Canadian Census Compromise and New Chief

Here is a proposal that is on the table by the National Statistics Council of Canada:

The issue of the long form census has to be settled first. The outlines for a compromise solution were contained in a statement, issued yesterday, by the National Statistics Council. I fully endorse their ideas: :

  1. Restore the compulsory long form or make the equivalent National Household Survey compulsory;
  2. Repeal from the Statistics Act any mention of jail as a penalty for not completing the long form or an equivalent compulsory National Household Survey.
  3. For all future censuses introduce a series of explicit tests that would determine whether a proposed census question passes an appropriate balance between critical need for information and privacy.
  4. Instruct Statistics Canada to run tests, in time for recommendations about the 2016 census, concerning the possible impacts of a voluntary long form census.

a separate source is recommending the following regarding the appointment of a New Chief Statistician:

A new Chief Statistician has to be found with impeccable credentials and high credibility. Furthermore, the process should be, and should be seen as being totally transparent.[ It is] suggest[ed] the appointment of a search committee of eminent persons (such as the chair of the National Statistics Council, President of the Statistical Society of Canada, Chief Justice of Canada, President of the Royal Society of Canada, retired clerks of the Privy Council or others of similar credibility and profile). The committee would submit to the government a short list from which the Chief Statistician would be selected. It is utterly essential that in the midst of this crisis the next Chief Statistician be a person who is, and who was selected by a process, that is visibly above partisan fray.


  1. Erika Kujawski’s avatar

    Thank you for your consideration of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Our President recently wrote a letter to Minister Clement on behalf of the Council of the Royal Society of Canada, conveying our concern about the proposed cancellation of the mandatory long-form census for 2011. This letter will be posted on our website at

  2. Rory Rickwood’s avatar

    Hard data obtained from the anonymous census long-form clearly helps in setting public policy and planning. This hard data provides the public with vital information that helps them make the case for many government-financed initiatives. Do some initiatives go against the Harper conservatives vision of what the public should be entitled to? In the absence of hard census data, the conservatives can ignore well-supported arguments and instead implement their view of what public policy and planning should be. No wonder they have dug in their heals on this issue, and keep spouting off their silly talking points that the government will put you in jail if you fail to fill in the unanimous census long-form questionnaire.

  3. Tracey’s avatar

    Added to the list, thank you.

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