

Prof. Smith wrote on Twitter that the resilience finding “does not surprise me. It might surprise those inclined toward deficit stereotypes. There’s a fierce optimism among the Black community in Canada.”

“There’s a lot of negative stereotypes of Black people as angry or violent. The findings of the resilience study was that Black people were more likely to be optimistic about the future. They thought about the potential for change,” Prof. Smith told The Hill Times.

“Black youth have desires to get into university, however they didn’t think it was going to happen because of discrimination and bias. But they have the highest aspirations. I don’t think many Canadians think of Black youth as having high aspirations for education,” she continued.

The study also said that “challenges facing the Black population may present themselves differently within specific groups” such as differences between immigrants and non-immigrants in terms of postsecondary education. Black women born in Canada were more likely than women in the rest of the population to get at least a bachelor’s degree, but Black immigrant women were significantly less likely than women in the rest of the population to get a postsecondary degree.

The second study focused on the socioeconomic outcomes for Black youth. It found that Black youth were as likely as other youth in the rest of the population to have a high school diploma, but that Black youth were less likely to have a postsecondary diplomas or degrees. It also found second- and third-generation Black youth were less likely than a first-generation Black child to have a postsecondary degree.

“The gap between postsecondary graduation rates for Black youth and other youth remained after accounting for differences in socioeconomic and family characteristics. Other factors not measured by the Census of Population could be the source of these differences,” the study reads.

“The education system was designed for particular kinds of students in particular ways. It was not designed in a way that would address, welcome, and make inclusive the experiences of Black students,” Prof. James said.

For Prof. James, the explanation lies in the fact that Black youth tend to have worse educational outcomes the longer their family has been in Canada.

“That means those who have gone through the education system and have been socialized in Canadian society do not do as well. That tells us something must be dealt if we’re going to address the issues of Black students,” he said.

The most recent Statistics Canada release came on Aug. 13, and looked at the changes in socioeconomic outcomes of the Black population by generation, immigrant status, sex, and country of origin compared to the rest of the Canadian population between 2001 and 2016. It provided many of the same findings as the previous studies but was disaggregated to include more information, such as immigrant status, on the same questions.

Taken together, Prof. Cooper said, these studies send a message to Canadian political leaders and gives them a base of evidence to work from.

“The 2016 census tells us that there’s 1.2-million Black people. That’s a voting bloc. In terms of political survival, you have to take the Black population seriously,” she said.

Despite the clear political incentive, Prof. Cooper said these data sets show that Canadian politicians and other institutions have a duty to “ensure that Black people may be brought into the Charter.”

“How are we going to make this data work and matter? It has to matter in the day-to-day material life of Black people in this country. [Statistics Canada] has built a wonderful document. What kind of commitments do the federal government or other Canadian institutions [have] to ensure that Black people may be brought into the Charter? In criminal justice, in health, in education, [which] we have not experienced,” she said.

“Is this just going to be another report that sits on the shelf? It has to matter in the lives of Black people,” said Prof. Cooper.

Source: New StatsCan data ‘indispensable’ for understanding systemic anti-Black racism, says professor

Too soon to say if StatsCan will bring in more racialized researchers, says official; ‘we’re just building those relationships’

To watch and see whether the model used for Indigenous peoples is needed or applicable to some or all visible minority groups:

Canada’s statistics agency is working with an expert advisory committee to better collect race-based data, but it is too early to say whether it will hire more racialized on-the-ground statisticians and researchers to help, says one official.

Marc Lachance, acting director of health, justice, diversity, and populations with Statistics Canada, acknowledged in an interview last week that while the country has made some strides in collecting Indigenous data, figures for some ethno-cultural groups are lagging.

“We have put in place a committee of experts that could specifically provide us guidance on—you know, we never really did a lot of work on the Black populations before, how do we do this?” said Mr. Lachance in a phone interview July 9.

In July 2019, the agency established the Centre for Indigenous Statistics and Partnerships, which consolidated “long-standing working relationships” with communities and organizations across the country into one centre. All research at the agency involving Indigenous people is “channeled through” this centre, which helps “provide relevant expertise and co-ordinate outreach to partners,” a July 6 statement from the agency read.

Included in the centre are 11 Indigenous liaison advisors, some of whom, according to Mr. Lachance, might work on reserves, and most of whom identify as Indigenous. The agency did not provide an exact breakdown, nor a dollar figure of cost, for these positions. The program began in the 1980s and positions are currently funded through the centre, said StatsCan spokesperson Peter Frayne in a July 10 email. The officers’ salaries and non-salary needs like travel are covered. “Funding  may vary from year to year based on the level of activities and engagement, but typically peaks during the conduct of the census,” Mr. Frayne added.

They are stationed across the country and look after a particular region, said Mr. Lachance. A StatsCan webpage lists advisors as covering Atlantic provinces, Manitoba, Inuit Nunangat, and others. “That program is probably one of our most established programs to engage communities such as the Indigenous [one] on Indigenous data,” he said.

“Their role is very key, specifically in ensuring there is trust with the data and a good rapport and relationship with StatsCan.” When the agency starts work for its census, for example, these officers act as ambassadors who promote it and in some cases seek permission to be able to go into communities, or at least notify Indigenous leadership about the agency’s intentions.

Mr. Lachance said it is too soon to say whether the agency will bring in Black community researchers to help it gather better race-based data.

“We’re working with experts right now. The plan is in the fall, we do more consultations with racialized communities, specifically to get their input on new approaches on how we can disseminate information” to those communities, he said.

Statistics Canada received $4.2-million over three years through the government’s anti-racism strategy last year. A portion of that funding was to allow the agency to set up an advisory committee on ethno-cultural and immigration statistics. That advisory committee will guide the body in setting up a “conceptual framework on ethnocultural diversity and inclusion as well as families of indicators to be able to track relevant ‘inclusion’ indicators over time,” according to a July 6 statement from the agency, which also said the committee had been formed and already met once, with another meeting slated for last week.

Mr. Lachance said it’s possible that the agency will create other “ambassador”-like roles for other racial groups, but he said “we haven’t made that decision yet, we’re just building those relationships.”

His comments come in the wake of an influx of public calls for better race-based data collection. The COVID-19 pandemic has harmed Black people in the United States at a greater rate than it has white people. Canada has not tracked pandemic outcomes by race or ethnic background.

To better understand the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on some communities, the agency has already made a push to collect more disaggregated data. It has been releasing a series of voluntary questionnaires, which change about every two weeks, and tap into a range of topics like parenting during the pandemic and the impact faced by those living with disabilities.

“How we continue this relationship depends on what the community needs and how we want to work closer with them,” said Mr. Lachance.

