OTTAWA, July 5, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Changes to the way Canada collects census data will have undesirable effects on the growth and development of Canadian communities. The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) sent a letter to Minister of Industry, Hon. Tony Clement expressing its concern and requesting that the Conservative government reverse its decision to eliminate the long-form questionnaire in the 2011 Census.
Census data is an essential tool for Canada's professional planners in supporting the provision of transportation, infrastructure, social services and economic development across the country. These changes, and the resulting selection bias, will affect the validity and accessibility of data, which has serious implications for shaping sustainable communities in Canada. Planners are concerned that marginalized communities will be under-represented in the voluntary survey, and this will negatively affect decision-making.
In previous years, the long census questionnaire was sent to 20 per cent of Canadian households, and respondents provided valuable information on socioeconomic status, ethno-cultural background, disability, and education levels. This information will be now be gathered by a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS), which will be sent to one in three households.
Professional planners recognize Canadians' desire for privacy and security of their personal information. However, Statistics Canada already makes great efforts to safeguard citizens' information. While it is important that matters of privacy be addressed, discontinuing the Census long form is not the solution.
"Canada's professional planners depend on accurate, timely and consistent data to help build Canadian communities, said Marni Cappe, President of the Canadian Institute of Planners. "Making the collection of this data voluntary undermines good public policy."
About the Canadian Institute of Planners
CIP is the national voice of Canada's planning profession. Since 1919, CIP has been dedicated to the advancement of responsible planning throughout Canada. In its capacity as the national professional institute and certification body for the planning profession, CIP addresses the issues of professional standards and public policy, both domestically and globally, related to planning and planning related issues.