2. Background

Statistics Canada continually reviews its programs to maintain relevance and efficiency. Following each CEAG, the content is reviewed thoroughly prior to the next census cycle to ensure that the program stays relevant.

The Red Tape Reduction Action Plan launched by the federal government in 2010,Note 1 was a key driver to further reduce response burden on producers for the 2016 CEAG cycle. Response burden had to be reduced by 7% from the 2011 CEAG. All new data requirements by data users were scrutinized for potential replacement by administrative data.Note 2 To reduce response burden, Statistics Canada investigated and evaluated these potential administrative data sources from both the private sector and government that could replace, in whole or in part, CEAG content.

To address the Government’s red tape reduction recommendations and concerns expressed by some farmers with respect to timing and reporting burden, the 2016 CEAG aimed for a reduction in completion time for farmers, increased Internet uptake and lower follow-up efforts.

On the content front, a simple approach was taken by reducing the footprint of the paper questionnaire. The questionnaire was reduced from a 16-page legal-size format to a 16-page letter-size format. This was achieved by proposing to reduce some content from the 2011 CEAG and adding new content only where space was freed up as a result of deleting questions from the 2011 version.Note 3

While preparing their submissions, data users were asked to keep response burden in mind before asking for new content. They were asked to identify content that is no longer needed or that could be replaced by data from administrative programs. They were also asked to provide feedback on a discussion questionnaire, which proposed potential removal of some questions.

Statistics Canada followed a rigorous process to determine which questions would be retained on the 2016 CEAG questionnaire once consultations were completed and submissions received, processed and analysed. This process is described in further detail in Section 4.

In the final analysis, Statistics Canada has to balance several data user needs for high quality data (including the need to track emerging industry trends) with the potential reporting burden that data collection imposes on Canadian producers. The decision to maintain, remove or add new content was guided by this overarching goal.

Notes

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