CANADA—This week Manitoulin residents can expect to receive the 2016 census hand delivered to their homes, with one in four households receiving the returned long-form census.
Throughout Canada on Monday, Statistics Canada began mailing out access codes so Canadians can complete the census online, while in rural areas such as Manitoulin, both the short and long-form census is being handed out.
“We are trying to make it as easy as possible, so in areas like Manitoulin each household will receive a copy of the long or short 2016 census, as well as the access code if they would like to compete it online,” Gary Dillon, director of Statistics Canada Central Region, told The Expositor on Monday.
Mr. Dillon said that Islanders can expect their census between May 2 and 9.
The short-form census contains 10 basic demographic questions such as age, sex, languages and martial status, while the long-form contains 40 questions including place of birth of parents, citizenship, education, aboriginal status, labour and how you get to work. There is also a 92 year question—asking the participant if they are willing to share the information in 92 years for people who will be studying their ancestors in the future.
Some differences in the long-form census from the voluntary 2011 census include not asking income related questions. Mr. Dillon explained that Statistics Canada will be gathering this information from the Canada Revenue Agency.
“There will also be no religion questions because we only ask that every 10 years,” said Mr. Dillon.
Because of the large gap between the 2011 and 2016 censuses, Mr. Dillon said that they are hoping for a good response rate and will use the data from both the 2011 and this year to ‘fill in the gap.’
“We have had a really good response rate in the past, with 98 percent filling out the short form and over 95 percent on the long-form,” Mr. Dillon shared.
The Canadian census is mandatory and failure to fill it out can lead to fines up to $500 and/or jail time up to three months, though Mr. Dillon said the second penalty has never been used to his knowledge.
“We know Canadians are willing to fill out the census based on our past response rates, but there are provisions in place if they do not,” he said. “We refer anyone who doesn’t fill out the census to the justice department.”
Mr. Dillon said that the information collected is vital to Canadians and is used by communities, the province and government to make decisions such as the distribution of funding.
“The census provides a portrait of our people and the places in which we live,” states the 2016 census. “Census information is important for the community and is vital for planning its public services. The information you provide will help ensure that the 2016 census accurately reflects Canada’s changing society. Your responses will ensure that your community has the information it needs for planning services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, and skills training for employment.”
Mr. Dillon said that it is best to fill out the census as soon as you receive it and that census takers will be following up with letters and home visits mid-May. “We plan to be out of the field by July,” said Mr. Dillon.