Mr. Speaker, Bill C-36 would introduce the requirement that the new council's work be done in a transparent manner. It would also require that the council make public an annual report on the state of the national statistical system.
The new council's membership would also be much smaller and more focused compared with that of the existing council. The council would consist of a chairperson and up to nine additional members who would be appointed by the Governor in Council to hold office during pleasure. The chief statistician would also be a member of the council.
Unlike members of the current council, all members would be paid. The pay level would be fixed by the Governor in Council. Members would also be entitled to be paid any reasonable travel and living expenses incurred while absent from their ordinary places of residence to perform their duties under this act.
Given the reduced number of members compared with the current council, there would not be any additional costs associated with the new council.
Establishing the new Canadian statistics advisory council in the Statistics Act, as proposed under Bill C-36, would be beneficial in at least three ways.
First, it would strengthen the accountability of Statistics Canada, which would balance the increased independence secured under other suggested legislative changes.
Second, it would increase the transparency of the council's work, thereby increasing its own accountability in addition to that of the minister and the chief statistician.
Third, it would publish an annual report on the state of the statistical system, including the quality, relevance, accessibility, and timeliness of the data it would produce. This is particularly important given the critical role statistics play in evidence-based decision-making.
The statistical information produced by government must be high-quality and responsive to stakeholder needs. Otherwise, it will not be trusted, nor will it be used. Businesses, governments, non-profit organizations, the research community, and the public rely on the integrity and accuracy of this data.
Statistical information helps us better understand ourselves, our past, and our future by providing information on our economic, demographic, social, and environmental situation. As such, it is essential that statistical information be impartial, reliable, relevant, accessible, and timely. In essence, it must be of the highest possible quality.
The new Canadian statistics advisory council would play an essential role in ensuring that Canada's statistical system continues to be one of the best in the world.
This government is committed to ensuring that its decisions are evidence-based and reflective of the needs of businesses, institutions, non-profit organizations, and Canadians.
To meet this commitment, we need quality data. That is why we reinstated the mandatory long-form census, and that is why Bill C-36 is so important.
Together, the legislative amendments proposed to strengthen Statistics Canada's independence will ensure that Canadians can rely on and trust in the official statistics produced.