“We are accountable to Canadians about the data. The data is about what individuals are telling us about themselves, and they’re taking the time to answer the questionnaire and surveys.”

Some experts who spoke to The Hill Times this month noted that authorities and government institutions might face an uphill battle as they go about collecting race-based data, thanks in part to “longstanding disparities” in areas like housing, healthcare, and food insecurity in these communities.

Anna Banerji, a director of global and Indigenous health at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine, noted in an earlier interview that “there’s a lot of information that’s out there that’s partially used or distorted in the usage, and there’s no underlying [questioning of] what are the contributors to this.” She noted that in some cases, data has been used to justify racism and discrimination, a fact that Public Safety Minister Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest, Ont.) also acknowledged this month.

Mr. Lachance said Statistics Canada’s researchers are well aware of this history.

“When we come to the analysis [stage], we need to ensure that the analysis that we do and analytical products [we put out] are sensitive to the perspectives of the communities,” he said, adding StatsCan consults national Indigenous organizations in creating or testing the Aboriginal Peoples Survey, which gathers figures to track the “social and economic conditions” of those living off reserve. Groups consulted include the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Metis National Council, he said.

The agency said that in 2017, Indigenous people were hired as interviewers and guides during the collection period, and organizations promoted and reviewed the analytical findings of the Aboriginal Peoples Survey.

“This ensures that findings are presented in an appropriate manner and ultimately results in stories that are balanced and include essential contextual information,” said a statement from the agency, which also noted that those interviewers and guides help to improve the reliance and quality of the analysis.

A lack of consultation has created barriers for Indigenous communities in the past, according to a January 2019 report prepared for Indigenous Services Canada and the AFN. In 2006, for example, the AFN withdrew its support for the Aboriginal Peoples Survey over concerns that it infringed on their right to control and govern that information.

In 2019, Statistics Canada shared data on suicide among Indigenous populations, a sensitive topic, as part of an effort to engage communities about the data it is collecting, said Mr. Lachance.

“Usually, we can go ahead and just print the suicide rates, but without the proper context and proper process…that report can also have some unintended consequences, because it does provide sometimes a negative picture,” he said.

That report, shared in June 2019, comes with an introduction that references intergenerational trauma and the effects of colonization and ongoing marginalization, specifically “the loss of land, traditional subsistence activities and control over living conditions” and a “suppression of belief systems.”

“We always feel that we’re accountable to our respondents, so the trust comes in different levels,” said Mr. Lachance. “It comes from the fact that the data that people provide us is confidential … and [in the assurance] of the quality and statistical rigour that we are bringing to the data,” he said.

Jeff Latimer, director general and strategic adviser for health data with Statistics Canada, told  the House Health Committee last week that a lack of standards between provinces and territories, for instance, makes it difficult to get other data like figures around deaths in the country. Part of that is because some jurisdictions still rely on paper-based processes for death registrations, making it difficult for the agency to paint a complete national picture, as it relies on these authorities to filter up data to the federal government through the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Source: Too soon to say if StatsCan will bring in more racialized researchers, says official; ‘we’re just building those relationships’

ICYMI: The Demographics of Automation in Canada: Who Is at Risk?

The executive summary, highlighting that the most vulnerable share the same characteristics as those having poor economic outcomes in the past. I wonder, however, whether the discovery of who are truly essential workers during COVID-19, would affect their conclusions:

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a new vulnerability among firms that rely on human labour. In order to comply with public health directives on physical distancing, many businesses have had to completely shut down their operations for months. Others remained functional thanks to teleworking, which many intend to prolong and even adopt permanently. As experts contemplate the long-term repercussions of the pandemic on the economy, many expect firms to ramp up their adoption of new technologies to better weather the post-pandemic recession and insulate themselves from future health crises.

Just a few years ago, policy-makers became concerned about the prospect of many job-related tasks being automated using advances in robotics and artificial intelligence and in particular about the projected job losses at the time. While we no longer expect entire jobs to disappear, new technologies may substantially transform jobs, forcing workers to adjust to new requirements and prompting governments to assist them in this process.

In this study, Statistics Canada researchers Marc Frenette and Kristyn Frank are breaking new ground by examining the demographic and employment characteristics of workers facing a high risk of job transformation due to automation. To assess the potential impact of a new wave of automation on vulnerable workers, policy-makers need to know not only what jobs are at risk but also who holds these jobs. For instance, while we know that previous waves of robotization replaced low-skilled workers and enhanced the work of those with high skills, this time around there are fears it is high-skilled workers who are at risk, given the rise of new algorithms that are increasingly proficient at accomplishing complex cognitive tasks.

Consistent with the findings of previous research, Frenette and Frank show that, overall, more than 10 percent of Canadian workers face a high risk of seeing their jobs transformed through automation – high risk being defined as a probability of 70 percent and higher. And close to 30 percent of workers face a 50-to-70 percent risk. What the authors underscore, however, is that the extent to which the automation risk varies is based on certain worker characteristics. For instance, more than a third of workers without a certificate, diploma or degree face a high risk of job transformation, compared with fewer than 4 percent for those with degrees. The probability of being at high risk also decreases significantly as employment income increases. Over a quarter of workers in the bottom decile of the income distribution are at high risk, whereas only 2 percent of workers in the top decile are. Also among the groups most exposed to job transformation are older workers (aged 55 and over), those with low literacy or numeracy proficiency, the part-time employed,  those working in small firms, and in manufacturing, where about 27 percent workers are at high risk. The authors find no significant differences in the risk of job transformation on the basis of gender, immigration status, having a disability or being unionized.

The results from this study stand in sharp contrast with many observers’ expectations that the new technologies could adversely affect workers previously seen as immune to automation. It suggests that the workers at high risk of job transformation due to automation, by and large, share the same characteristics as workers who have been susceptible to poor labour market outcomes in the past. Frenette and Frank say that more research is needed to better understand which characteristics can be interpreted as risk factors. Nevertheless, by shedding light on the differential effects of automation on particular segments of the workforce, their study contributes to labour market policy development going forward.


Recent immigrants and non-permanent residents missed in the 2011 Census

May have missed this but important analysis of the data limitations regarding immigrants and non-permanent residents in the 2011 NHS, regarding the characteristics of those missed and plausible explanations.

No discussion as to whether the shift from the mandatory long-form census questionnaire to the voluntary NHS questionnaire made a difference and we will see once an equivalent analysis is done for the 2016 census:

Recent immigrants and NPRs are growing segments of the Canadian population. While censuses strive to provide comprehensive coverage of the population, these groups are less likely to be enumerated. The purpose of this analysis was to examine the factors associated with the propensity for being missed in the 2011 Census for recent immigrants and NPRs using RRC data.

