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Ottawa, July 13, 2010 — The Minister of Industry, the Honourable Tony Clement, made the following statement:
"The federal census conducted by Statistics Canada collects information from Canadians every five years to provide a demographic picture of our country. The questions necessary to achieve this goal are in the mandatory eight-question short-form version of the census that is sent to all Canadian households.
"In the past, the Government of Canada received complaints about the long-form census from citizens who felt it was an intrusion of their privacy. The government does not think it is necessary for Canadians to provide Statistics Canada with the number of bedrooms in their home, or what time of the day they leave for work, or how long it takes them to get there. The government does not believe it is appropriate to force Canadians to divulge detailed personal information under threat of prosecution.
"For this reason, we have introduced changes for the 2011 Census. The government will retain the mandatory short form that will collect basic demographic information. To meet the need for additional information, and to respect the privacy wishes of Canadians, the government has introduced the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS).
"Statistics Canada will conduct and release this survey, applying the same standards used for its surveys and past censuses. To promote data accuracy, this voluntary survey will be sent to a larger cross-section of households than the old long-form census.
"The census and the NHS will continue to supply data reflective of the attitudes and opinions of Canadians for the use of governments and public policy-makers. The census and NHS will also continue to respect the government's commitment to official languages. For these reasons, the government believes the NHS is a more appropriate survey and will not be revisiting the issue of the old long form.
"We believe the new form that will be used in 2011 will reasonably limit what Canadians felt was an intrusion of their privacy. I strongly encourage Canadians to participate in the new NHS."
For further information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry