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NAME OF MP
House of Commons
7 July, 2010
Dear NAME OF MP:
I am writing to express concern about the cancellation of the 2011 long-form Census. I am extremely concerned about this decision, both because of the impact it will have on the research/policy-making community, but also because of the complete lack of consultation on this issue.
The mandatory short and long-form Census has always been a powerful research and policy-making tool. As a Data Librarian at NAME OF INSTITUTION for the past XX years, I am very aware of the strong and varied demand for Census data. The general public, academic researchers, governments, and the private sector all need solid, representative data, on which to base a myriad of decisions. Data collected using a voluntary survey (National Household Survey) will fall far short of the mandatory Census in meeting the needs of Canadians.
Losing the long-form Census will negatively affect the growth and development of Canadian communities, businesses, and government policy. Census data is an essential tool for evaluating and planning the provision of social services, transportation, infrastructure, and economic development across the country. A voluntary survey, with inherent selection bias and inevitable data gaps, will affect the validity and accessibility of data, which has serious implications for shaping the future of Canada. Implications include the loss of key data for small geographic areas, and the risk that marginalized communities would be under-represented, among many others.
If consultation on this issue had taken place, I’m certain the response would have been strongly in favour of retaining the long-form Census. It is entirely unacceptable that this kind of game-changing decision be made without stakeholder consultation. Statistics Canada, and by extension the government of Canada, have enjoyed a stellar reputation for data quality and privacy protection; the Statistics Act speaks very clearly on the latter issue. By cancelling the long-form Census, we lose essential research data and risk sullying our reputation on the world research stage.
I strongly urge you and your colleagues in the House of Commons, to persuade the Conservative government to reverse its decision to eliminate the mandatory long-form questionnaire in the 2011 Census.
Minister Tony Clement
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5