According to the RRC, just under 20% of recent immigrants and more than 40% of NPRs were missed by the 2011 Census, compared with 8.3% of the total population. While missed rates are not a direct reflection of undercoverage but are rather one of the elements of undercoverage, they are still a clear sign that these two populations could have been less covered than the rest of the population in the 2011 Census.

Some characteristics of recent immigrants and NPRs are associated with the propensity for being missed.

First of all, this study highlighted the close links between the year at landing and the propensity of recent immigrants for being missed. More than one-third of immigrants who settled in 2011 and almost a quarter of those who settled in 2010 were missed in the 2011 Census. Immigrants who held a temporary residence permit before being admitted as immigrants were also slightly less likely to be missed, when the effect of other characteristics are accounted for.

About 30% of recent immigrants whose mother tongue was Punjabi were missed in the 2011 Census. The multivariate analysis also highlighted the higher likelihood for immigrants with an Arabic mother tongue to be missed. These results might stem from cultural factors specific to immigrants from certain countries, notably regarding social integration to Canada.

The context in which immigrants are admitted to the country might also affect the likelihood to be missed in the census. While a fifth of immigrants were missed in 2011, 12.3% of refugees were missed. These immigrants fled very difficult situations in their home country and usually maintain contacts with the Canadian government on a regular basis. For these reasons, they may have a better relationship with the government.

Multivariate analysis identified additional correlates of the likelihood for recent immigrants to be missed. Immigrants who were in a couple, who were living in Quebec and who were under the age of 20 were less likely to be missed. These results are similar to the ones observed for the entire Canadian population.

Knowledge of the official languages is a very important marker of integration into a new country. Recent immigrants who reported not speaking English or French at landing seem to be less likely to be missed. This could be because they take language training classes, which might introduce them to the topic of the census, because they learn an official language shortly after landing, and because of differences in concepts and measurement of concepts between census data and IRCC data. It would be very relevant to examine the 2016 RRC data when they become available to see if there is the same finding.

For NPRs, the duration of the permit held by NPRs played a role in being missed in the 2011 Census. For example, more than half of NPRs who received their temporary resident permit no more than six months before the census were missed in 2011. Because they arrived in the country very recently, these NPRs may consider their usual residence to still be in their country of origin, and therefore not consider themselves part of the census universe. Conversely, 36.4% of NPRs who were granted temporary residence two or more years before census day were missed.

Missed rates for NPRs were above 45% for NPRs who were not in a couple. NPRs in their twenties were also more likely to be missed. As with immigrants, these results tend to be similar to the results of the general population.

When accounting for the effect of other factors, NPRs who held their first temporary permit were less likely to be missed than those who already had a permit in the past. This is difficult to interpret and could be studied a second time when the 2016 RRC data become available. It should be noted that the sample from the NPR frame was increased in 2016; as a result, more precise analyses could be conducted for this subpopulation when the data become available.

Refugee status claimants were less likely to be missed than other NPRs. However, the multivariate analysis revealed that much of this difference could come from the specific characteristics of refugee claimants, including their length of stay in the country.

Source: Statistics Canada – Catalogue no. 89-657-X2019008 25 –Recent immigrants and non-permanent residents missed in the 2011 Census (NHS)

Diversity of the Black population in Canada: An overview

A really good an in-depth of the diversity in the Canadian Black population. Look forward to the next in the series, contrasting socio-economic outcomes. Important work:

There were almost 1.2 million Black people living in Canada in 2016. The Black population is diverse and has a long and rich history in the country. More than 4 in 10 Black people were born in Canada.

Among the Black population born outside of Canada, the source countries of immigration have changed over time. More than half of this population who immigrated before 1981 were born in Jamaica and Haiti. Black newcomers now come from about 125 different countries, mainly from Africa.

The vast majority of the Black population live in large urban areas. In 2016, 94.3% of Black people lived in Canada’s census metropolitan areas, compared with 71.2% of the country’s total population. Toronto had the largest Black population in the country, with 442,015 people or 36.9% of Canada’s Black population. It was followed by Montréal, Ottawa–Gatineau, Edmonton and Calgary, each home to at least 50,000 Black people.

To illustrate the growth and the diversity of the Black population, a first infographic was released on February 6, 2019. A booklet is now available to provide more information about the richness of diversity among the Black population in Canada. A number of topics are covered in this booklet including population growth, age and sex structure, place of birth, generation status, immigration, ethnic and cultural origins, languages and a few geographical highlights.



This portrait of Canada’s Black population from the Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics is based mainly on 2016 Census data. It provides a demographic overview of the Black population, as well as key statistics related to their ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity and a few geographical highlights. However, this portrait is not meant to be exhaustive.

Although it highlights the great diversity within the Black population, it does not present any result related to the several challenges and issues faced by many members of Black communities in Canada.

Challenges and issues such as those related to labour market integration, income inequalities, differential access to resources, health conditions, discrimination, school dropout, etc., may impact differently various groups within the Black population. Moreover, although the Black population generally has similar characteristics compared to the overall population, they often present different socio-economic outcomes. For example, the unemployment rate for the Black population is higher than for Canada’s total population.

Disaggregated 2016 Census data tables with selected demographic, cultural, labour market and income characteristics are available on Statistics Canada’s Census program website which can provide insights on similarities and differences within the Black population as well as between the Black population and other populations in Canada.

New analytical products will be released later which will describe in more detail the characteristics of Canada’s Black population, as well as their socio-economic outcomes.

Source: Diversity of the Black population in Canada: An overview 

Statistics Canada is better than you might think. But it can still do better: Munir Sheikh

Sheikh comments on the Globe’s data gap series and offers some practical suggestions of his own:

Canada has huge gaps in our data. That’s the big takeaway from The Globe and Mail’s notable series examining the state of Canadian data, which tells us that we lag behind some other countries, particularly the United States; that these gaps exist because of constrained funding and Statistics Canada’s bureaucratic, secretive mindset; and that these gaps are having a negative effect on our decision-making.

Yes, Canada has problems. But then, who doesn’t?

Citizens and governments around the world make millions of daily decisions on a vast array of issues, and each of these can potentially benefit from more data. The existence of gaps, therefore, is a virtual certainty anywhere in the world. The much-lauded U.S., for instance, does not produce detailed monthly GDP data, while Canada does, and many experts and statisticians feel that Canada’s important GDP data are of better quality than those that the U.S. does produce and require fewer revisions. Canada is also one of just a handful of countries that produced financial flow accounts, which allows policy-makers to better understand the nature and economic impacts of the 2008 financial market crash.

