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Survey of health unit use in Muskoka

Introduction: During the week of Feb. 23 to Feb. 27, Statistics Canada staff will be connecting with 2,000 households to conduct a survey. Here are some answers to questions you may have.

What is this survey about? / Why is this survey needed?

The health unit has a long-term plan for reviewing and improving all its services and the offices that provide them. This particular survey focuses on Muskoka’s public health services, which are offered out of offices in Huntsville and Gravenhurst. We want to ensure that service is available to people regardless of their education, income, language, distance from our offices, or physical abilities.

What’s in it for me?

We want to be sure you get the public health programs you need easily, quickly, and reliably.

How will it work?

Statistics Canada’s team will select names at random from a list of households, phone numbers and postal codes. Those households chosen will get a letter from Statistics Canada asking them to participate in a telephone survey about their awareness, use and access to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s programs and services in Muskoka. Answers are collected over the telephone using an electronic questionnaire located on a secure Statistics Canada server. Your name will not be connected to your answers. Neither will any other personal information. Statistics Canada will provide a summary to the health unit. The actual responses from each person will not be shared with the health unit.

How did they get my phone number? 

See above. Statistics Canada’s team has a list of the households, phone numbers and postal codes in Muskoka – information that’s publicly available. They selected names randomly from that list.  

Who is interviewing me?

The people doing the calling will identify themselves as employees of Statistics Canada. 

If you receive a call and you want to verify that this is a legitimate survey, contact Your Health Connection, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit at 721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

NOTE: Because the long-form census has been in the news lately, and the health unit has advocated for its return, some members of the public may confuse the census with this study. This survey is not a part of Statistics Canada’s national census, conducted every five years.

How can I be sure you aren’t misusing my information?

A cover letter sent to households for the survey will outline the following:

  • Statistics Canada is conducting the survey on behalf of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
  • Statistics Canada will be contacting 2,000 households.
  • It is voluntary. People can decline to participate, or they can decline to answer any questions they don’t want to answer.
  • All information collected by Statistics Canada employees will remain strictly confidential, as mandated by the Statistics Act.
The information is strictly to help the health unit study how its services get to the people of Muskoka, and for no other purpose.

Who has access to this information?

All the data collected will be saved only in secure, encrypted storage at Statistics Canada. 

After the survey information is collected and analyzed at Statistics Canada, the results will be reported to the health unit. The results are for the internal use of the health unit. In no way will the completed results identify any person.

How are you using the information?

Health unit staff will use the results to plan ways to deal with any issues the survey pinpoints. Comparisons will be done by age, sex, income, geography and presence of children. Statistics Canada has found in the past that households with children tend to have different knowledge and usage rates of local health units.

The survey is just one part of more work being done by a team at the health unit to study the public health needs of Muskoka.

What’s in the survey?

The questions were created with input from health unit staff, and refined by Statistics Canada’s survey experts to produce the most reliable results. Without going into the long list of questions, they are looking at people’s awareness of the services we offer; to determine what services they get and how often; and to learn if there are any specific barriers, such as distance or language, that prevent people from receiving our services.

How long will it take me to answer all of the questions?

It will take about 15 minutes to do the survey. If an interviewer calls and you don't have the time, an appointment can be made for a day and time that suits you.

What if I don't feel comfortable answering a question?

If you don't wish to answer a question, let the interviewer know and they will go on to the next question. You may refuse to answer any questions.

Can I see the results of the survey? 

The outcome and conclusions will be reported to the Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health. The board of health report will be a public document, but the detailed data are the property of the Statistics Canada and were not collected for public use.

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