The Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce is pleased with today’s Federal Government’s announcement of the reinstatement of the long form census.

This is certainly good news for the business community,” said Chamber Executive Director David D. Hull. “It is amazing how many sectors of our economy rely on information derived from census data.  Everything from market trends to demographic shifts. The accuracy and array of that information is indispensable.”

The Federal Government dismissed the mandatory long-form census in 2010, replacing it with the voluntary National Household Survey.  The response rate for the 2006 long-form census was 93.5 per cent, compared with 68.6 per cent for the National Household Survey.

Hull is concerned with the comparative reliability between the far more detailed and prescribed long form that has been used for decades and the far less detailed household survey.  “When you change and drastically reduce data sets combined with a 25% drop in participation there is cause for concern as to the depth and accuracy of the data.”

Although most firms don’t use census data directly, many do indirectly, by purchasing data sets, consulting advice, or surveys that themselves were based on the census.

Long‐form data information is used by businesses, provinces, policy analysts, researchers, municipalities, economists, urban planners and scores of others to complete essential work in their respective fields.

“The census has long been used as an accurate benchmark to weight all other surveys in Canada.  The Chamber hopes that the long form will be back in use for the 2016 national census.  The quality of data available is directly correlated to the quality of data able to be produced,” concluded Hull