Reinstate Our Census Long Form aka Questionnaire 2B

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Submitted by CCSD 2010–07–06 22:52:21 EDT

Theme: Canada's Digital Content
Idea Status: –+389 | Total Votes: 413 | Comments: 50

A digital strategy in a knowledge based economy requires objective and trustworthy census data. Mr. Clement, as the Minister responsible for Statistics Canada, we ask that you revisit your decision and reinstate the long form Census questionnaire and continue to make filling it out mandatory.

Cities, rural communities, community groups, businesses, provincial and territorial governments, researchers and citizens need the information provided by the long form to ensure targeted, efficient and effective service policy and business planning. It also helps assess the performance of our federal programs.

Our long form census is used for social (e.g. immigration, citizenship, multiculturalism) and health services (e.g. social determinants of health), the roll out and planning of infrastructure such as transportation (e.g. commuting to work), urban and development planning, as well it is used for businesss intelligence purposes.

It is precisely because of its mandatory nature that sufficient sampling is available to allow for community–level analysis. Because it has been conducted for the past seven censuses, it has become widely used and a valuable resource while also providing us with a reliable longitudinal picture of who we are as a people.

The Census is a collective civic moment where Canadians share individual information for the benefit of our great nation. It is the only tool we have that tells us who we are at not only national, provincial, and city scales, but also the rural county and neighborhood level. We as Canadians have trusted Statistics Canada for 35 years to keep our information available but also private, safe and unbiased and we maintain that trust. Statistics Canada is an internationally renowned agency because of its independence from the political realm.

The long form Census questionnaire is a great institution built with expertise and great care. Please bring it back and make filling it out mandatory for the benefit of the majority of Canadians.

Comments — More on the Census Cuts — 2010–07–07 08:32:41 EDT wrote

[…] Vote on the Digital Strategy Submission: Reinstate the Census Long Form […]

mcleodn — 2010–07–07 11:40:51 EDT wrote

The alternative to a compulsory long form is a voluntary form that is subject to manipulation by interest groups seeking to enhance their agenda by organized campaigns. For those typically under–represented in civic networks of influence, without the resources to promote participation, the likelihood is high that they will be under–reported in a voluntary form.

wwmunroe — 2010–07–07 15:10:04 EDT wrote

Our understanding of Canada and Canadians has improved with the long form (20% sample). Loosing the long form would be like loosing our sight. The information from the 20% sample helps improve our decisions by lowering costs and time while improving quality.

bdubs — 2010–07–08 01:09:01 EDT wrote

This is part of what makes us Canadian — knowledge, understanding empathy, informed decision making and fairness — they're all a product of a sophisticated census.

"The long form Census questionnaire is a great institution built with expertise and great care. Please bring it back and make filling it out mandatory for the benefit of the majority of Canadians."

noronha — 2010–07–08 02:51:47 EDT wrote

Long form data are valuable to market research (e.g. where should the next Loblaws be), public facility planning (e.g. where should the next freeway be), and efficiency of private and public sector operations. Compromising the objectivity of the data as proposed would be an administrative blunder of incalculable proportions.

Joshua Ramisch — 2010–07–08 08:52:08 EDT wrote

The value of the national census is that it is comprehensive and mandatory for the entire population. the validity of independent or private, small–scale surveys rests on the existence of national level census data and will be undermined in coming years if we lose the long form. I would also note that government's own planning processes require the data provided by the census (e.g. HRSDC, Health Canada, CIC, INAC, etc., not to mention provincial and municipal levels of government). If this is the right forum and it is not too late to reconsider this decision I (as a professor within the Canadian policy research community) would add my voice to say "keep 2B".

johnclarke — 2010–07–08 10:37:36 EDT wrote

Having a complete "in depth" census is vital to understanding the economic,social and cultural needs of the country. It provides the basis of planning — something that was most obvious to the political economists of 150 years ago and which one would think would be obvious to a government supposedly concerned with "business". There are mechanisms available to ensure confidentiality without losing vital information essential to our collective as opposed to individualistic needs. This looks like political posturing rather than intelligent use of a social planning vehicle.

