The CANSIM Crash Diet at Statistics Canada

This post comes courtesy of the Canadian Social Research Newsletter, March 2, 2014 edition (

The CANSIM Crash Diet at Statistics Canada

WARNING: If you’re not a number-crunching social policy historian who believes
in accountability and transparency, you might just want to skip the following rant.

And another one gone
And another one gone,
Another one bites the dust.
[Source : Queen]

Statistics Canada’s world-class data collection has been trimmed, again.
February 24, 2014
By Gilles:
As a result of the 2012 federal budget cuts, there are now 2,000+ fewer workers at StatCan [ ] — out of a workforce of about 5,000.
The 2012 budget cuts are leading directly to reductions in the amount of public information StatsCan collects and produces, and they could lead to data collection and processing services being contracted out (if they’re not already doing it…)

The latest victim of the budget cuts is the collection of tables in the CANSIM database.
Here’s a sample deleted table:
TERMINATED: Table 384-0009 Government transfer payments to persons, provincial economic accounts
On this table, you’ll find five years’ worth (2005 to 2009) of national statistics PLUS archives going back to 1981 on federal and provincial government transfer payments to individuals and organizations for almost 20 programs, from Old Age Security to Employment Insurance (federal) and Workers’ Compensation to Social Assistance (provincial/territorial).

I went to the CANSIM home page [ ] looking for an announcement regarding what other CANSIM tables had bitten the dust and when. There was not one word on the home page about the CANSIM Crash Diet. If you’d like to know the full extent of the terminated tables for the complete collection, you’ll have to drill down each of the 31 topics on the home page to see the specific tables. I checked only a few categories, but the number of deleted/terminated tables was depressing.
[ *Terminated* tables appear in a grey box at the end of each subsection. ]

A few examples:

For the category “Aboriginal peoples” : 4 tables terminated out of a total of 7
For the category “Children and youth” : 89 tables terminated out of a total of 130
For the category “Families, households and housing” : 67 tables terminated out of a total of 112
For the category “Government” : 62 tables terminated out of a total of 141
For the category “Income, pensions, spending and wealth” : 41 tables terminated out of a total of 167
For the category “Seniors” : 13 tables terminated out of a total of 30

One of StatCan’s two stated objectives is “To provide statistical information and analysis about Canada‚Äôs economic and social structure to develop and evaluate public policies and programs and to improve public and private decision-making for the benefit of all Canadians.” (The second objective is “To promote sound statistical standards and practices…”).

How much longer will StatCan be considered world class, I wonder…

And while we’re lamenting the passing of rich online resources that the federal government has recently terminated, here are a few other reports that are now accessible only via an archiving site like [ ] :

[R.I.P.] Social Assistance Statistical Report: 2008
Social Assistance Statistical Report: 2008 is the fifth annual joint publication by federal, provincial and territorial governments. This report includes a description of, and statistics related to, the welfare system in each province and territory, information about federal-provincial-territorial jurisdictional and funding issues, a bit of historical info on the Canada Assistance Plan and the Canada Health and Social Transfer, etc.

[R.I.P.] Social Security Statistics, Canada and Provinces, 1978-79 to 2002-03
This report offers 25 years of longitudinal data on costs and numbers of beneficiaries for most programs – over 100 tables – covering a large number of programs — here’s a partial list : Child Tax Benefit, Family Allowances, the Child Tax Credit, Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement/Spouse’s Allowance (“The Allowance”), Federal Training and Employment Programs, Federal Goods and Services Tax Credit, the Canada/Quebec Pension Plans, War Veterans’ and Civilian War Allowances, Veterans’ and Civilians’ Disability Pensions, Unemployment/Employment Insurance, the Canada Assistance Plan, Workers’ Compensation, Youth Allowances, Social Assistance and Social Services for Registered Indians — and more…

– Go to the Social Statistics Links page:

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