OTTAWA Oct 5 Statistics Canada will continue to
work with a centralized technology system that has better
confidentiality and security, the new head of the agency said on
Wednesday in a blog post that sought to address the concerns
that spurred his predecessor's resignation.
Anil Arora became the country's chief statistician last
month after the former head of Statistics Canada, Wayne Smith,
quit over concerns that changes to the data infrastructure were
compromising the agency's independence.
In an arrangement under the previous Conservative
government, responsibility for StatCan's informatics
infrastructure was transferred to Shared Services Canada, the
department that oversees information technology services
Smith told Reuters in an interview that the changes have put
the release dates of major economic reports at risk.
StatCan releases the country's official economic data on
everything from jobs to trade. The reports are closely watched
by markets and investors.
In Wednesday's post on Statistics Canada's blog, Arora said
the benefits of a centralized system outweigh the risks, though
he acknowledged there were bumps and setbacks at times.
"We live in a connected world. Organizations can no longer
afford to have duplicative subsystems, because they are not
optimal," Arora said.
He said centralized systems are more cost-effective and
offer higher levels of confidentiality and security compared to
having many different systems.
If there are capacity issues, StatCan will work with Shared
Services to address them, Arora said. His primary goal is to
make sure StatCan remains a credible and "trustworthy source of
statistics through our independence," he said.
A senior official at Shared Services told reporters last
month that StatCan data is safely stored and cannot be accessed
Arora said one of his immediate tasks will be to work with
the new Liberal government to fulfill its election promise to
reinforce the agency's independence.
Nonetheless, he noted that while the agency already works
independently in practice, most countries with major national
statistical agencies have put those practices into law.
Legal independence would allow that agency to get on with
what it does best, Arora said.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)