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Tax Data: The Backbone to the Modernized Agriculture Program at Statistics Canada (308030)*Julie Girard, Statistics Canada
Keywords: Agriculture, Tax Data, Data replacement, Administrative sources
Statistics Canada’s Agriculture Statistics Program consists of two principal components. The survey program, which consists of over two dozen surveys and the Census of Agriculture (CeAg), has traditionally collected information directly from the farm operators on the activities of the farm and occasionally some financial information. The Agriculture Taxation Data Program (ATDP) uses tax returns submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency to produce estimates of the financial health of the Canadian agricultural sector, including farm revenues and expenses, as well as farm and off-farm income of farm-families. Starting with reference year 2015, the ATDP changed its methodology from an annual sample of tax forms to an annual census of these forms for unincorporated and incorporated farms. While the two components were initially independent of one another, during the 2016 Census, the detailed expense questions on previous CeAg questionnaires were replaced by data from the tax program. Recently, the program has announced intentions to use more administrative and other non-survey data sources. There is research underway for the use of a tax-based definition to identify farms in the targeted agriculture population. This could provide a more objective definition of a farm while at the same time facilitating the Agency’s use of alternate data sources.