Canada also does an extraordinary job in producing high-quality census data at a much lower cost compared with many countries, thanks to innovations like sampling in census and being among the first to use the internet to gather citizens’ responses. Canada can also boast of higher survey-response rates in many areas than the United States. And all this despite having roughly a tenth of the resources available to the U.S. federal statistical system.

That certainly doesn’t mean all is good and well here. We face serious challenges when it comes to acquiring the highest quality and most relevant data. The quality of data deteriorates automatically as the country evolves amid forces like the ongoing tech revolution (e.g. using cell phones instead of land lines) and efforts to gather survey responses suffer. Data also becomes less relevant over time as the country’s needs begin to differ from the available information. For instance, we continue to produce a disproportionately large quantity of data on manufacturing than on the services industry, even though services now represents two-thirds of the economy. And Canada’s long-form census was, for a time, replaced by a voluntary survey that produced all the information the longer census would have accumulated but with lower quality – and a higher cost, to boot.

In my view, this has produced data gaps in census information, but bad data may be more dangerous than no data at all, since giving credence to bad information can lead to bad policy. The debate around data would be most productive if it’s framed around both quantity as well as quality, which would enable policy-makers and Canadians to deal with the most pressing national issues in an informed way. On this count, Statistics Canada has struggled, as do many others.

There are three things that can be done to proactively deal with data deterioration.

  • First, the government can increase funding for Statistics Canada to close the most important gaps that exist now, including information that measures the digital economy.
  • Secondly, Statistics Canada should, over time, reallocate resources from less-needed data to those that are more important. Despite its efforts, the agency has not been able to establish an effective resource-reallocation mechanism, because it has had to bend many times to the users of existing data. Users of any data become vocally unhappy if theirs stops being collected.
  • Lastly, Statistics Canada should tap new data sources and new ways of collecting information that can replace or augment existing methods.

Indeed, on that last front, Statistics Canada’s paranoia around confidentiality and privacy makes its brass gun-shy in acquiring or sharing new data with researchers. I witnessed it firsthand. Despite best efforts during my tenure as chief statistician, confidentiality concerns made it a slog to make more business-sector microdata available. But while Statistics Canada’s record of privacy-preservation and confidentiality is excellent – better than many of the most sensitive institutions in the U.S. (we have not endured crises like Wikileaks or the Pentagon Papers) – those issues have thwarted attempts to maintain data quality. Through politicians’ invocation of the bogeyman of privacy to try to kill the long-form census and a Global News report that exposed its requests for Canadians’ detailed financial-transaction data, Statistics Canada ironically finds itself in a lose-lose situation – criticized for its poor dissemination of data because it is so concerned about privacy, and denied access to new sources of data because privacy concerns have bred mistrust.

But the institution itself might just provide the way forward. Recent amendments to the Statistics Act established a Canadian Statistics Advisory Council to support the minister and the chief statistician, and this council should be tasked with convincing data users that certain resources should be allocated better. By playing an oversight role on privacy and confidentiality issues, too, the council can earn the trust of Canadians who, knowing that their data are safe and secure, might be more giving with their information for the national good.

There are certainly ways to improve Statistics Canada. But if collecting data is all about getting the whole picture, we can’t lose sight of what we’re already doing well.


In the dark: The cost of Canada’s data deficit

This incredibly valuable investigative reporting. I have excerpted a few of the sections I found most interesting but the entire article is worth a good read, and I look forward to future segments in this series.

I use StatsCan and other data frequently and generally find I can find what I need, or an alternate way to identity issues and trends. So I do have some sympathy for StatsCan Head Anora’s comments that sometimes researchers don’t try hard enough (e.g., see my critique of Karen Robson: Why won’t Canada collect data on race and student success?, weak to non-existent municipal diversity statistics can be found in census occupation group data).

But the example of birth statistics is where I cam up short. The vital statistics agencies do not capture visible minority data or accurate residency data, and do not verify identity documents of the parents. All of which mean, in addition to the all important health-related differences, that births to non-residents are drastically undercounted by StatsCan (in the end, I found better if imperfect numbers from hospital financial statistics: Hospital stats show birth tourism rising in major cities).

I look forward to their analysis of the data available on the government’s open data website as I did an analysis a few years back on the IRCC datasets, the most comprehensive ones available, but where timeliness is becoming an issue (IRCC Datasets: What they say about government priorities):


And yet, in fields ranging from public health to energy economics to the labour force to the status of children with disabilities, there’s a lot that Canada simply doesn’t know about itself.

Consider that we don’t have a clear national picture of the vaccination rate in particular towns and cities. We don’t know the Canadian marriage or divorce rate. We don’t know how much drug makers pay the Canadian doctors who are charged with prescribing their products. We don’t have detailed data on the level of lead in Canadian children’s blood. We don’t know the rate at which Canadian workers get injured. We don’t know the number of people who are evicted from their homes. We don’t even know how far Canadians drive – a seeming bit of trivia that can tell us about an economy’s animal spirits, as well as the bite that green policies are having.

Our ignorance is decades in the making, with causes that cut to the heart of Canada’s identity as a country: provincial responsibility for health and education that keeps important information stuck in silos and provides little incentive for provinces to keep easily comparable numbers about themselves; a zeal for protecting personal privacy on the part of our statistical authorities that shades into paranoia; a level of complacency about the scale of our problems that keeps us from demanding transparency and action from government; and a squeamishness about race and class that prevents us from finding out all we could about disparities between the privileged and the poor.

But if the problem has deep roots, it has never mattered more. We live in a data-driven age, when the internet and the processing power of computers has made it easier than ever to hoover up statistics about a society, make them public and accessible, and crowdsource better decisions about how to deliver everything from income support to green incentives to job training. Governments around the world have harnessed that power to make themselves smarter, leaner and more effective.

But government data are a different thing. It’s the information that various ministries, agencies and bureaus collect about citizens through administrative sources – such as tax filings and birth records – and questionnaires such as the census and community surveys. And unlike the tech companies that probe our digital lives for profit, governments aren’t in the business of caring what the numbers say about us individually: They’re looking for patterns.

The best way to spot trends is to enlist the public’s help by making your data open. At its best, this produces a charmed cycle: The government collects numbers, makes them anonymous and puts them on a website; a researcher, or even an ordinary citizen, notices something in the numbers (a spike in deaths! or a decline in productivity!); the government hears the alarm and can begin figuring out ways to address the problem.


