Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
Greater Fredericton Social Innovation is actively involved in our Fredericton community developing initiatives and enhancing programs through facilitating linkages among public, private and not for profit organizations. Our membership reaches all sectors of our community and we are deeply opposed to your government’s intention to make the completion of the Census ‘long-form’ voluntary.
The information available to Canadians that is generated by Census Canada through the data systematically collected through the ‘long form’ has contributed to a data base that is one of the best in the world. Many social agencies, businesses, academics, and community organizations take advantage of this reliable, valid and solid research from Stats Canada to plan effective programs and services. If the proposed change goes through, there will be a loss of valuable knowledge and insight that is essential to developing programs and services that are based on research rather than ideology – solid research is an essential element of effective intervention.
The assumption that voluntary completion will provide similar information is false, and the expectation that volume will replace the rigor of probability is scientifically unsound. A reliance on the whim of voluntary completion automatically biases any data as the methodology automatically distorts findings The groups that will be primarily disadvantaged are the marginalized – such as folks who are poor, less educated or new to Canada – those least likely to complete the voluntary survey.
We request the Harper government to rescind its ill-advised plan regarding the ‘long- form’ and allow Stats Canada to continue its scientific data-gathering methods which benefit all Canadians.
Sincerely, John Coates, Acting President of Greater Fredericton Social Innovation