Documents show StatsCan tried to fight decision to kill long-form census

Advisory panel described change as 'devastating'

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request, Statistics Canada’s arm’s length panel of experts resented the government’s unilateral decision to scrap the long-form census. The government-appointed National Statistics Council was kept in the dark about the decision. And though most of its members kept quiet through the controversy, documents obtained by Postmedia News show a flurry of messages urging the agency and government to reconsider or to explain the decision. University of Toronto professor Janet Smylie, for one, said, “We should do whatever we can to indicate that our advisory council is opposed to this change and/or reverse this decision,” adding that the move would have a “devastating” impact on the ability to track aboriginals and other marginalized groups. Then-chief statistician Munir Sheikh was asked in one document whether Statistics Canada had any information on the impact of the decision. “No, we haven’t prepared any material on the impacts,” he replied. Sheikh ultimately resigned in protest.

National Post

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