In Canada, though, this cycle too often breaks down. Either the government hasn’t collected the relevant numbers or it won’t make them public. Important questions go unanswered. That’s especially dangerous for Canadian patients: Our health-care system is pockmarked with data gaps that leave people unsure of the quality and integrity of the care they’re getting, and leaves us in the dark about whether the system is meeting people’s needs.


No one asks themselves that question more often than academics. They are patient zero for Canada’s data-gaps epidemic. And the frustration they experience has implications for us all: When scholars work without access to proper data, they are unable to tell us stories about our world and ourselves that can only be unearthed when expert analysis is applied to a thorough rendering of the raw facts.

Lindsay Tedds, a professor of economic policy at the University of Calgary, has been struck recently by the difference, between the United States and Canada, regarding one of the most fundamental subsets of demographic data: birth records.

To begin with, the standard U.S. certificate of live birth collects all kinds of detailed information about the child’s parents – particularly their level of education and their race. “We know that African-American women die in childbirth at an alarming rate. We know that non-white babies are born smaller and earlier,” says Prof. Tedds. “Both of these factors are highly related to [the] poverty of the parents.” In Canada the picture is far less clear. “Imagine,” she says, “if we had similar detailed, population-level data, including for pregnancy and birth outcomes, for Indigenous moms.”

But even if the records were more detailed, she notes, the information would be harder to dig out: “The United States birth data, you just go onto a website and download it.”

In Canada, by contrast, birth data are kept in a series of facilities called Research Data Centres – the bane of many researchers trying to unlock tricky problems in Canadian social science. Statistics Canada opened the first RDC in 2000, with the aim of giving researchers access to so-called confidential microdata – the previously hidden guts of Statscan’s collections, such as census responses, health-survey results and birth records – without compromising anyone’s privacy.

But while they contain a rich trove of data, the fact that it is embedded with potentially identifying details about individual Canadians – not names, which are scrubbed ahead of time, but occupation and gender, for example – means that researchers must jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops before they can get their hands on it. Wendy Watkins, a Carleton University sociologist and former Statscan analyst, calls the centres “little data jails.”

There are 30 RDCs across Canada, almost all on university campuses – although Brandon, Sudbury, Trois-Rivières, Charlottetown and Peterborough, Ont., all university towns, have no such research centres. There are no RDCs at all in Nunavut, Yukon or Prince Edward Island. Because researchers have to visit them in person, that often means travelling hundreds of kilometres.

And that journey only gets them to the jailhouse gates. Then the real hurdles emerge. These can include providing a five-year address history, submitting a research proposal well ahead of time, and being formally sworn in as a government employee for the duration of your visit, complete with a legally binding oath of secrecy. If you are not a graduate student or university faculty, you’re likely to face more than a dozen steps before being able to actually publish your research. In some cases, researchers have to pay a sizable fee – routinely more than $5,000 – to access the information.

“I had to get fingerprinted,” says Prof. Andersen of Western, “even though I had my passport. What did they think, I was faking my passport?”

In other countries, the kind of data we keep cloistered in RDCs for privacy reasons is often simply scrubbed of identifying details and opened to the public. Says Calgary’s Prof. Tedds, “We know enough about how to censor and anonymize data that those concerns … they shouldn’t be concerns.”

Placing the burden of security onto individual researchers, in turn, means that reams of information, painstakingly gathered by our government and waiting to be sorted, distilled and interpreted – and, possibly, put to use improving Canadian lives – remain untapped. “I’ve had a few colleagues tell me they don’t study Canada because it’s too much of a pain in the neck,” Prof. Siddiqi says. “Of course I also want to study Canada, but at a certain point you have to throw your hands up.”

The recent controversy over Statscan’s plan to request customers’ personal financial data from Canadian banks might have given the impression of an outfit with a cavalier attitude toward privacy. In fact, the episode was deeply out of character for the agency. Typically, Statscan suffers from the inverse problem, what former assistant chief statistician Michael Wolfson calls “excessive privacy chill.”

The secrecy, bureaucracy and plain eccentricity that have come to characterize the country’s central data-gathering agency are far from unique among federal departments and ministries. Almost every one of them gathers and publishes its own significant stores of data – and Canada’s Auditor-General has spent years quietly pointing out how badly they tend to manage the task.

Glenn Wheeler, a principal in the federal watchdog’s office, says ministries often don’t gather enough data about their own policies to have a good sense of whether those policies are working – or don’t release enough data to convince the public, which is paying for the programs through tax dollars. “It’s a serious issue we find across our audits, across departments, across a number of years,” he says.

What Mr. Wheeler doesn’t mention, but is hard not to notice, is the number of data gaps that threaten to undermine policies the government of Justin Trudeau has put a lot of stock in – policies meant to address such issues as sexual abuse, the settlement of refugees and improving the lot of Indigenous Canadians. “Good policy is impossible without good data,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau in a 2016 speech. But this government’s trademark policies often don’t have good data behind them.

In an audit of the Canadian Armed Forces released last fall, the auditor-general found that the military had “no centralized system to collect and track incidents of inappropriate sexual behaviour in a systematic way,” despite launching Operation Honour to combat sexual misconduct in its ranks in 2015. An Armed Forces spokesperson told The Globe that the military is now addressing the issue: a sexual-misconduct tracking system was “implemented” this past October and it will be “fully operational” some time in 2019.

Meanwhile, a 2017 study of the government’s efforts to settle Syrian refugees – one of the Trudeau government’s signature initiatives – found that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was not gathering numbers on such key measures as the average number of months those refugees spent on income assistance, the effectiveness of the language training they have received, or the percentage of refugee children attending school.


As the benefits of open government data become more widely accepted, Canada is falling behind many of its peer countries in making use of the stuff. Ireland publishes a comprehensive biennial data set on the well-being of children; Denmark tracks every aspect of gender equality; Britain breaks down many social-welfare indicators by ethnicity; and Australia publishes national workplace-injury rates – none of which can be said of Canada.

But no country throws our data failures into starker relief than does the United States. You might expect our southern neighbours to be data laggards: After all, theirs is a country that tends to prefer small government and emphasize individual rights over the common good.

Instead, Americans are world leaders at gathering and sharing an abundance of national numbers. “The U.S. has awesome data on almost everything,” says Jennifer Winter, director of energy and the environment at the University of Calgary school of public policy.

Some attribute U.S. public-data excellence to the country’s (small-r) republican form of government, which treats government property as the people’s. But it’s not just a question of national DNA. The United States has made strides in recent years as a result of deliberate government policy.

In 2013, then-president Barack Obama signed an executive order making government data open and machine-readable by default – a move which, remarkably, Donald Trump signed into law just this month after being presented with a bipartisan bill giving Congressional approval to the broad strokes of president Obama’s order.

