Statistics Canada head steps down abruptly, cites lack of independence

Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:31pm EDT
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OTTAWA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The head of Canada's statistics agency is stepping down, the government said on Friday and media reports cited the country's top statistician as blaming his departure on a lack of independence.

Wayne Smith said Statistics Canada's independence is compromised by new government-backed technology arrangements that hamper its operations, the Canadian Press news agency reported.

Statistics Canada is responsible for producing closely watched economic data reports on everything from jobs to international trade.

The government agency was criticized earlier this year for technological issues that delayed the release of some economic data reports on its website.

Anil Arora, who previously helped run Canada's census, will become chief statistician as of Monday, replacing Smith, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Grant McCool)