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Bring back national long-form census for 2016: Board of Health

Jan 28, 2015
Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health members enthusiastically endorsed a letter from the health unit to Prime Minister Stephen Harper supporting the reinstatement of the mandatory long-form census.

Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health members enthusiastically endorsed a letter from the health unit to Prime Minister Stephen Harper supporting the reinstatement of the mandatory long-form census.

In 2011, the federal government eliminated the mandatory long-form census, which formed the foundation of Statistics Canada’s population information on diversity, household income, employment, education and many other characteristics. While the 2006 long-form census had a national response rate of 94%, the voluntary survey that replaced it in 2011 had only a 69% response rate. Locally, response in some areas was below 50%, which the health unit says created unusable data in three municipalities  in Muskoka and two census subdivisions in Simcoe County.

Public health units are required under legislation to assess the health status of populations, but the inadequacy of current information has handcuffed their ability to properly get a picture of their local communities. This is turn creates challenges in planning proper public health programs and services.

“We hope this action will encourage more members of the public to press government to bring back this vital source of information,” Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lisa Simon said.

Board members also noted the critical value of accurate population statistics to municipalities and businesses. They urged that the letter not only be sent to local MPs, public health associations and the leader of the opposition, but to all provincial and federal party leaders and the provincial opposition.

Similar resolutions of support for reinstituting the long-form census have come from the Association of Local Public Health Agencies and the Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario. A Private Member’s Bill to reinstate the mandatory census was introduced by Kingston MP Ted Hsu last September.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place Feb.18/15 at 9:15 a.m.
at 15 Sperling Drive, Barrie, ON.


News releases are stored here dating back to spring 2005. Earlier news releases are maintained in an archive and can be retrieved by calling the health unit during business hours.

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