During his tenure, Mr. Obama also hired Silicon Valley whiz D.J. Patil as the country’s chief data scientist. Mr. Patil’s marching orders: to free up more of the information that had been mouldering, unseen and unused, in federal government vaults. He realized, in short, that the country could solve more of its problems if it had more eyeballs trying to identify them. “Through these data sets, you get brilliant insights,” he says. “We’re harnessing the power of the country’s entire knowledge base.”

Embedded in Mr. Obama’s health-care law, meanwhile, was a sunshine list for payments made by drug companies to doctors. The data helped reveal some chastening facts. Among them: The more money the average doctor receives from opioid makers, the likelier she is to prescribe opioids; and even such small gifts as a single meal tend to tilt doctors toward prescribing more expensive brand-name drugs.

That analysis would not be possible in Canada; the numbers aren’t there. (Under its previous Liberal government, Ontario was on the verge of forcing pharma-payment disclosure, but the program has been put on hold by Doug Ford’s Conservatives.)

A disarming number of people who have spent time thinking about the problem come to the same conclusion about why this is: Yes, federalism creates data silos, and yes, Statscan is too risk-averse and cash poor, and yes, provinces and federal departments have a built-in incentive to keep their failures hidden with data blackouts. But maybe, just maybe, the problem has even deeper cultural roots. Maybe we’re just not curious enough about what goes on within our borders – blissful in our ignorance. Maybe, these people suggest, the problem comes down to Canadian complacency.

Tellingly, Canada’s Copyright Act, signed in 1921, gave the Crown the rights, for a full 50 years, to any work produced by any government department – a stark contrast with our southern neighbour, which banned government copyright in the 19th century. “The U.S., in its early history, made legislation that said, ‘We shall make this information available to the people,’ ” says Mark Leggott, executive director of Research Data Canada, a non-profit that helps researchers use public data. “In Canada, we made it so that the information was the property of the Queen.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Liberals’ 2015 election platform promised to “embrace open data” and stated that a Liberal government would “make government data available digitally, so that Canadians can easily access and use it.”

And, to be fair, the Trudeau government has certainly made some progress over the past three years. Most famously, it reinstated the mandatory long-form census, which Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had axed in 2010.

A spokesperson for Jane Philpott, the minister of digital government, a portfolio recently created and tacked on to the Treasury Board, also noted that 81,909 data sets are available through the federal open-government portal (though many of those were published by previous governments). Anyone can now open their laptop and look up everything from Canada’s sulphur-oxide emissions, over time, to the country’s “spatial density of oats cultivation.”

Like the governments of every industrialized country, Canada posts far more data online than anyone would have thought possible 30 years ago. It actually tied for first with Britain in a recent “open-data barometer” created by the World Wide Web Foundation (though it’s worth noting that the ranking awards points for fairly basic achievements, like publishing government budgets and election results, and that Canada scored poorly on national environmental statistics).

Statistics Canada would like you to know that it is making progress, too. Anil Arora, the agency’s chief statistician, points to new technologies and techniques that are changing the way it collects public data. Last year, for instance, the agency crowdsourced black-market cannabis prices by asking the public to use an app called StatsCannabis. More than 20,000 people responded. Statscan is also experimenting with “virtual data research centres” that will make microdata more easily accessible by computer, although their inauguration is likely years away.

Notwithstanding the backlash to Statscan’s banking-information scheme – and anxiety in some quarters about giving government more power to gather the personal information of citizens – the public has also shown signs of embracing the value of government data in recent years. The cancellation of the 2011 mandatory long-form census had the unexpected consequence of raising the census’s profile, and maybe even its popularity. The 2016 response rate was the highest ever, at 98.4 per cent, suggesting that Canadians see taking part in data collection as their civic duty, provided their confidentiality is protected and they feel it’s for the public good.

To be sure, a problem as vast and diffuse as a country’s ignorance about itself can hardly be laid neatly at one government’s door, much less one ministry’s. Still, given the Liberals’ enthusiasm for evidence and openness, their reluctance to frankly admit that Canada has a data deficit and to propose concrete solutions is notable.

When asked to comment for this story, the Prime Minister’s Office deferred to the minister of digital government, whose spokesperson’s answers focused on the government’s achievements, especially relative to the Harper Conservatives, and who spoke in general terms about plans for more data openness in the future. For example, in response to a question about the dozens of data gaps identified by The Globe, the spokesperson replied, “We have reinstated the long-form census, unmuzzled government scientists, and made ministerial mandate letters public while tracking progress on those commitments to Canadians. We know there is always more work to do.”

The leaders of Statscan were also reluctant to take ownership of Canada’s data-gap problem. In an interview last year, Mr. Arora pointed a finger at academic researchers who are unable to ferret out the numbers they need. “I would argue that there’s still a lot of data that we have that either researchers don’t even know about or underutilize,” he said. “They find the vetting steps, the confidentiality component, to be a little too much for them.”

In the meantime, Canadian public data remains full of lapses, hesitations and holes – for things as basic as average wait times for mental-health services and the number of homeless people who die on our streets. And the data we have is often so hard to access, it might as well be hidden. Even Mr. Arora knows the dangers of asking the country to fly blind this way: “There could come a day when the population says, ‘You had access to all of these data stores and you could have reasonably used it to prevent something nasty from happening. Why didn’t you?’ ”

Mr. Arora posed his question as a hypothetical – but didn’t need to. Every day, Canadian governments have the chance to prevent nasty things from happening, by putting stark numbers in front of Canadians, so that the public can demand change where it’s needed and build on what the country is doing right. And every day, governments pass up the opportunity to do so. On maternal health, on Indigenous education, on environmental action, on the safety of drugs and the integrity of the doctors who prescribe them, on matters as seemingly mundane as how far Canadians drive and as patently urgent as the rate at which whole demographic groups are dying, governments deprive Canadians of the data needed to make good decisions. Every day, they leave Canadians in the dark.

Source: The cost of Canada’s data deficit When it comes to basic data about its own citizens – from divorce rates to driving patterns to labour trends – Canada simply doesn’t have the answers. If information is power, this country has a big problem.

Labour market outcomes for college and university graduates, class of 2010 to 2014

Good study on the differences in economic outcomes by gender, coming out just before my presentation at the ACS organized conference, STATISTICS CANADA: 100 YEARS AND COUNTING, looking at visible minorities and outcomes.

Same gender gaps but when one compares  visible minority women, Canadian-born, with not visible minority women, a number of visible minority groups have comparable economic outcomes whereas visible minority men, Canadian-born, do relatively worse compared to not visible minority men.:

Even with the same university degree or college diploma, female graduates earn, on average, less than their male counterparts two years after graduation. Results from a new study, based on administrative data, are focused for the first time on the annual employment income of college and university graduates over time in all provinces and territories.

