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On behalf of Statistics Canada, I am very pleased to present this compendium of management practices for statistical organizations. It is based on the many achievements of Statistics Canada's International Statistical Fellowship Program (ISFP).

The ISFP was established in February 2011 under a five-year co-operation agreement between Statistics Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency (now part of Global Affairs Canada), with the goal of making it easier to share knowledge and best practices in leadership and management with the top managers of national statistical offices of countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. To fill the management capacity needs and deficiencies identified by these organizations, the ISFP sought to build the knowledge of senior managers, develop lasting solutions to local challenges, and increase accountability at the regional and local levels with respect to the adoption and sharing of best management practices.

Fourteen ISFP seminars were held to train nearly 165 top managers from more than 45 countries. These seminars, each lasting five to eight days, gave senior managers from ISFP target countries an opportunity to attend presentations given by Statistics Canada's senior executives and managers and to talk about the possibilities, opportunities and solutions of adaptation and applicability, taking local or regional specificities into account.

To ensure that sharing this knowledge lasts and to broaden its use and utility, Statistics Canada decided to develop this compendium of lessons learned and best practices. It consists of 28 chapters divided into four main sections:

The content of the chapters is structured the same for readability. Each chapter deals with a specific topic and analyzes the context, the strategies, mechanisms and tools used, the key factors for success, and the challenges, and ends with a look toward the future. The content is largely based on Statistics Canada's experience, since it served as the backdrop for the program. However, the chapters were written not as a list of recipes to be followed systematically and in their entirety, but rather as a collection of techniques, principles, mechanisms and tools that an effective national statistical office should consider and adapt to its own national circumstances. These are illustrated by examples from Statistics Canada and enhanced by content from ISFP participating countries.

The compendium is not intended to replicate what already exists, but rather to supplement reference works on management for statistical organizations,Endnote 1 based on Statistics Canada's experience.

I hope that this compendium will be very useful in strengthening statistical systems and capabilities. I hope you enjoy consulting it.

Wayne R. Smith

Chief Statistician of Canada


Endnote 1

This list is not exhaustive. It identifies various reference works, including the following:

  • African Union (2009). African Charter on statistics. Consulted on the 31st of March 2016. Retrieved from
  • Kiregyera, Ben (2015). The Emerging Data Revolution in Africa: Strengthening the Statistics, Policy and Decision-making Chain. Stellenbosch, South Africa: African Sun Media.
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2015). Draft Recommendation of the Council on Good Statistical Practice, Note by the Secretary-General. Consulted on 11th of March 2016. Retrieved from
  • PARIS 21 (2014). National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS). Consulted on the 31st of March 2016. Retrieved from
  • United Nations (2005). Handbook of Statistical Organization, Third Edition. The Operation and Organization of a Statistical Agency. Studies in Methods, Series F, no. 88. New York. Consulted on 11th of March 2016. Retrieved from
  • United Nations (2014). Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics. Resolution A/68/L.36. March 3. General Assembly. New York. Consulted on 11th of March 2016. Retrieved from
  • United Nations (2016). Guidelines for managers in statistical organizations. Note by the Modernisation Committee on the Organizational Framework and Evaluation, under the High Level Group for the Modernisation of Official Statistics.

Return to endnote 1 referrer

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