Soon we will live in a world where we lack an empirical basis for policy and political debate, leaving everyone even more free to invent their own facts.
The Globe has a story today on the impact of the Budget.
“Statistics Canada, the national statistics agency, informed its staff late last week that it has been ordered to chop $33.9-million from its planned spending by April 1, 2014.
That’s a cut of roughly 7.5 per cent when compared to Statscan’s estimated budgetary spending for 2012-13, which was previously pegged at $454.7-million
“This reduction will be implemented progressively, beginning with $8.3-million on April 1, 2012, rising to $18.3-million on April 1, 2013, in order to achieve the full reduction by April 1, 2014,” chief statistician Wayne Smith wrote employees last week in a memo.
Mr. Smith acknowledged this will mean job cuts at Statscan – an abandonment of the agency’s no-layoff policy.
“The actions to be taken involve a mixture of new efficiency measures and program reductions. Achieving the required savings will necessarily mean a reduction in Statistics Canada’s work force.”
This story actually understates the extent to which Statscan is bearing the brunt of cuts.
I am reliably informed that the cut is a hefty 9.4% to the review base, well above the average of 6.9% and very close to the maximum 10% scenario which all departments and agencies were required to submit.
Statscan effectively has no choice but to maintain spending on the key surveys if the quality of the labour force survey, the consumer price index and the national accounts is to be maintained. That means that many other surveys will have to be eliminated, or undertaken much less frequently.