Health unit welcomes return of census
By Chad Ingram
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is welcoming last week’s announcement that the federal government will reinstate the mandatory long-form census.
A day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn into office on Nov. 3, it was announced that the census, which was scrapped by the Harper government in 2011, would return in 2016.
“We’re really pleased this new government recognizes the importance of having accurate and responsive data,” said Ann Marie Holt, director of communicable disease control, epidemiology and evaluation, adding local agencies such as the health unit use the detailed, statistical information from the census for their community planning.
In January of this year, the health unit board sent a letter to municipal, provincial and federal leaders, supporting Bill C-626, which was a private member’s bill calling for the reinstatement of the long-form census.
Information on immigration, languages, income and employment allows the health unit to understand the demographics it is working with and how those demographics change over time.
“That’s going to facilitate us to meet our mandate,” Holt said.
Holt said the information provided by the voluntary national household survey, which the Harper government replaced the census with, was inadequate, largely because of the voluntary nature of the survey itself.
As Holt pointed out, the most marginalized groups are the ones least likely to volunteer to fill out a survey in the first place.