The next Census of Population will be held on May 10, 2011. From census to census, users have expressed a strong desire to maintain stability and continuity in the content, such that major trends can be measured over time. At the same time, Statistics Canada recognizes that changes to the census are necessary to keep it relevant.
User consultation is a key element of the content determination process. Engaging with users is important to the development of the census questionnaires and permits Statistics Canada to
- better understand and respond to social and economic priorities
- gauge reaction to proposed content changes
- bring about creative solutions inspired by data users and experts.
Some ideas contributed during the 2011 Census content consultation will be tested leading up to the 2011 Census. Others will be examined by experts in socioeconomic survey areas. As Statistics Canada looks ahead, the input received during consultation will also help lay the groundwork for censuses in 2016 and 2021.
Consultation for the 2011 Census began in the spring of 2007. Three primary strategies were used during the consultation process to obtain feedback from data users and stakeholders for the 2011 Census questionnaires. In-person consultations, communications campaigns (i.e., e-mail broadcasts) and the Internet yielded over 1,200 content-related comments. More than 150 organizations and private citizens conveyed ideas and suggestions for the 2011 Census.
From April to November 2007, Statistics Canada met with over 360 people during more than 50 in-person consultations. The majority of the participants were data users. Meetings were held with federal, provincial and territorial governments, municipalities and regions, non-profit organizations, community groups, academia, private industry (which includes licensed distributors and the media), advisory committees and the general public. Sessions were also organized with Statistics Canada subject matter divisions, regional offices and working groups (see “Summary table”; Appendix 1 for “Historical tables”). While the comments and suggestions expressed during these consultations were recorded, participants were encouraged to provide written submissions prior to the November 30, 2007 deadline.
2011 Census Content Consultation Guide1
A 2011 Census Content Consultation Guide was released in July 2007. It communicated the 2011 Census context, key milestones and proposed content directions. To help participants prepare their written submissions, seven questions were included under a ”Discussion points” heading. (These discussion points also helped frame the exchange during in-person meetings.) E-mail campaigns served to announce the availability of the consultation guide and invite written submissions from almost 900 census data users from various sectors.
The 2011 Census consultation web pages facilitated the distribution of the 2011 Census Content Consultation Guide and informed the general public about the consultation process. More than half of the comments on the 2011 Census content were submitted through the Internet.
- The 2011 Census Content Consultation Guide presented several proposed changes and included questions to assist participants with their submissions. Consequently, the topics touched upon in the guide received more comments than others.
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