Statistics Canada delays final release of National Household Survey to Sept. 11

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada has postponed the third and final release of data from the 2011 National Household Survey, the controversial replacement for the cancelled long-form census.

The release — originally scheduled for Wednesday — will instead take place Sept. 11, said Statistics Canada census chief Marc Hamel.

“We always perform quality checks up until the last minute on all of our data outputs, and in the course of doing these normal procedures over the weekend, we noticed some issues in some of the data we were looking at,” Hamel said.

“We have a couple of formulas that were not correctly applied, and it’s impacting a number of the results. So we will need to re-run the tables that we had planned for the release.”

None of the previously released National Household Survey data is affected, the agency said.

The final release from the survey includes details about income levels, earnings, housing and shelter costs across Canada.

The voluntary national survey was introduced after the Conservative government cancelled the long-form portion of the census in 2010, citing concerns about personal freedoms.

Critics have complained that a voluntary survey can’t produce data that’s as accurate or as representative of Canada as a mandatory one, but Hamel insisted the latest problem has nothing to do with how the information was gathered.

“As we were doing the final reviews of our outputs, it was noticed by our subject-matter experts, and we went back to the source and found that some formulas had been incorrectly applied,” he said.

“We have to re-do some of the work that we had done. It does happen in our processing.”