I started this blog post shortly after writing Let’s scrap the long-form census!, but have only recently finished it. No, this is not about “drafting” or conscripting people to fill out long-form versions of the census. It’s about the draft form of a census; that is, how a long-form census is born and its future relevance.
The status quo for Canadian censuses is that one-fifth of households complete the “long form” of the census in its entirety and the remainder are given a much-abbreviated version of it. The completion of the long-form census, until now, has been mandatory for those to whom it has been delivered under threat of fine and jail. Census information is important to all Canadians; it is used by different levels of government, businesses, historians, scientists, and others for reasons as varied as planning infrastructure to creating employment opportunities. The current governing party of Canada has decided, unilaterally, that punishing its citizens for failing to fill out some survey is unfair and that the penalty be abandoned.