Minister Doug Currie negotiating new funding formula with Ottawa

This article was last updated on June 18, 2022

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Previous reliance on Statistics Canada appears to be negotiable
Is the Province negotiating a new funding formula with the Federal government that excludes Statistics Canada?
Sharon Cameron, Deputy Minister of Seniors and Social services said the numbers from Statistics Canada are not reliable.
“You can’t trust Statistics Canada to get it right,” she said in a telephone interview.
“There numbers are wrong,” she added. “For instance, Statistics Canada tells us PEI doesn’t have any poverty above 5%. We know we have poverty higher than that.”
Cameron is picking and choosing which statistics the PEI government will accept.
Statistics Canada has been the authoritative source for all statistics in Canada for decades. They provide information on population by sex, age, area, and other demographics. Educators, social scientists and the media use Statistics Canada with confidence. The Federal and Provincial governments use Statistics Canada to determine health and other transfer payments to the provinces.

Statistics Canada conducts scientifically accurate surveys of Canadians every five years. They report simple demographics such as your age, sex, and where Canadians live.
Deputy Minister Cameron further stated she did not believe the most recent numbers from Statistics Canada on the number of persons with disabilities on PEI.
Minister Doug Currie said PEI has 21,750 persons with disabilities, which agrees with Statistics Canada. (chart)
Cameron did not agree with was the number of seniors on PEI with disabilities. Statistics Canada reports 8,712 Islanders over the age of 64 have disabilities. Disability is part of the aging process and can range from a mild physical or mental debilitation or complete incapacitation.
Disability increases with age, at 75 years more than half of Islanders are disable (Statistics Canada Chart)
Disability increases with age, at 75 years more than half of Islanders are disable (Statistics Canada Chart)

Minister Currie conducted a survey of his own last winter, which included seven public meetings held on winter nights. The survey was not scientific and is anecdotal at best. The report from the survey contains no quantifiable data such as the new number of seniors with disabilities on PEI. There is no new data because the Province has no capacity to conduct statistical surveys.
Cameron will not release the department’s numbers on seniors with disabilities. Cameron said they are “substantially lower than Statistics Canada.”
“We did not find any real demand among seniors for disability supports,” she concluded. Cameron’s comments are self-serving to justify departmental policy. Cameron has been known to stretch the truth before.
The comment about poverty does not agree with the published facts. The deputy quoted 5% from thin air.
Statistics Canada reports poverty at 11.4% of the population (LICO after tax) or 15% pre-tax. A Google search produced that statistic and plenty of other statistics on poverty with 10 minutes.
LICO refers to the Low Income Cut-Off that a family unit needs to survive. The number varies the number of persons in the family and the location, with rural being the lowest LICO and large urban being the highest.
International as well as Canadian agencies LICO use as the universal measure of poverty, by although it is not “official”. LCO is the only accepted measure. LICO been used since the 1960′s. Recently, tax effects were added since tax credits can form a part of low-income earners’ income.
We suspect the distrust of rates of disability among seniors is influenced by Minister Currie’s failure to extend disability services beyond the 65th birthday.

Click HERE to read more columns by Stephan Pate.

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