Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the British Columbia Library Association’s Board of Directors and membership, I write to express concerns about the recent resignation of Canada’s Chief Statistician, Wayne R. Smith, and the reasons he articulates for his resignation.
The British Columbia Library Association represents more than 900 librarians and library staff as well as the province’s public, academic and special libraries. As librarians, library staff, and experts in accessing and providing information we urge the Prime Minister to review and correct the challenges facing Shared Services Canada, and to support the autonomy of Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada information is one of the most heavily used and requested data sources in libraries. Libraries themselves rely on the level of detail provided by information such as census data in planning and appropriately delivering library programs and facilities. There is no comparable source to aid in developing relevant and responsive community services. It is appropriate to say that reliable statistics are critical to the daily functioning of our country, our regions, our municipalities, and are a key decision making input for libraries, businesses, non-profits, and the communities we all serve.
Libraries are at the forefront of evidence-based research and as such we urge the Prime Minister to act on his campaign pledge to restore evidence-based policy making. An independent Statistics Canada is the foundation of evidence-based decision making and policy making.
British Columbians, and indeed Canadians, need to trust the data collected about them. They need to trust that the data will be independently managed, and trust the way the data will be used. We look forward to hearing the Government’s next steps in building a strong and independent Statistics Canada.
BC Library Association President