Social Statistics: Ignorance Is Bliss
Pretty soon asking even the most basic social policy questions will require huge amounts of investment in primary research. Regularly published statistical reports and summaries are disappearing by the minute.
The elimination of the National Council of Welfare in the Budget means that we will no longer be getting Welfare Incomes, a more or less annual publication which allowed one to compare provinces with respect to social assistance benefits by family type.
Good luck pulling that information together on your own from provincial web sites.
While one can still quite readily get data on the incidence, depth and duration of poverty from StatsCan, we no longer get regular analytical reports on low income of the kind which used to be published by the National Council of Welfare and by the now virtually defunct Canadian Council on Social Development.
I am a bit behind the curve here, but just learned that HRSDC has recently stoppedÂ making available on their web site “Social Security Statistics: Canada and Provinces” , a formerly annual huge compendium of statistics on expenditures and beneficiaries ofÂ a wide range of income support programs. (Go to Gilles Seguin’s invaluable web site for more detail and archived reports.)
Deep cuts over at Statscan will almost certainly mean far, far fewer analytical reports on social issues, and the elimination of even more surveys.
So, look forward to even more fact free policy debate.