Bring back the mandatory long-form census

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Harper’s Conservatives cancelled the long-form census –- but now the government is flying blind when making decisions that affect you.

In 2010, then-Minister of Industry Tony Clement announced that the long-form census would be replaced with the voluntary National Household Survey.

Every department at every level of government depends on reliable statistics to make informed decisions on public policy that affects Canadians every day, on everything from schools to hospitals to roads and other public services. Without reliable and up-to-date information on the ways that Canada and Canadians are changing, governments simply don’t have the information they need to make wise decisions on how to spend Canadians’ tax dollars.

Four years after this change, we are already seeing the results: New Brunswick cannot assess the progress of their poverty-reduction plan, and the Auditor General has reported that the latest census data is unreliable for approximately 25% of Canada. Imagine the mismanagement that will occur after ten years without reliable data.

Not only that—but the National Household Survey costs $22 million more than the mandatory long-form census! More money spent for less information and less informed spending decisions by the government.

To build a prosperous and sustainable society, Canada will need much better data from many more sources, but fixing this Conservative mistake will be a great place to start.

The Liberal Party of Canada calls on the Harper government to reinstate the mandatory long-form census, and give Statistics Canada the tools it needs to help make Canada a better place for everyone.