Voluntary survey "will never be comparable to census data" - Macleans.ca

Voluntary survey “will never be comparable to census data”

Acting StatsCan chief says the controversy over long-form census hasn’t led to “morale problem”


In an internal newsletter to StatsCan employees, acting StatsCan chief Wayne Smith said the data collected from the new voluntary survey that will replace the long-form census “will, of course, never be comparable to census data.” Smith added that, despite the change, “the National Household Survey will produce usable and useful data that can meet the needs of many users.” Smith was appointed to the position in July, after Munir Sheikh resigned shortly after the government announced the changes. Smith maintains that Statistics Canada has not lost credibility despite the census controversy and also reported that he doesn’t see a “morale problem” among the staff.

Vancouver Sun

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Voluntary survey “will never be comparable to census data”

  1. Being part of the Labour Force Survey for the next 6 months, I have learned something about Statistics Canada's methodology. Their initial questions are labour-related; how many hours did you work, were you looking for work etc. Then, they throw in the zinger. This month, the question was about trips over 40 kilometres that you've taken over the past month (i.e. July). They wanted to know how many trips were taken, the purpose of each trip (medical, business, work, social etc), how much was spent on food and beverages, how much was spent at a grocery store, whether or not you used public transit, how much you spent on cultural events, how much you spent on sporting goods or events, whether or not you purchased season's passes, how much you spent on gas for each trip. The questions took about 15 minutes to answer. Since we live in a rural area, any trip that we take to one of the nearest cities is over 40 kilometres one way and we make roughly 10 of those a month. As well, we were asked what our household income was. Certainly, if the government really wants or needs accurate household income data, it has internal sources (i.e. CRA) that can more accurately answer household income questions than Statscan.

    Statscan claims that they have no way to get the data that will now be lost with the changes to the long form. I suggest that they have already found the replacement. Apparently, as part of the Labour Force Survey, Statscan has the right to ask you questions about "other topics of interest". Statscan also touts the accuracy of their statistical data. I would argue that asking me (or anyone else) about trips that were taken over a month ago when I haven't been given a chance to prepare my answer (or record my trips) makes the accuracy of the data collected highly suspect at the very least and probably statistically inaccurate at the worst since you are not granted the option to not answer the question if you don't know the correct answer.


  2. I have an impression that people are so sick and satiated with this issue.

  3. Shame on the Conservating Govt for trying to limit our access to data. They think they can control us… we will show them at the next election!!!

  4. These conservatives make me sick.

  5. Is it a survey, for God's sake?

    No, it is a political issue, Liberals and their bureaucrats want to resist any change to the way we are governed.

    They balk and shriek that the current government has no right to change the system that they adore.

    They want to obstruct the government to make them look ineffective.

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