In 2010, the Conservative government eliminated the long-form census, against the advice of the Chief Statistician and other experts at Statistics Canada. We need the data from the census so we can make the best possible decisions about important social services, to address employment and labour market needs, to make business investment decisions and to plan for the future.
The government replaced the 2011 mandatory long-form census with a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). Unfortunately, the results came with a disclaimer: the NHS data can't be compared with previous census data. Experts who rely on this data, and the continuity of these data sets, call the NHS worthless.
That's why I have put forward Bill C-626, a private member's bill to reinstate the long-form census and expand the authority of the Chief Statistician. This bill will be up for debate this fall, and will come to a vote this winter.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has passed a national policy resolution calling for the restoration of the mandatory long-form census.
(reprinted from tedhsu.ca)
key elements of Bill C-626 include:
- Reinstating the long-form census to the extent that data quality and the continuity of data series is comparable to the previous census years, but reducing the punishment for refusing to answer from imprisonment to a fine
- Empowering the Chief Statistician - rather than the Minister of Industry - to determine, after consultation with stakeholders, the questions on the census and the means of collecting data
- Appointing the Chief Statistician on the recommendation of a committee of experts from the research community and the public service, and in consultation with all political parties in Parliament.
These changes will:
- Help us get the detailed geographic data we need to make decisions about city planning, including city roads and plumbing, energy infrastructure, schools, immigrant settlement services and public housing
- Ensure that we have proper data from smaller communities like Peterborough, St. John's, Thunder Bay, St.-Catharines-Niagara, Kelowna, and Saint John - communities whose data in 2011 would not have been good enough to publish in 2006
- Provide us with data we can use - data that can be compared to earlier censuses to understand how Canada is changing, unlike the 2011 National Household Survey
- Save money - the 2011 voluntary National Household Survey that replaced the mandatory long-form census cost $22 million more
- Restoring faith in the public service - critical after the government has muzzled scientists, cut important research and services and changed legislation and loosened regulations and protections
Data crimes and misdemeanors: Why childcare, too, needs the long-form census
The Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada's statement on the private member's bill, Bill C-626, An Act to Amend the Statistics Act
It matters to child care! It's time to reinstate the long-form Census
Why Canada should reinstate long-form census, Toronto Star
Damage from cancelled census as bad as feared, researchers say, Globe and Mail
Two days to save the long-form census, Macleans
Sometimes a gaffe is more than a gaffe, Macleans