Mandatory census deadline passes

StatsCan to send out stern letters soon

If your census questionnaire is still sitting in a pile of papers on the kitchen counter, don’t be surprised to imminently see a Statistics Canada enumerator at your door, reminding you to fill it out.

Last week marked a soft deadline for enumerators to remind as many people as they can, but if you’ve ignored previous reminders, one last one is on the way.

“Those who have not yet completed will get another letter from the chief statistician stipulating the importance and legal obligations of completing the census,” said Peter Liang, census communications manager for B.C.

“The refusal cases will be referred to Public Prosecution Services of Canada. … The Statistics Act does stipulate those who refuse can face a fine up to $500.”

Following the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada forwarded 64 cases for possible prosecution.

“We’re not interested in prosecuting people. We are in the business of collecting important information so your community has what it needs to make informed decisions,” Liang said.

Census information helps all levels of government decide funding measures for such services as schools, hospitals, public transportation, police and fire. As well, the information will help determine how many seats B.C. has in the next House of Commons.

While completing the short-form census is mandatory, the more extensive National Household Survey is not. Statistics Canada mailed out an estimated 15 million forms in all this year.

If you haven’t already done so, you can complete your census or the NHS online at census2011.gc.ca.

kslavin@saanichnews.com