Five years after the federal government scrapped the mandatory, long-form census, business leaders and policy makers are still urging its return, pinning their hopes on a private member’s bill making its way through Parliament. Roger Martin, a former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the current academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, is one of those pushing for the revival of the long census. He argues that, without the more detailed census data, policy makers are essentially flying without a radar, unsure of whether government programs are working now, and with no way of effectively planning for the future. “The real problem is… we now don’t have nearly the same capability to try public policy things… and figure out did that work or not? And that’s just sad, it’s really sad,” Martin told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday, February 2.
The cancellation of the mandatory long-form census has damaged research in key areas, from how immigrants are doing in the labour market to how the middle class is faring, while making it more difficult for cities to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, planners and researchers say.
Statistics Canada developed a voluntary survey after Ottawa cancelled the long-form census in 2010. Many had warned that the switch would mean lower response rates and policies based on an eroded understanding of important trends. Now researchers – from city planners to public health units – say they have sifted through the 2011 data and found it lacking.
TPL has a new leader: Vickery Bowles, who has been the Director of Collections Management and City-Wide Services, has been appointed as City Librarian. She begins her new role on January 5, 2015.