John Clarke, Distinguished Research professor, Carleton University

iwallace — 2010–07–08 14:16:15 EDT wrote

Much is being made in some quarters of the "coerciveness" of a set of mandatory census questions. This needs to be countered with a clear public statement of what the responsibilities of citizenship in a digital age reasonably involve. Given the importance to all Canadians of maximizing the productivity of our human resources to sustain our standard of living in a world economy that is being transformed by emerging economies, the periodic detailed snapshot of how we are faring is a necessary and fully justified responsibility of our government. I need not repeat the multiple ways in which the long form data are used daily in the public and private sectors, and in academia, to advance the national knowledge and productivity agendas. To destroy the capacity for spatially disaggregated time–series analysis is to shoot us all in the foot. This proposal is not in the interestst of Canadians, and I find it incredible that the federal government should propose such a weakening of our capacity to respond productively to changing social and economic conditions. Time for wise second thoughts before it is too late.

moonj — 2010–07–08 15:41:02 EDT wrote

A voluntary survey, by its very nature, introduces serious sampling bias and risks compromising geographic detail in the resulting data (i.e. statistics won't be available to the same fine levels of geography as the mandatory long–form Census affords us). Minority groups may be under–represented because of a disinclination to participate in the survey. In a recent news article, Minister Tony Clement (responsible for Statistics Canada) comments on this decision:

'Clement stands by his decision on census'

Minister Clement's comments notwithstanding, I hope there is still an opportunity to change this decision. There has been a long history of close consultation with the research community regarding the Census. Minister Clement's comment that "I don't accept the fact that every time you make a change on every matter of government business, you have to shout it from every rooftop" bothers me particularly. We didn't even hear 'whispers in the alleyway' on this one.

Digital Strategy Consultation « Tracey P. Lauriault » — 2010–07–08 16:26:48 EDT wrote

[…] I co–authored this submission in collaboration with the Canadian Social Data Strategy: Reinstate the Census Long Form […]

allisonashcroft — 2010–07–08 17:57:13 EDT wrote

For local governments, this long census form data is what tells us the (commuter) transportation mode share splits and purpose of trips, the housing stock composition & year built, the housing tenure, Income by family status, level of education attained, language and immigration details, work details (part/full–time/seasonal).This information is utilized to inform land use and transportation analyses and long term city planning goals and strategies as well as the prioritization of infrastructure projects. Climate change indicators also rely heavily on this data for strategizing reduction strategies for emissions from buildings, transportation and waste. The census long form enables comparisons across communities (which for the region and province is invaluable), and across neighbourhoods.

Murdoch — 2010–07–08 18:08:58 EDT wrote

This is a betrayal of the citizens of Canada who participate in the Census as a way of saying they want to be counted, who they are and what is their life situation as a citizen. Australia even has a mandatory requirement to vote in elections, so what is the problem (save for a few ideologues) in being required to provide non–identifiable data that is then used by governments at all levels, businesses and increasingly local neighbourhoods for polciy promotion reasons. That's democracy at work, based on evidence–based information. Minister Clement, rescind your ill–found decision now.

rpowers — 2010–07–08 18:10:22 EDT wrote

The long form is key to service planning for income based programs like child care subsidy and recreation service subsidy. A voluntary survey will not be satisfactory to accurately estimate low income households by area.

confessedemu — 2010–07–08 18:27:10 EDT wrote

For decisions to be made at the local level decision makers need reliable information. For a representative sample to be representative it must not exclude vulnerable populations. Those least likely to fill out an optional census are recent immigrants, the economically disadvantaged, and the elderly, particularly if it is an online census.

Furthermore, a study is only as good as its methodology. Changing the methodology makes this information unreliable for local decision making. If we want efficiencies in government we need to empower decision makers with readily available, easily accessible, and trustworthy data to analyze and make decisions from.

