Chapter 4 Citizenship and immigration
Compared with previous rounds of consultations (see Appendix 1), very few comments (23) on citizenship and immigration were generated for 2011. Federal departments and agencies were the most likely to contribute input on this topic (see “Summary table”).
Generation status • A small number of participants wanted the census to ask about the birthplace of grandparents to capture third-generation Canadians, useful for measuring long-term integration. As well, it was thought that removing the age restriction (the current question on birthplace of parents is limited to the population aged 15 and older) would allow for more complete and detailed research on generational status in Canada and a better understanding of second generation youth.
It was proposed that the question regarding the birthplace of parents could be eliminated if its only purpose is to shed light on ethnicity and ancestry. It was also mentioned that adopted children of same-sex couples are not captured since the question specifically asks for the birthplace of the ‘father' and the ‘mother'.
Immigrant class • A few data users requested the introduction of content to determine immigrant class or entrance category, such as live-in caregiver, government-assisted refugee and entrepreneur class. The resulting information would be beneficial for income analysis in relation to the process by which immigrants entered the country.
Year of arrival • Adding a question on the year of arrival would allow researchers to ascertain the length of residence in Canada of migrants and of non-permanent residents prior to obtaining permanent residence status. This is considered a key variable in understanding integration.
Multiple citizenships • Among the comments submitted on this topic, it was recommended more attention be given to the citizenship question by asking about dual citizenship and encouraging respondents to list other countries, when applicable. Providing more space would make it easier for respondents to specify multiple countries of citizenship. Nevertheless, it was observed that reluctance by the respondent to state more than one citizenship may be due to a misperception that their information is being shared among government departments.
Other comments on citizenship and immigration include the following:
- ask where the respondent first landed or the province in which they resided at the time they received their citizenship or landed immigrant status in order to study interprovincial migration
- use new immigration terminology and retain the previous wording in brackets (i.e., ‘landed immigrant' (permanent resident))
- provide additional instructions to respondents given the complex nature of the subject.
Citizenship and immigration content • It was felt that the continuation of citizenship and immigration questions on the census is important.
Considering the factors for introducing new questions or modifying existing census content, such as consultation feedback, support to legislation, program and policy needs, data quality, costs, historical comparability, respondent burden, privacy, operational considerations and alternative data sources, the present set of citizenship and immigration questions seems to best address the needs for data in this area. Therefore, no changes are anticipated for 2011.
Citizenship and immigration content on the census is used for evaluating and monitoring federal legislation, policies and programs including:
- Citizenship Act
- Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
- Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada
Source: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 92-379-XIE, 2001 Census Handbook.
Questions 9 to 12 and 25 on the 2006 Census questionnaire (see Appendix 3) relate to immigration and citizenship.
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