Keep long-form census, scrap threat of jail: National Statistics Council -

Keep long-form census, scrap threat of jail: National Statistics Council

Panel says scrapping long-form census would leave “serious gap” in knowledge


The independent body that advises Statistics Canada has suggested a compromise to end the war between the Conservatives and statisticians over plans to scrap the mandatory long-form census. The National Statistics Council, made of 40 prominent analysts and researchers, released a statement Monday saying that plans to switch to the voluntary National Household Survey in 2011 would leave a “serious gap” in knowledge about Canadian society. They want 20% of households to receive the long-form in 2011 with a
guarantee that privacy concerns be addressed in time for the next census in 2016. The council agrees with the government that Canadians “should not be overburdened by intrusive demands for unnecessary information” and says confidentiality concerns could be dealt with through changes to the Statistics Act. The Council recommends removing the threat of jail time for those who refuse to participate in the long-form census, while introducing prison terms for those who willfully breach the confidentiality of census information.

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Keep long-form census, scrap threat of jail: National Statistics Council

  1. Liberal COmmittee member:
    Mr. Clements thank for being here today, for as you know Canadians and countless of respected Canadian institutions are outraged about you're scrapping the Long Form Census. Where did your research and data support your decision?

    Clement: Pardon me?

    Liberal MP: How did you arrive to the conclusion that the Long Form Census was not longer viable?

    Clement: Oh, ah, yeah, well, yeah, ah, my boss told me.

    Liberal MP: You mean the Prime Minister?

    Clement: Ah, yeah, well, right, yes, you know the guy in the PMO.

    Liberal MP: You mean Prime Minister Harper?


    Conservative MP Committee member: Minister Clement, thank you for being the brave and heroic man that you are and that you must face this, this Liberal Inquisition especially after your harrowing heroic bit to save a woman from drowning.

    Clement: Yeah, well, you can say that, there were others.

    Conservative MP: You, as most Canadians believe the Long Form Census is intrusive and threatens Canadians with imprisonment in East Russia at hard labour…is this why you feel it should be abolished.

    Clement: Ah come, you guys know?

    Conservative MP: KNow what?

    Clement: Steven told me. Okay!! Steve told me nobody would give a rat's a$$ because people in this country are dumber than door nails…and Steve believes we can get the crackpot vote…

    Conservative MP: Mr. Chair, I don't know this man, I think he's an impostor and may we have security.

  2. Amazing that not once have I heard from the Canadian media the fact that the US did the exactly the same thing this year — they got rid of the long-form census!
    In every decennial census since 1940, two questionnaires have been used to collect information: a "short form" with only basic questions such as age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin; and a "long form" with the basic short-form questions plus about 50 additional questions on socioeconomic and housing characteristics. Only a subset of households received the long-form questionnaire—about one in every six in 2000. However, for the first time since 1940, the 2010 Census will be a short-form-only census. This is because the decennial long form has been replaced by the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is a nationwide, continuous survey designed to provide reliable and timely demographic, housing, social, and economic data every year. The ACS will replace the long form in 2010 and thereafter by collecting long-form-type information throughout the decade rather than only once every 10 years.

    • The ACS sounds like it's structured a lot like the Labour Force Survey here in Canada, that determines, among other things, the unemployment rate. That, too, is mandatory if you happen to get the call.

  3. I guess they are assuming that if the long form census is voluntary most people will not want to do it. So basically threats of jail and fines have done the trick in getting people to fill it out. Essentially Sadistics Canada believes that people are giving out personal information to the government involuntarily.

  4. Hard data obtained from the anonymous census long form clearly helps in setting public policy and planning. This hard data provides the public with vital information that helps them make the case for many government-financed initiatives. Do some initiatives go against the Harper conservatives vision of what the public should be entitled to? In the absence of hard census data, the conservatives can remove well-supported arguments and implement their view of what public policy and planning should be. No wonder they have dug in their heals on this issue, and keep spouting off their silly talking points that the government will put you in jail if you fail to fill-in the anonymous census long form.