Canceled/Cut Government Surveys

I received tips about other canceled or cuts to government surveys.  I am checking to see what else might be missing in this list. Looks like there are MORE serious cut-backs to knowledge in Canada.  Also READ the comments to this post, they are loaded with great information.  Armine Yalnizyan adds the following:

” “cut” can mean different things, from discontinued, to throttled in terms of sample size, to lost questions (census/NHS), to just delaying it indefinitely.” (email communication)

NEW INFO IN this Datalibre post (05/08/2010)

The Digital Journal article Cancellation of Youth In Transition Survey Shortsighted includes the following:

  1. Youth In Transition Survey (YITS)
  2. National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth (NLSCY)
  3. National Apprenticeship Survey (NAS)
  4. Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)

These were carried out jointly between Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Statistics Canada.

According to The Tyee and a few others, this one has been cancelled.  However, other information says “CP story about Public Service Employee Survey wrong: Treasury Board. Survey still a go; a proposed annual survey spiked.” (need to verify!):

5. Public Sector Employment Survey (PSES)

While the Globe and Mail; Social Policy in OntarioNJN Networks and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities report that the following was scrapped by HRSDC.

6.  Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS)

Armine Yalnizyan, in her open letter to Tony Clement published in the Progressive Economics Forum includes references to the following survey cuts and cancellations.  I also received some email communication about these:

7. Workplace and Employee Survey (WES)

“WES was discontinued in 2009.  It told us about benefits related to working, I think the only annual source of info on healthcare and pension benefits, but could be wrong”. (I will verify this later)

8.Survey of Household Spending

“was designed to inform us of spending patterns of Canadian households. It is about to change its methodology to save costs. Because of these changes we will no longer know what is happening to the savings rates and debt levels of rich, poor and middle class families”. email communication: “SHS is undergoing a methodological change that will see it provide less detailed (i.e. distributional) info.  Aggregate info (average, mean) will still be just as robust but we will know less about how different are rich and poor households’ patterns of saving, dis-saving (going through savings and borrowing) and spending on things like housing, healthcare, energy, education as a % of their incomes.”

9. Survey of Financial Security

“tracks the distribution of assets and debts across income groups, age groups, family types, and regions in Canada, something virtually all advanced industrialized nations do on a regular basis.  It was last undertaken by Statistics Canada in 2005. There are no plans to run it again. It has been deemed an unnecessary survey.” email communication “last run in 2005, assesses net worth (assets minus debt) and what contributes to it, like value of house, value of RRSP,RPP student debt, mortgage debt, etc.  It is an occasional survey but clearly something of interest these days. Last time it was run was because HRSDC financed it because of tight budgets at StatCAn (no $ for occasionals). The sample size was 9,000 instead of the 23,000 the previous time (1999), and while results were robust enough to be published at the national level by decile, it was no longer possible to order data to assess changes for young versus older families with children or immigrant families.  “

It seems like the Survey of Financial Security,according to StatCan is”
is budget or sponsor dependent, the status is occasional and not cancelled.”

A colleague who works with municipal scale data sent the following:

10. Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC).

This may have been a planned conclusion to this survey. But, then, that’s one thing that is so vexing about this situation: The absence of any transparent attempt at “planning” for changes to our survey instruments and methodologies.

One other thing to note about the list of canceled surveys: None of these is relevant to organizations seeking to measure trends or conditions at the scale of either municipalities or neighbourhoods. The closest would be the SHS, which captured some trends for “selected CMAs”. We need MORE information about municipalities and their neighbourhoods, not less!!! (Email communication)

I need to check on this new information which was posted in the Comments of Armine’s open letter:

?Transportation data? “transportation in Canada, many data series have been discontinued over the last couple of decades -these are data on the “supply side” of transportation, which is a sink for quite large infrastructure expenditures which need to be “got right” a priori”

The following need to be validated.  Has anyone heard of these or any others that have been canceled?

?Survey of Financial Security?
?Workplace and Employee Survey (WES)?
?Survey of Household Spending?


  1. Federico’s avatar

    Tracey, I have confirmation regarding the cancellation of PALS. I’ll try to remember to send you the e-mail directly from HRSDC confirming… it was also on CBC’s The National a bit ago…

  2. Tracey’s avatar

    Merci Catherine.

  3. Tracey’s avatar

    The author of this post wanted to remain anonymous, and thus was unable to submit his/herself. I have posted their comment from an email.


    Of course, StatCan employees are under a gag order & can’t disclose this stuff themselves. But I poked around searching for “inactive” surveys since mid Jan 2006, and found these others this gov’t has cancelled in a seeming attempt to keep us as hewers of wood & spillers of oil rather than on the cutting edge of the knowledge economy.

    Besides the aforementioned Workplace and Employee Survey, which tracks whether employers are paying for training, among other things:


    — The Register of Postsecondary and Adult Education Institutions

    — The Survey of Earned Doctorates

    — and the Survey of Electronic Commerce and Technology

    – and they spiked the Service Industries Newsletter, which offered “analytical articles, statistics and industry profiles to cover the following service industries: software developers, Internet service providers (ISPs), real estate, hotels, accountants, publishers, architects, travel, consulting, engineering, advertising, rental, leasing, personal, food, design, arts, computer, recreation and employment services”

    And they’re no great friend of the Manufacturing Industry: in 2008, they cancelled the “Business Conditions Survey for the Manufacturing Industries” which is intended to give those poor saps a heads up on upcoming trends (like the recession Steve told them wouldn’t be hitting us):

    They also stopped tracking steel manufacturing for some reason, in 2006 (the Steel Primary Forms Weekly: )

    Plus there’s some environmentally flavoured ones they either discontinued:

    — Shipments of Solid Fuel Burning Heating Products:

    & the Canadian Vehicle Survey:

    …or farmed off to EnviroCan,* which probably has less data collection capacity &/or is less likely to get full compliance w. those obliged to turn over the data

    * (the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report:

    Plus there’s a whole bunch of useful reports / products which have been “discontinued” (a useful search term), possibly ‘cuz they revealed inconvenient truths that could interfere with their
    tough on crime for little additional cost agenda, e.g.:

    the last Adult Correctional Services in Canada report was in 2005:

    similarly, the Longitudunal Study of Immigrants mentioned in the main post (url:

    …was a key source of info for reports like these two, which found that the lot of first generation immigrants has been pretty bad since the 90’s.

    New Immigrants’ Assessments of Their Life in Canada :

    Immigrant Economic and Social Outcomes in Canada: Research and Data Development at Statistics Canada:

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