Several university professors say the federal government is going to have to boost research funding in order to replace data from the long form census, after the survey becomes voluntary in 2011.
Ellen Goddard, who researches rural economies at the University of Alberta told the Canadian Press that academics will be forced to seek grants to fund private alternatives to the census. “We will be forced to try and find bigger research grants somehow and it’s not clear how that’s going to happen,” she said. A spokesperson for the Canadian Association of University Teachers added that “in a sense it is not really saving the federal government a lot of money . . . it’s adding more costs to universities and colleges.” The professors are concerned that the making the long form voluntary threatens its reliability as a research tool.
In a written statement to Canadian Press, Industry Minister Tony Clement’s office neither confirmed nor denied that more funding would be coming. “The government finances researchers and data purchases through granting councils based on the merit of specific research proposals. This remains our policy,” the statement read.