Structure of a traditional baseline data system

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  • The research was to determine whether appropriate data exist for development of a comprehensive statistical baseline data system for the Athabasca Oil Sands region. The objectives included: a review and assessment of data, including the Statistics Canada Census; evaluation of weaknesses and deficiencies in existing data sources; recommendations based upon the foregoing evaluation; and a bibliography. As an initial step, the existing data sources pertinent to the AOSERP target area were reviewed and assessed. The following criteria were selected to assist the evaluation of data: the type collected, source, detail, geographic identification, accessibility, and time frame. These criteria permitted the assessment of whether the data would be amenable to geographically-coded, continuous monitoring systems. It was found that the Statistics Canada Census provided the most data, the most complete coverage of the target area, the smallest statistical areas, the greatest consistency in data and data collection, and the most regular collection. The local agency collection efforts were generally oriented toward specific goals and the data intended primarily for intra-agency use. In several instances, data were collected irregularly and were site-specific. The smallest statistical areas utilized were minor civil sub-divisions. While these statistical units are relatively comparable over time, they may be too large to be of value to a common small area system. Generally, data collecting agencies did not use coterminus boundaries; for example, health units, polling districts, school divisions, manpower regions, travel and industry zones were not comparable to one another. In many instances, these data collection areas were too large, extending beyond the entire AOSERP study region.

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