Census basics and safety tips

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So you received mail from Statistics Canada asking you to fill out a questionnaire. And you’re wondering: I’m not a citizen yet, am I really included in the census? Maybe it will be safer for me and my family if I don’t give out my personal information.

If you’ve had these thoughts, consider the following facts:

Completing the census is mandatory

All Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, refugee claimants, and holders of work or study permits are required to answer the questionnaire. Households who do not file these forms may be subject to penalties based on the Statistics Act.

Statistics Canada protects your information

Once completed, all census information is kept confidential by Statistics Canada. No one outside of Statistics Canada can have access to information that identifies individuals.

2021 Census – Is my census information protected? Statistics Canada
If you have more questions go to: FAQ – Security and Privacy

Other safety tips to keep yourself and your information safe:

  • Keep your 16-digit access code secure – When you receive a census letter, you will get an access code that allows you to complete the questionnaire online. Protect your access code and don’t give it to anyone to keep your information secure.
  • Talking to an enumerator – Enumerators from Statistics Canada will come and visit households to follow-up and check if they have completed their questionnaires. To confirm the identity of the enumerator at your door, you should:
    1. Check for an identification card – You may check for an official ID. It features the Statistics Canada image, the name of the enumerator, employment number, and photo.
    2. Keep a two metre distance – Maintain physical distance for safety. Enumerators are also required to wear a mask. You are not required to let them into your house. If you have concerns about the person, you can verify an enumerator’s identity by calling the Census Help Line (CHL) at Toll-free number: 1-855-340-2021 or TTY (a telecommunications device for deaf persons): 1-833-830-3109.
    3. Receive possible follow-up call – An enumerator may call you if necessary. They will identify themselves clearly on the phone.

Your participation helps the community

By providing accurate information through the census, you provide the government with a clear picture of your situation and needs. The statistics based on the information gathered in the census are used by local, provincial and federal governments, businesses and various social service and ethnocultural organizations. They use statistics for planning and improving services such as health care, language classes, educational programming in schools, family services, housing, and skills training for employment. When you complete the census questionnaire, you are helping build and strengthen communities.

If you have questions about the census or need help in filling out the forms, you can find answers from the Frequently Asked Questions page or call the Census Help Line to speak to a census operator. You can also contact Statistics Canada at any time via the online form. They will contact you as soon as possible.
Source: Statistics Canada

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Community Resources

Also read The Census: What it is and why you need to be counted.

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