The end of the long-form census

Munir Sheikh reviews the demise of the long-form census, his resignation and the ramifications for Statistics Canada.

As if this were not enough, the government’s decision on the long form census has the potential for a substantial impact in reducing the quality of Statistics Canada data.

Data quality may be affected in a variety of ways. First, it will affect the long form survey data. It is a statistical fact that a voluntary survey cannot become a substitute for a mandatory census because of uneven response rates from different population groups and different size geographic areas. Increasing the sample size cannot offset this problem. Hence, many data users including the federal government will lose the data quality they need. Second, to the extent that the long form census data provide a benchmark for other Statistics Canada surveys, the quality of data from these other surveys would deteriorate.