From 2010 up to 2014, over 900,000 students under 35 years of age graduated from a Canadian public postsecondary institution and entered the labour market. Most of these graduates obtained an undergraduate degree (53%) or a college-level diploma (14%). The median employment income two years after graduation was $43,600 for those with an undergraduate degree and $39,100 for college-level diploma holders.

For all graduating cohorts from 2010 to 2014, men with college-level diplomas or undergraduate degrees had higher median employment income than women with the same credentials. The median employment income was $43,900 for men who graduated with a college-level diploma and $36,200 for women who obtained the same qualification. For those who obtained an undergraduate degree, the median employment income was $47,200 for men and $41,300 for women. Gender differences in employment income are influenced by various factors, such as choice of field of study, occupation, and hours of work. The current study cannot identify whether or not the occupation is related to the field of study of the graduate.

The employment income of graduates varies by educational qualification

Among graduates who obtained their postsecondary credential from 2010 to 2014, the year of graduation had little impact on their employment income two years after graduation as each cohort of graduates entered a similar labour market environment. However, differences in income were observed by type of qualification for all graduating classes.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two years after graduation, by educational qualification, 2010 to 2014 cohorts
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two years after graduation, by educational qualification, 2010 to 2014 cohorts

Chart 1: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two years after graduation, by educational qualification, 2010 to 2014 cohorts

For the most recent graduate cohort (students who obtained a credential in 2014), the median employment income two years after graduation ranged from $32,600 for graduates with a college-level certificate to $71,600 for those with a professional degree (which includes graduates from law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry or pharmacy). The results varied for other qualifications. For example, it was $38,100 for a college-level diploma, $42,700 for those with an undergraduate degree, $57,600 for a master’s degree, and $60,800 for doctoral degree graduates.

Median employment income for men ranged from $35,300 (graduates with a college level-certificate) to $72,800 (graduates with a professional degree). The median employment income for women ranged from $30,400 (college-level certificates) to $70,800 (professional degrees).

Studies in architecture, engineering and related technologies and in health and related fields lead to relatively high median employment income

Graduates from 2014 in architecture, engineering and related technologies, and in health and related fields, had the highest median employment income two years after graduation for college-level diplomas ($47,600 and $44,900, respectively) and undergraduate degrees ($60,000 and $58,200, respectively). Women and men had slightly different results.

For 2014 college-level diploma graduates, the median employment income two years after graduation in health and related fields was $44,000 for women and $50,500 for men. This was followed by architecture, engineering, and related technologies, with women earning $41,100, while men earned $48,900.

Women who obtained an undergraduate degree in health and related fields had the highest median employment income two years after graduation at $60,800, followed by architecture, engineering, and related technologies where the median employment income was $55,900.

Men with an undergraduate degree in architecture, engineering and related technologies had the highest median employment income ($61,000), followed by graduates in mathematics, computer and information sciences ($56,100). Health and related fields programs yielded the seventh highest median employment income for men at $44,100.

Among the 2014 cohort of graduates, women represented 16% of the college-level diplomas and 20% of the undergraduate degrees in the architecture, engineering and related technologies field. In contrast, they accounted for 84% of college-level diplomas and 80% of undergraduate degrees in health and related fields.

For graduates from most provinces, architecture, engineering and related technologies, and health and related fields were also among the top-earning fields of study for both college-level diploma and undergraduate degree graduates.

Employment income increases over time for postsecondary graduates

The 2011 graduating class saw their median employment income increase between 9% (for college-level diploma graduates) and 26% (for doctoral degree graduates) when measured first at two years, and then five years after graduation.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 2: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 3  Chart 3: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 3: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 4  Chart 4: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 4: Median employment income of postsecondary graduates two and five years after graduation, by educational qualification, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Students who obtained a professional degree in 2011 continued to have the highest median employment income five years after graduation, with an increase of 14% between year two and five. Those with a master’s degree had a slightly higher median employment income two years after graduation than those who earned a doctoral degree, some of whom may have pursued postdoctoral studies. However, five years after graduation, the doctoral degree graduates were earning more.

For graduates who earned a college-level diploma in 2011, the median employment income for males increased by almost 18% between two and five years after graduation. Female graduates, in turn, had a more modest rate of growth of 4% over the same period.

Among male students who earned an undergraduate degree in 2011, overall median employment income increased by almost 26% from years two to five following their graduation. The rate of growth in median employment income for female graduates over the same time period was lower, at 15%.

Median employment income for graduates in health and related fields grows slowly

Although median employment incomes in health and related fields had the lowest growth rate among those with an undergraduate degree from years two to five after graduation (at approximately 4%), it was still among the top fields of study in terms of employment income. Graduates from humanities programs had the second highest growth rate of median employment income (28% between year two and five after graduation), however, their income ranked as one of the lowest among graduates from the major fields of study who obtained an undergraduate degree.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 5: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 6  Chart 6: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 6: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 7  Chart 7: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 7: Median employment income of undergraduate degree graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 8  Chart 8: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 8: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, both sexes, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 9  Chart 9: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 9: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, males, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 10  Chart 10: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort
Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

Chart 10: Median employment income of college-level diploma graduates two and five years after graduation, by field of study, females, 2011 longitudinal cohort

As was the case for students with an undergraduate degree, those with a college-level diploma in health and related fields had the lowest rate of growth (less than 1%) from two to five years after graduation, but started with relatively high median employment income. College-level diploma graduates in visual and performing arts, and communications technologies, had larger income growth between two and five years after graduation at 17%, but started with the lowest median employment income.

Hate crimes reached all-time high in 2017, Statistics Canada says


The latest numbers from Statistics Canada, showing a substantial increase compared to previous years, most notably for religiously-motivated hate crimes:

The number of police-reported hate crimes reached an all-time high in 2017, largely driven by incidents targeting Muslim, Jewish and black people, according to Statistics Canada data released Thursday.

The federal agency said hate crimes have been steadily climbing since 2014, but shot up by some 47 per cent 2017, the last year for which data was collected. In total, Canadian police forces reported 2,073 hate crimes – the most since 2009, when data became available.

The increases were largely driven by incidents in Ontario and Quebec, Statistics Canada says. The agency said the increase may have been driven by more people reporting hateful incidents to police, although it says that many likely go unreported.

In the worst incident in the country, six Muslim men were shot to death and others were seriously injured during an attack on a Quebec City mosque in January 2017. This spring, 28-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty, but said he was not Islamophobic and instead “carried away by fear and a horrible form of despair.”