Data Integrity — 2010–07–08 21:02:59 EDT wrote

The Census Long Questionnaire provides detailed population profile data that are critical for understanding health and human service issues, and for creating policies, programs and services that address community needs. The Census Long Form is crucial for comparability and historical trending. Its success is due to its sample size at the population level, and rigour. A voluntary survey will result in skewed data. Reinstate the Census Long Form for data integrity.

tpeb — 2010–07–08 21:50:24 EDT wrote

In this Information Age the loss of the long form is a regressive step — please reverse the decision Minister Clement.

landolt — 2010–07–09 07:21:24 EDT wrote

The loss of the long form will erode any accurate sense of a Canadian collectivity; weaken the ability of government at all levels to develop policy; and deny non–government organizations and academics the possibility of conducting research and needs assessments.

roupen — 2010–07–09 08:52:37 EDT wrote

Au delà de l'utilité académique, il est essentiel de maintenir le questionnaire long du recensement du Canada, parce qu'il est un outil irremplaçable pour les décideurs politiques et économiques, tant au niveau fédéral que provincial, régional et municipal.

Jean Cermakian
Professeur associé (géographie)
Université du Québec à Trois–Rivières

RS–EPforYouth — 2010–07–09 09:35:03 EDT wrote

When I bake a cake, I need to know the flour is flour, the eggs are eggs, the sugar is sugar. Without valid, consistent and rigorous inputs, the ability to predict is lost to chance and chaos … thus not much of a result for dessert.

kosnyagn — 2010–07–09 10:28:05 EDT wrote

Please continue to make the completion of this form mandatory. It provides vital information about Canadian society.

LeeJacobs — 2010–07–09 10:29:53 EDT wrote

From ICTC's perspective the Census long form provides us with critical labour market information that is necessary to carry out long–term human resource planning. It is, in our opinion, paramount to save the long form. This position is clearly backed up by the Forum for Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) report entitled "Working Together to Build a Better Labour Market Information System for Canada: Final Report May 20, 2009; Advisory Panel on Labour Market Information" which concludes that we need more data, not less to do effective HR planning for all sectors of the Canadian economy.

Lee Jacobs
Program Director, Labour Market Intelligence
Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) — 2010–07–09 10:31:35 EDT wrote

The long census provides data critical to understanding Canadian society and to adapting policies and practices. Reinstate it.

jmars — 2010–07–09 10:35:03 EDT wrote

Here is the Catch–22 that cancellation of the long form census creates:

Without the data on incomes, poverty, travel to work, immigration, education, and occupation provided by a mandatory census sample, Statistics Canada CANNOT CHECK THE REPRESENTATIVENESS OF ITS OWN SUBSTITUTE, THE 30% VOLUNTARY SAMPLE. All other researchers CANNOT CHECK THE NATURE OF NON–RESPONSE IN THEIR SURVEYS NOR CORRECT FOR IT. So the lack of one benchmark makes good surveys unlikely and poor surveys the norm, EVEN AT STATS CAN!

jfrench — 2010–07–09 12:41:03 EDT wrote

I live in Stouffville, a community that has grown from 22,000 to 35,000 in 4 years.This growth has changed the face of the community and put great strains on planning for recreational servces, education and social services. In my job, in education, employment and newcomer services, I am constantly using Statscan to project patterns and to design programs. I cannot understand how good decisions can be made with less data. As Canadians we have rights, but also responsiblities to contribute to a propsperous future by providng helpful demograhpic data. Our Canadian motto "peace, order and good government" will be compromised, even crippled by some strange ideological interpretation of privacy. This contradicts our own gov't programs that always require data and back–up statistics to continue funding. This is a contradiction of federal government approach.Please change this! I am really worried about the long term impact of such a short sighted decision.

mgoldberg — 2010–07–09 14:51:56 EDT wrote

If we do not have the data to name problems/issues, how will we ever be able to solve them?

