Bring the long-form census back in time for the 2016 census!
The new Liberal government has said they will reinstate the mandatory long-form census that was eliminated in 2010 by the Conservative government.
There is only a very small window to reinstate the long-form census in time for the 2016 census. Many experts, including two former chief statisticians, say it can be done - but a decisions would need to be made immediately.
We can’t wait another 4 years to get this important information back.
The previous government decided to scrap the mandatory long-form census and replace it with the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). This new voluntary survey produces data that are unreliable and even unusable; and it actually costs more to implement than the long-form census. Canadians are paying more for less information.
How bad is this data-deficit?
When the long-form census was scrapped, Canada's Chief Statistician at the time, Dr. Munir Sheikh, resigned in protest over this change. Many industry professionals and organizations have also spoken out about the "considerable economic and social costs" that the loss of the long-form census has caused.
Voluntary surveys receive lower response rates when compared to mandatory ones. Vulnerable populations (new immigrants, Aboriginals, low-income, single parents) and those with the highest income tend to have the lowest response rates. As a result, data about their demographics is poorly represented in voluntary surveys. This lack of robust information leads to skewed data sets, poor decision-making, and costly government policy mistakes.
The mandatory long-form census needs to be reinstated now so that the detailed demographic data required to make smart policy decisions about Canadians' needs can be collected accurately and reliably.
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