Statistics Canada takes a look at the chief’s key insights
OTTAWA–This past year was an action-packed year in the world of data. Statistics Canada explored many newsworthy topics this year and published 1,221 releases in their publication The Daily.
Did you miss any of the highlights? Here are the Chief Statistician’s top ten picks for 2018:
Starting off our Top Ten List for 2018 is infrastructure and Canada’s Core Public Infrastructure Survey. The survey revealed Canada’s road network is long enough to circle the Earth’s equator more than 19 times. Six releases from the survey provided updated information from across the country on roads, bridges and tunnels, public transit, wastewater and solid waste assets and more.
Number nine on our list is growth in GDP and wealth. Real GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2.0% in the third quarter. The level or value of annualized GDP is $2,242,096,000,000 or $ 2.2 trillion.
In the third quarter, the national net worth of Canadians rose to over $11.4 trillion, but credit market debt also rose. Households had $1.78 in credit market debt for every dollar of disposable income.
Clocking in at number eight on our list is population growth. Canada’s population is growing fast, buoyed by strong immigration levels. The country’s population growth rate in the third quarter of 2018 was 0.5%, an increase rarely seen in past quarters. The population reached 37,242,571 on October 1 – an increase of 183,715 since July 1, 2018, and the largest increase in number since July 1971. British Columbia’s population now exceeds 5 million persons. This year we also released our Population Clock: a real-time simulation of population changes.
Number seven on the list includes important findings on Aboriginal People in Canada, from the Aboriginal People’s Survey. First Nations people living off reserve who were planning to look for work in the next 12 months considered education (28%) and skills training (25%) would be the most helpful to attaining employment. One in seven (14%) Métis reported being self-employed, and of those, 43% owned an incorporated business and 32% had hired employees. One fifth (20%) of Inuit in Inuit Nunangat reported doing harvesting and crafting activities for income or to supplement their income. These activities include hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering wild plants, making clothing or footwear and making jewellery, carvings or other artwork.
At number six, international trade was on everyone’s radar in 2018, including Statistics Canada’s. In 2018, we released an expanded set of international trade statistics and, for the first time, estimates of monthly trade in services. The most recent data at the end of 2018 show the estimated monthly deficit in international trade in services narrowed by $0.3 billion to $1.8 billion. We also developed the Canada and the World Statistics Hub—a one-stop-shop for data products for 11 of Canada’s most important trade partners.
Number five on the list marks another high-profile topic from 2018—health statistics. A survey of Canadians living with disabilities, informed us that 6.2 million Canadians aged 15 years and over had one or more disabilities that limited them in their daily activities. Statistics Canada provided information on other pressing health-related topics, including new data and analysis on opioids, obesity, live births by place of residence of mother, and Canadians living with disabilities.
Building up to number four, a key topic in 2018 was housing. The Canadian Housing Statistics Program sparked interest from Canadian developers and homeowners with the release of new statistics on foreign ownership: 2.2% for Ontario, 3.8% for British Columbia and 3.9% for Nova Scotia. The new Canadian Housing Survey, which focuses on topics like affordable housing, also launched collection in 2018.
Number three on our list is justice—a topic often top-of-mind for Canadians. . We released data that highlighted an increase in the number of hate crimes at a high 2,073 in 2017 – an increase of 47%, and new data on unfounded criminal incidents (addressing an important information need in the #MeToo era). We tracked an increase in the homicide rate that showed an increase in the number of gang-related homicides.
Canada’s job numbers rank number two on our 2018 list. The big story was Canada’s lowest unemployment rate in 40 years at 5.6%, but even regular statistical and analytical releases uncovered many interesting trends, including changes to wages, specifically by occupation. Statistics Canada also explored the labour force participation of women and provided new insights on the gender wage gap and women’s entrepreneurship.
And finally, number one for 2018 is cannabis. In time for cannabis legalization in October, Statistics Canada was ready to release new information on the impacts on the economy, health and justice systems. The agency stayed ahead of the curve by creating the Cannabis Stats Hub to provide a one-stop shop for new information on cannabis and to measure the impacts of legalization. The new National Cannabis Survey found that Quebec had the lowest rate of cannabis use among provinces. And according to the last Cannabis Economic Accounts, Canadians spent $5.9 billion (expressed at annual rates in nominal terms) on cannabis products in the third quarter of 2018. Of this, 83.9% or $4.9 billion was purchased illegally for non-medical use. Related releases on topics such as municipal wastewater testing to measure consumption and crowd sourcing statistics on cannabis pricing also garnered significant interest.
As 2019 begins, we will continue to modernize and keep pace with today’s data-driven economy and society. This past year, we consulted with Canadians from coast to coast to coast: You told us that you want more timely, detailed and high-quality data and insights. We are responding with innovative products and processes that provide the information you need, when you need it. Canadians can continue to rely on Statistics Canada as your trusted source of statistical information on all aspects of our country’s economic and social life.