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

Census 2016 - Take the time to do your part for Manitoba. Complete the Census today.

Poster  by Province of Manitoba.

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Every five years, Canada holds a census. It is done to provide a “statistical portrait” of the country and its people. In 2016, May 10 is the official Census Day for Canada, meaning that respondents base their answers to questions using the status of their household as of this date.

What is the Census?

The Census is the gathering of data from households regarding population, education, activities of daily living, sociocultural information, mobility, labour market activities, housing, and other pertinent information. These are compiled as statistics. To gather information, households receive the Census (short-form) accompanied by a letter and instructions for filling out the questionnaire. Meanwhile, one in four households are asked to also complete the Long-form questionnaire. Respondents may choose to complete the questionnaire online or on paper. Once completed, all census information are kept confidential by Statistics Canada.

When you complete the census questionnaire, you are helping build and strengthen communities.

Why do I need to participate?

First of all, it is mandatory. 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.

Beyond this, participating in the census is important, especially for newcomers. When you answer the questionnaire accurately, you provide the government a clear picture of your situation and possible needs. The statistics formed based on the information gathered in the census becomes input for the planning of services such as health care, language classes, educational programming in schools, family services, housing, and skills training for employment. So when you complete the census questionnaire, you are helping build and strengthen communities.

Taking part in the census is also important for the province. For every person missed in the 2016 census, Manitoba loses $46,000 in federal transfer payments over the next five years. These funds directly support the economic and social fabric of the province.

To know more ways by which your census information helps communities, watch the video on the Statistics Canada site.

What kinds of questions are asked?

The short-form questionnaire asks for basic information such as your telephone number, email address, address, number of persons living in your house, and other information related to population and demographic information. To see a complete short-form questionnaire go to Census questions and why they are asked (short form questionnaire).

Meanwhile, aside from population and demographics, the long-form questionnaire contains questions pertaining to the social and economic situation of the people across Canada and the dwellings they live in. Go to 2016 Census questions and why they are asked (long-form) to know more.

What if I can’t understand the questions?

The questions are available in 11 ethnic languages and 11 aboriginal languages, as well as in braille, audio and sign language (video) formats. But, it is important to note that these translated documents are for reference only and cannot be used as the questionnaire. The census questionnaire must be completed in English or French only.

If you need a copy of the questions in a language other than English or French, help in completing the questionnaire, or any other assistance for completing the census, call the Census Help Line (CHL) at 1-855-700-2016. You can call Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 8 p.m., or on Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Community Resources

If you need immediate help filling out the questionnaire and cannot call the CHL, approach the Immigrant Serving Organization nearest you.

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