Quebec reported a 50 per cent increase in the number of hate crimes in the month after the mass shooting, mainly driven by incidents with Muslims as the victims.

There was a record set in 2017 for the number of police-reported hate crimes in Canada. (CBC)

Police are also dealing with an increase in smaller incidents like hate-related property crimes.

Toronto police’s hate crime unit said it investigated 186 incidents — largely vandalism and graffiti — in 2017. In nearby Hamilton, police reported an 18 per cent increase in the number of what the force calls hate and bias incidents.

Overall, Ontario saw a 207 per cent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, an 84 per cent increase in crimes against black people and 41 per cent increase on incidents against Jewish people.

Alberta and British Columbia also reported increases in the number of incidents.

Community leaders call increase disturbing

Brittany Andrew-Amofah, of the Toronto-based Urban Alliance on Race Relations, said the increase in hate crimes is making communities feel less safe.

“It’s time for political leaders to unequivocally speak out against hate and intolerance and in support of a multicultural society where everyone feels safe to participate and contribute,” she said in a news release.

Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, issued a statement saying while the new statistics aren’t surprising, they are alarming.

“It’s disturbing to hear that hate crime continues to increase in Canada and that the Jewish community – a community that is integrated into the Canadian mosaic — is still victimized,” he said.

Black people major targets, StatsCan reports

Across Canada, black people remained the most common targets of hate crimes based on race or ethnicity. Some 16 per cent of all incidents involved black victims.

Two per cent of police-reported hate crimes involved Indigenous people, according to the report, but it suggests a large number of all victims — possibly as high as two in three — didn’t file reports with authorities.

Hate crimes account for 0.1 per cent of the more than 1.9 million non-traffic crimes reported by Canadian police services in 2017. The agency defines hate crimes as “criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are found to have been motivated by hatred toward an identifiable group.”

Source: Hate crimes reached all-time high in 2017, Statistics Canada says

Andrew Coyne: Political parties — not Statistics Canada — are the real bad guys of privacy invasion

Valid critique of the double standard:

For the past week, question period has been dominated by accusations from Conservative MPs that a government agency has been spying on Canadians — improperly gathering sensitive personal information, it is suggested, on behalf of the ruling party.

That shadowy cabal? You guessed it: Statistics Canada.

The Conservatives have invested much effort in recent years attempting to persuade Canadians that StatCan is their enemy: witness the campaign against the long-form census. The current hysteria was kicked off by a letter from the agency requesting Canada’s banks make available to it personal financial data from 500,000 of their customers.

The program is not secret: the agency briefed reporters on it a month ago. Neither does it apply only to banks. StatCan is reaching out to a range of public and private organizations, hoping to tap the databases they maintain. The reason? People aren’t filling out the surveys the agency has traditionally used to keep track of consumer purchases and the like in anything like the numbers they used to: the data is increasingly unreliable. Without access to “administrative data” to replace it, the agency would be stumbling in the dark.

Privacy concerns are worth taking seriously, of course. Canadians would be right to worry if StatCan were proposing to set up personal files in their name, or to combine bits of data collected from a variety of sources into individual profiles. Needless to say, that is not what the agency is proposing. And while data security is increasingly a concern, StatCan’s record in this regard is unblemished.

Indeed, of all the organizations that now monitor, collect and compile your personal data, StatCan would seem among the least threatening. Your cellphone provider, to take one example, not only keeps tabs on who you called at what hour and for how long, but where you were at the time — in fact, where you are at all times. In the wrong hands, that sort of detailed personal information could be used to manipulate, intimidate and defraud. Whereas the broad aggregates StatCan extracts from it are essential to good public policy.

And of all the wrong hands it is possible to imagine, among the wrongest are those of the political parties — the same parties that are so quick to mount the privacy soapbox when it comes to other organizations. It’s StatCan this week, but it was the big social media companies before and it will be somebody else next – everyone, that is, but the parties themselves. Yet the scale of what the parties are up to, and the potential for abuse — no, the reality of abuse — is far greater than anything StatCan might propose.

All of the parties keep detailed personal files on literally millions of voters. Unlike last year’s scandal over Cambridge Analytica’s use, on behalf of its political clients, of information illegally scraped off of Facebook users’ pages, the data here is acquired legally, which is to say the law has been written in such a way as to allow it.

For example, the parties all have guaranteed access to Elections Canada’s voter lists, though there is no obvious reason why they should. Combined with data purchased from private market-research companies and their own proprietary data collected from interviews with individual voters, the parties are able to assemble quite fantastically “granular” profiles of the voters they are trying to reach, with which not merely to anticipate their responses to events but to shape them, via the sort of highly customized, micro-targeted messages that modern media make possible.

All of which would be objectionable enough — there is, again, no need for any of it, and much reason to object to all of it — if it were subject to even the barest regulatory safeguards. But while government agencies like StatCan are covered by the Privacy Act and private companies come under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the parties have taken care to exempt themselves from federal privacy laws.

And, what is more, they seem determined to keep it that way. Federal and provincial privacy commissioners have called for bringing the parties within the law; so has the head of Elections Canada; so, too, has an all-party committee of MPs. Yet Bill C-76, the package of changes to the election laws currently before the House, makes no requirement of parties other than that they should publish their privacy policies on their websites, with no guarantee they will even abide by their own standards, let alone the kind they impose on others.

Asked to justify this, Liberal spokespeople burble on about the need to “engage” voters. “Understanding the interests and the priorities of Canadians,” Liberal adviser Michael Fenrick told the Commons access to information, privacy and ethics committee last week, “helps us to speak to the issues that matter most to them and in turn mobilizes democratic participation in our country.” Those hot-button fund-raising emails and Facebook ads that cater to your worst fears? That’s what he’s talking about, behind all the high-falutin’ language.

A Conservative official said much the same, adding that of course his party was willing to live with whatever Parliament decides, which is how an opposition party traditionally hides behind the government’s skirts. Only the NDP and Greens have publicly expressed support for bringing the parties under the privacy laws — though since neither is likely to be in a position to put this into effect, this, too, seems awfully convenient.

We’ve been this way before. The parties thoughtfully exempted their own solicitations from the do-not-call rules that apply to other telemarketers. Third-party advocacy groups are subject to much tighter election spending limits than those the parties apply to themselves. Corporate advertisers must conform to truth in advertising laws; not so the parties.

And now privacy. It’s tempting to say there’s one law for the parties and another for everyone else but, in this case, there isn’t any.

Source: Andrew Coyne: Political parties — not Statistics Canada — are the real bad guys of privacy invasion