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StatsCan error no reason to doubt agency, Oliver says

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Minister of Finance Joe Oliver says Statistics Canada has a long history of integrity and competence.

SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Minister of Finance Joe Oliver says Statistics Canada has a long history of integrity and competence.

Statistics Canada’s spectacular error in tallying Canadian job growth in July is "regrettable," but it’s no reason to lose confidence in the agency, the country’s finance minister says.

Joe Oliver said the national statistical agency has a "long history of integrity and competence."

"We’re comfortable that they have got to the bottom of it and that this type of error won’t happen again," Oliver said Friday following a speech to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in Winnipeg.

Earlier in the day, StatsCan announced there was a net gain of 42,000 jobs in Canada last month — not 200 as it originally reported. The country lost 18,000 full-time jobs while gaining 60,000 part-time positions.

Statistics Canada quickly caught its error and announced its revised figure Friday.

In answer to questions, Oliver denied government cutbacks to StatsCan were responsible for the error.

"This has nothing to do with any cutbacks. There were no cutbacks that related to the operations of StatsCan in this area," he said, referring to the production of the agency’s monthly Labour Force Survey.

Statistics Canada blamed a programming error for the miscalculation.

In his speech at a downtown hotel, Oliver praised Manitoba’s diversified economy and Winnipeg’s cultural institutions.

Earlier, he met for close to an hour with Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald at the Manitoba legislature.

The two discussed transfer payments and the Manitoba census population issue among other topics, Oswald said.

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