The Progressive Economics Forum » Rolling Thunder Census Review — 2010–07–09 16:15:10 EDT wrote

[…] stomach what is happening either, sign this petition , make a comment on this digital government consultation, and call you […]

hswirsky — 2010–07–10 14:36:01 EDT wrote

StatsCan data is vital to provide the blueprint for realistic strategic future planning. Data that is critical to so many organizations in projecting what impending needs will be is obtained from the long form Census. Let's restore this simple, proven, important method of data collection.

The Progressive Economics Forum » Stephen Harper's New BFF — 2010–07–10 18:06:15 EDT wrote

[…] I was typing this I received a message that Canada's digital economy consultation has removed entries related to the Census from its front page, which notes what the hottest three topics are. Reinstating the Census was/is […]

wbell — 2010–07–11 10:54:41 EDT wrote

Although I respect the concerns of those who voice their mistrust of government I do not see how it would be possible to make effective decisions without obtaining good data. The LFC must continue to be used.

And, incidentally, it really should be administered entirely by Canadians. Why educate people here to a high standard to work in fast food restaurants?

TraceyLauriault — 2010–07–12 00:52:47 EDT wrote

Why is this not the top 3? As of tonight at 12:49Am, Monday 12 of July, the home page top 3 contains the following:

  1. To Compete You Must Compute (324 votes)
  2. Open Access to Canada's Public Sector Information and Data (295 Votes)
  3. Improved access to publicly–funded data (168 Votes)

Yet, Reinstate our Census Long Form aka Questionnaire 2B has 304 Votes making it #2 and on the Front page! Why is this not on the front page?

I have screen captures!

How the Census is Used in Canadian Elections « Pundits' Guide to Canadian Federal Elections — 2010–07–12 03:52:21 EDT wrote

[…] Government's Digital Economy Consultation topic on saving the mandatory Long Form census questionnaire (you can vote up or down). At +305 it was […] — Conspiracy about the Census & the Consultation? — 2010–07–12 09:16:38 EDT wrote

[…] Reinstate our Census Long Form aka Questionnaire 2B, at 310 votes, can only be seen at this link, but should be the #1 ranked submission on […]

TraceyLauriault — 2010–07–12 14:04:32 EDT wrote

How to report this problem?

Good afternoon;

I would like to alert you to a problem with the with the Digital Economy Online Consultation website.

This submission "Reinstate our Census Long Form aka Questionnaire 2B" which currently has 332 votes has been removed from the consultation top 3 submissions here Digital Economy Website and does not appear as the number one submission page where it was originally submitted.

Can you please fix this and explain what the problem is with this submission? How and why it disappeared and how you will rectify this problem and when?

Tracey P. Lauriault
Telephone: 613–234–2805
Website: Datalibre

ad16 — 2010–07–12 16:10:13 EDT wrote

The Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA) has responded to this disturbing decision by Statistics Canada with an open letter to Minister Clement.

You can read it online here: ACMLA Letter to Tony Clement concerning the 2011 decision to cancel the mandatory Long–Form Questionnaire

BCseawalker — 2010–07–12 18:22:37 EDT wrote

In this modern era of Google technology, one cannot MOVE a page and yet not have it found.

To the Harper Government: The Canadian people and organizations are speaking out against your secretive, draconian act to make toothless the Canada census.

And in case you haven't got the message yet… NO, we will NOT shut the *#@% up!

Dernière journée pour les consultations sur l'économie numérique « — 2010–07–13 04:57:59 EDT wrote

[…] de plus que la proposition #2 au palmarès, se trouve exclue du palmarès. La proposition concerne le retour à l'ancienne méthode statistique pour la gestion du recensement national. Selon le Gouvernement, cette proposition concerne une décision gouvernementale et non […]

ron — 2010–07–13 07:26:26 EDT wrote

I'm adding my voice to the thousands who are imploring the Minister to reconsider the census decision. One of the foundations for a digital economy is data and information. This decision is short–sighted and not one we would expect from the guy who is supposed to foster and move forward on a digital economy.

