On the genesis of a new statistical regime: the case of Canada, 1800-2011

Jean-Guy Prévost, Jean-Pierre Beaud


The purpose of the paper is to examine and discuss some of the major transformations undergone by Canadian statistics with regard to structures, norms and practices (which can be envisioned as the defining traits of a particular statistical regime) over the last two centuries or so, with passing reference to other national experiences. We distinguish four periods: before 1860, the British colonies of North America have evolved in an environment that we may describe as «proto-statistical»; from the mid-19th century to the eve of World War II, the course of Canadian statistics was defined by a progressive emergence of a «national» perspective; from the 1940s up to the 1980s, the development of the Canadian statistical system may be characterized as following two major trends, consolidation at the national level and consideration of the local, regional and provincial perspectives. The era of globalization has witnessed the advent of a new statistical regime, with its distinctive features, concerns and concepts. We examine more deeply three main aspects of this new statistical regime.

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