NEWS

StatsCan Released Market-Sensitive Data Early For 6 Years

07/21/2011 07:43 EDT | Updated 09/20/2011 05:12 EDT
CP

CBC -- Statistics Canada released economic data nearly a minute early to 10 firms over six years -- giving some investors the potential ability to move markets before the information went public.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis Thursday said the review by management firm KPMG found the federal agency sent information to its licensed distributors via an automated process that, unknown to management, was programmed to run up to 59 seconds before it was posted on the agency website or released to the public in news releases.

The agency's 10 paying distributors are Bloomberg, the Conference Board of Canada, EcoWin AB, Emerging Markets Economic Data Ltd., FactSet Research Systems Inc., Global Insight (Canada) Inc., Haver Analytics, Moody's Economy.Com, Nomura Research Institute Ltd. and Thomson Financial Investment Management Group.

The review found there was little possibility the data was provided to investors.

"KPMG has contacted a number of licensed distributors of the StatsCan information and each have advised that as a result of their own internal processes, it is unlikely that any StatsCan data was actively released to their clients prior to the official release time."

Statistics Canada stopped the practice in November after it was alerted to the programming issue in order to give all users access to the information at the same time.

Originally, distributors were allowed early access to give them time to process the data for official release, but technology has improved since then, making early release unnecessary.

Paradis said Statistics Canada has overhauled its processes to avoid having similar mistakes happen again.

"Statistics Canada has put into place policy and business unit processes to prevent similar incidents," Paradis said in a release.

"As well, the agency has committed to strengthening the governance of, management of, and security arrangements around the

dissemination of information.

"I expect that Statistics Canada will take all necessary remedies to ensure the integrity and security of our national statistical system.

"And I anticipate that it will continue to provide, in a fair and transparent manner, the high-quality data that Canadians have come to expect."

Provincial statistics units also receive the data.