Inaccurate data about climate means it is harder to make good predictions and decisions about climate change, low-quality weather data could affect infrastructure decisions (contsruction of roads and buildings) that don't stand up to the weather
Weather and climate data had deteriorated so severely that the government weather service could not ensure safety and security of Canadians, according to an internal Environment Canada report written in 2008 and made public in 2010 through an access-to-information request from The Pembina Institute. The report expressed concern about cuts to weather service programs that left Canada with lower-quality climate data. "It is profoundly disturbing to discover the true state of our climate data network and the data we offer to ourselves and the real world," said the authors of the report, Degradation in Environment Canada's Climate Network, Quality Control and Data Storage Practices: A Call to Repair the Damage.
"The present system ...cannot be allowed to continue," the report states. "We contend that MSC [the Meteorological Service of Canada] is unable to fulfil its goal of ensuring the safety and security of Canadians." The weather data system had been affected by cuts under the Liberal government's program reviews in the 1990s, and underfunding continued under the Conservative government, according to the report..
Commentators pointed to the importance of accurate weather data in setting environmental policy, fighting forest fires and designing infrastructure that can stand up to Canada’s tough climate. Farmers, in particular, require accurate weather data.
Internationally renowned climate scientist Jim Bruce said the budget cuts are preventing the government from making good evidence-based policies. "We aren't sinking the money into climatological networks or even water observations to make the kind of decisions that we need to make for managing greenhouse gases and managing the water of the country"
A senior Environment Canada meteorologist responded by saying the government was trying to focus its resources in order to meet the needs and make a difference in the lives of Canadians. Dave Wartman, director of atmospheric monitoring with the Meteorological Service of Canada, said that the weather service was addressing concerns raised by the auditor general's office about the quality of severe weather warnings.