Globe and mail horoscope for january 21 2020
Then the real hurdles emerge. These can include providing a five-year address history, submitting a research proposal well ahead of time, and being formally sworn in as a government employee for the duration of your visit, complete with a legally binding oath of secrecy. What did they think, I was faking my passport?
In other countries, the kind of data we keep cloistered in RDCs for privacy reasons is often simply scrubbed of identifying details and opened to the public. Placing the burden of security onto individual researchers, in turn, means that reams of information, painstakingly gathered by our government and waiting to be sorted, distilled and interpreted — and, possibly, put to use improving Canadian lives — remain untapped.
Researcher Arjumand Siddiqi says the complexity of obtaining data in Canada has deterred several of her colleagues from studying it. In fact, the episode was deeply out of character for the agency. In recent years, for instance, Ottawa and the provinces have rolled out a suite of environmental programs meant to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.
Those include a federal carbon tax, electric-car incentives, higher fuel-efficiency standards and grants for renewable-energy firms. In each of these cases, though, we lack the public data to fully understand if the policies are working. The agency will not say why. But that hiccup in the data could soon leave us in the dark about how the East Coast is adapting to a federal price on carbon. What happens when Canadian drivers do gas up is an even bigger mystery. Statscan used to ask a sample of Canadian motorists to write up their car trips in travel diaries, but stopped doing so in due to a low response rate and budget constraints.
That might not matter as much if Canadians were driving more Teslas and Priuses.
Meanwhile, the most recent auto-emissions-compliance report from Environment and Climate Change Canada contains some data about electric-vehicle sales, but only up to What Mr. Or take, for example, the issue of education and job training for Indigenous people, a population with labour-force-participation and postsecondary-completion rates lower than that of other Canadians. Last year, the auditor-general found that Indigenous Services Canada was drastically underreporting the high-school dropout rate for on-reserve First Nations students — counting only those who dropped out in their final year, not those who left school even earlier, between Grades 9 and Between and , the department falsely reported that almost half of those students were finishing high school; in fact, it was closer to one-quarter.
As a result, the government had only a tenuous handle on whether the programs were working. The information can save lives and alleviate the misery of people living in the shadows. Even so, if you care to look at public data as an investment, it winds up being a pretty good one. New Zealand, for example, has estimated that every dollar it spends on its census generates a net benefit of at least five dollars in the national economy, in part by allowing the government to better target funding for health care and for programs aimed at improving outcomes for Indigenous citizens.
As the benefits of open government data become more widely accepted, Canada is falling behind many of its peer countries in making use of the stuff. Ireland publishes a comprehensive biennial data set on the well-being of children; Denmark tracks every aspect of gender equality; Britain breaks down many social-welfare indicators by ethnicity; and Australia publishes national workplace-injury rates — none of which can be said of Canada. But no country throws our data failures into starker relief than does the United States.
You might expect our southern neighbours to be data laggards: After all, theirs is a country that tends to prefer small government and emphasize individual rights over the common good. Instead, Americans are world leaders at gathering and sharing an abundance of national numbers. An envelope contains a U. Some attribute U.
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The United States has made strides in recent years as a result of deliberate government policy. During his tenure, Mr. Obama also hired Silicon Valley whiz D.
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He realized, in short, that the country could solve more of its problems if it had more eyeballs trying to identify them. Embedded in Mr. The data helped reveal some chastening facts. Among them: The more money the average doctor receives from opioid makers, the likelier she is to prescribe opioids; and even such small gifts as a single meal tend to tilt doctors toward prescribing more expensive brand-name drugs.
A disarming number of people who have spent time thinking about the problem come to the same conclusion about why this is: Yes, federalism creates data silos, and yes, Statscan is too risk-averse and cash poor, and yes, provinces and federal departments have a built-in incentive to keep their failures hidden with data blackouts. But maybe, just maybe, the problem has even deeper cultural roots. Maybe, these people suggest, the problem comes down to Canadian complacency.
Craig McKie, a retired Statscan analyst, nods to that era when trying to understand why he was ordered to destroy valuable data sets while at the agency. All the important things happen somewhere else. So why would you care? Siddiqi, the health researcher at the U of T, talks along similar lines when it comes to our aversion to tracking the well-being of particular racial groups.
And, to be fair, the Trudeau government has certainly made some progress over the past three years. A spokesperson for Jane Philpott, the minister of digital government, a portfolio recently created and tacked on to the Treasury Board, also noted that 81, data sets are available through the federal open-government portal though many of those were published by previous governments. Like the governments of every industrialized country, Canada posts far more data online than anyone would have thought possible 30 years ago.
Statistics Canada would like you to know that it is making progress, too. Last year, for instance, the agency crowdsourced black-market cannabis prices by asking the public to use an app called StatsCannabis. More than 20, people responded. The response rate was the highest ever, at We know there is always more work to do. In an interview last year, Mr.see url
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Arora pointed a finger at academic researchers who are unable to ferret out the numbers they need. In the meantime, Canadian public data remains full of lapses, hesitations and holes — for things as basic as average wait times for mental-health services and the number of homeless people who die on our streets.
And the data we have is often so hard to access, it might as well be hidden. Even Mr. And every day, governments pass up the opportunity to do so. On maternal health, on Indigenous education, on environmental action, on the safety of drugs and the integrity of the doctors who prescribe them, on matters as seemingly mundane as how far Canadians drive and as patently urgent as the rate at which whole demographic groups are dying, governments deprive Canadians of the data needed to make good decisions.
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