UPDATE 1-Statistics Canada says ending 20-second delay of economic data releases

Thu May 19, 2016 4:26pm EDT
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OTTAWA May 19 (Reuters) - Canada's federal statistics agency said on Thursday it will end the 20-second delay it had put in place on publishing economic data from media lockups, saying it was satisfied releases were hitting its website on time.

Economic data is normally released precisely at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), but Statistics Canada began delaying the opening of communications channels in early February due to delays in updating the agency's website.

In March, the agency implemented a new standard release time from its media facility of 8:30:20 a.m. EDT, saying the lag would be in force until it was certain that releases were appearing on its website without delay for 30 consecutive working days.

"I am pleased to report official release has now occurred without delay for 30 consecutive working days," Gabrielle Beaudoin, director general of the communications division at StatCan, said in a statement.

Regular procedures will resume as of this Friday when Statistics Canada releases closely-watched reports on inflation and retail sales.

The agency has said it put the delays in place to ensure there was equitable access to its data releases.

All communications are turned off in the lockups, where reporters are given the information an hour ahead of time so they can prepare their respective reports. A Statscan official opens the communications lines at the end of the lockup. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Tom Brown, G Crosse)