Dear Friends and Colleagues,


The following open letter has been sent to The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,  P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada regarding the Resignation of Canada’s Chief Statistician.


Again, sincerest thanks to Jocelyne Thompson, Chair of our APLA Advocacy Committee, for her continued vigilance and support.






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School of Information Management, Faculty of Management

Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building

6100 University Avenue

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3J5


The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2


October 25, 2016


Open Letter on the Resignation of Canada’s Chief Statistician & the Future of Statistics Canada


Dear Prime Minister:


The Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA) is a regional organization representing close to 400 library workers and supporters.  I am writing on behalf of our members with regard to the recent resignation of Canada’s Chief Statistician and the concerns Mr. Smith cited for his decision to step down.


APLA was very vocal about the abolition of the long-form census by the previous government.  With its reinstatement shortly after you became Prime Minister in November 2015, we had every reason to believe that the worst was over, and that the independence of Statistics Canada was being newly recognized.


Canada’s libraries are at the forefront of service to Canadians with respect to government information.  Many academic and larger public libraries hold significant deposits of government documents, or provide online access to them.  More importantly, libraries provide trained professionals to help Canadian citizens navigate the maze of information emanating from the various departments and agencies of government. Reliable statistics are critical to the daily functioning of our country, our regions, our municipalities, and are key to the making of sound decisions for the advancement of our businesses and communities.  The protection of Canadians’ confidential information is also an issue libraries take seriously.


It is an act of courage for a top civil servant to resign his position based on an assessment that the government is not fulfilling its responsibilities to the electorate.  It was very disappointing to learn that the independence of Statistics Canada, as well as its ability to fulfil its mandate, continues to be compromised.  This may be an unintended consequence of the move to centralize government IT.  Many have called for the dismantling of Shared Services Canada if the agency proves unable to provide the services expected.  Certainly, there are many examples of the failure of SSC to live up to those expectations.  Whatever decision is made in the long-run with regard to SSC, it would appear that Statistics Canada is declining rapidly in its ability to fulfil its mandate and that the situation is in need of serious attention. 


Mr. Smith is the second chief statistician to resign in protest since 2010, following the example of his immediate predecessor.  This should raise alarms within government and prompt an immediate review to ensure that Statistics Canada has both the independence and the tools needed to fulfil the mandate envisioned for national statistical offices by the UN and OECD, in documents endorsed by Canada.  The current situation can simply not persist.





Suzanne van den Hoogen

APLA President 2016-17



Cc: Hon. Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

      Mr. Anil Arora, Chief Statistician, Statistics Canada














Suzanne van den Hoogen

Public Services Librarian

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

B2G 2W5


P: 902-867-4535

F: 902-867-5153

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