Nova Scotia's Community Counts website axed in budget

Nova Scotia’s government killed a Community Counts website that researchers used to turn Statistics Canada data into policy.

Cutting site will save $250,000 a year

Charlene Gagnon said the cuts are bad for researchers. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's government killed a Community Counts website that researchers used to turn Statistics Canada data into policy.

The site offered lots of information organized by community, police or electoral districts. Cutting the site, and the three positions connected to it, will save the province about $250,000 a year.

"It will be devastating," said researcher Charlene Gagnon, who worked on the Clairmont report on violence in Halifax.

She's also used it to research homelessness and low-income housing to help shape those policies.

"[It] doesn't seem like a whole lot, given how valuable the resource is, especially since we are seeing this erosion of data validity and available data through Statistics Canada."

The website now directs people to Statistics Canada.

Finance Minister Diana Whalen said it wasn't essential and so was cut to save money.

"Some of these are things like this — they're useful, they're nice, but they're not core business to government," she said. 

The government "encouraged" Statistics Canada to package their data in a way that is consumable for citizens.

It said since September, the page got 10,000 views a month. That accounts for 18 per cent of the Department of Finance and Treasury Board page views.

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