Harper’s Elimination of Census Long Form Hurts All Canadians

On June 28, the following email was sent by the Chief  Statistician of Canada, Munir A. Sheikh (Munir.Sheikh@a.statcan.gc.ca):

Subject: Update on the 2011 Census

This is an update on the 2011 Census. On June 26, 2010, the census questions were published in the Canada Gazette as required by the Statistics Act. The 2011 Census will consist of the same eight questions that appeared on the 2006 Census short-form questionnaire. All households will receive a short-form census questionnaire.

The information previously collected by the census mandatory long-form questionnaire will now be collected as part of the new voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). The NHS questionnaire will include questions on language, immigration, Aboriginal peoples, mobility, ethnicity, education, labour, income and housing.

The NHS will be conducted within four weeks of the May 2011 Census. Approximately, 4.5 million households will receive the NHS questionnaire, up from the 2.9 million households that would have received the census mandatory long-form questionnaire.

I know that I can count on your ongoing support to ensure the success of these two important Statistics Canada priorities.

This change means that the mandatory long form census questionnaire, sent to 20% of the Canadian population and consisting of detailed questions (see http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/gazette-eng.cfm) will be replaced with a separate voluntary survey.  It is unlikely that many Canadians will voluntarily provide all the rich and detailed information formerly gathered using the mandatory long form census. This means that the research community and all levels of government and community groups will no longer have access to this information which has been used to create public policy and conduct research that leads to an immeasurable number of programs and initiatives.

What Can You Do?

Learn more about the issue by reading the articles below. And, write your MP and Minister Tony Clement to express your concern. You can also sign the Keep the Canadian Census Long Form Petition and join the Keep the Canadian Census Long Form Facebook Page.