Banish the bone–head who came up with the idea and restore the mandatory long form census! — Census hide & seek, Language watch dogs — 2010–07–13 09:50:35 EDT wrote

[…] provide him with advice on what not to do? Well, on his own public consultation, he removes the #2 most popular submission and relegates it to outcast status as his Media Relations personnel claims that: changes to the […]

Barry Davis — 2010–07–13 11:33:33 EDT wrote

Please reinstate the mandatory long form. To abandon (relatively) reliable data in an age of surging chaos is wrong for government, for business and for survival. Wilful ignorance is no basis for public policy or private business intelligence, and wilful blindness is not a desirable quality for leadership.

Canada's statistical agency has been a model for the world, and an important link in international capacity building to support democracy and make shifts away from less–than–democracies.

Census–taking is as old as government, and its intrusiveness is a two–way street: it is much harder for government to get away with poor planning and bad decisions if the populace knows that better data was available to decision–makers.

We want to consult, until you say something we don't like | — 2010–07–13 12:02:39 EDT wrote

[…] about the Long Form Census, the government simply removed the discussion from the site. If you know the specific URL you can still get to it, but there is no link to the discussion from anywhere else on the […]

Twitted by infil00p — 2010–07–13 15:20:59 EDT wrote

[…] This post was Twitted by infil00p […]

djmalone — 2010–07–13 16:26:24 EDT wrote

Detailed and reliable census data is vital for high quality academic research in the social sciences. The proposed changes are ludicrous as they would result in detailed census data that is not statistically representative of the population rendering it essentially useless.

jstewart — 2010–07–13 17:51:05 EDT wrote

Why are the changes to the long form census considered "off topic" with respect to the digital economy? Data is to the next century what natural resources were to the last one. A digital economy strategy should be looking at unleashing the power of government data to build businesses, make better decisions, and improve lives. We should be enhancing and safeguarding Canada's unique data assets, not undermining them. Reliable long form data supports a myriad of social and economic goals, and should be considered part of the digital economy's bottom line.

The Real Ronald — 2010–07–13 18:05:13 EDT wrote

I'm adding my voice to the thousands who are imploring the Minister to reconsider the census decision. One of the foundations for a digital economy is data and information. This decision is short–sighted and not one we would expect from the guy who is supposed to foster and move forward on a digital economy.

Banish the bone–head who came up with the idea and restore the mandatory long form census!

R — 2010–07–13 18:18:34 EDT wrote

Digital Copyright Canada

We want to consult, until you say something we don't like

The Globe and Mail

pdesgagnes — 2010–07–13 19:52:29 EDT wrote

Ce qui est le plus moche peut–être c'est que cette décision affecte non seulement la valeur du prochain recensement et des recensements à venir mais aussi et surtout celle des recensements passés qui, si on ne leur donne pas suite, deviendront de simples objets de curiosité. C'est toute l'histoire de toutes et chacune des communautés canadiennes qui se trouveraient ainsi jetée aux ordures. Ni le pays, ni son histoire n'appartiennent à UN gouvernement, non plus qu'à un seul organisme. Ils n’en sont que les fiduciaires et c'est un réel crime que d'en disposer avec autant d'ignorance et de légèreté. — Consultation (real) Results — 2010–07–14 10:17:25 EDT wrote

[…] wisdom, truth and knowledge. It was also a consultation that was extended right when the Census submission was moving up the ranks, open data was in the lead and out of nowhere comes an HPC submission that […]

Tony Clement, privacy and (in) balanced views | — 2010–07–15 16:02:01 EDT wrote

[…] of those 46 trumped the 6641. Or how about on Tuesday when Industry Canada suddenly pulled the second most popular discussion (about the census long form) from the Digital Economy […]

digEcon scandals « Oh! Canada — 2010–07–17 03:35:24 EDT wrote

[…] idea did really well, one which sought to Reinstate our Census Long Form aka Questionnaire 2B based on the understanding that in a digital world information is vitally important, especially for […] — Census Actions — 2010–08–17 09:04:07 EDT wrote

[…] 7. Vote on the Digital Strategy Submission: Reinstate the Census Long Form […]


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