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2. Data collection

2.1 General

2.1.1 Collection

2.1.1.1 Forms and questionnaire types

2.1.1.2 Official languages

2.1.1.3 Aboriginal languages

2.1.1.4 Delivery of questionnaires

2.1.1.5 New for 2006 Census: The online questionnaire and other changes

2.1.2 Early enumeration

2.2 Question and instructions for Aboriginal ancestry, Aboriginal identity, Registered Indian or Treaty Indian and Indian band/First Nation membership

2.1 General

Under the Statistics Act, Statistics Canada is responsible for conducting the Census of Population of Canada. Therefore, each person who receives a census questionnaire is legally obligated to provide the information requested about their household.

The census enumerates the entire population of Canada, which consists of Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, and non-permanent residents along with their family members living with them. This includes all Aboriginal people living both on and off reserve.

The census is considered a de jure census as it enumerates people where they usually or typically reside rather than where they physically happen to be on Census Day. This means that people outside the country on Census Day are enumerated if their usual or normal place of residence was back in Canada. This includes federal and provincial government employees working outside Canada, Canadian embassy staff posted to other countries, members of the Canadian Armed Forces stationed abroad and all Canadian crew members of merchant vessels.

2.1.1 Collection

The census information is collected either from 100% of the population or on a 20% sample basis (from a random sample of one in five households) with the data weighted up to provide estimates for the entire population. For any given geographic area, the weighted population, household, dwelling or family total or subtotal may differ from that shown in reports containing data collected on a 100% basis. Such variation (in addition to the effect of random rounding) will be due to sampling. Note that, on Indian reserves and in remote areas, most data were collected on a 100% basis.

To ensure the best possible coverage, the country is divided into small geographic areas called collection units (CUs) with a census representative responsible for at least one CU. For the 2006 Census, there were 50,782 collection units throughout Canada.

2.1.1.1 Forms and questionnaire types

The Census of Canada uses different forms and questionnaires to collect data from Canadians. The questionnaire type, as well as the location and collection method are presented below in Table 1.

The Form 1 is called a Visitation Record (VR) which is used to list every occupied and unoccupied private dwelling, collective dwelling, agricultural operation and agricultural operator in the enumeration area. The VR serves as an address listing for field operations and control purposes for census collection.

The Form 2A (short questionnaire) contains 10 questions and is distributed to 80% of private dwellings in mail-back areas.

The Form 2B is a long questionnaire that collects the same information as the Form 2A plus additional information on a variety of topics including Aboriginal ancestry, Aboriginal identity, Band/First Nation membership and Registered Indian status. It is used to enumerate 20% of all private dwellings in mail-back areas.

The Form 2C is a long questionnaire similar to the Form 2B and it is used to enumerate people posted outside Canada, including Canadian government employees (federal and provincial) and their families, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. It is also used to enumerate all other Canadian citizens, landed immigrants and non-permanent residents outside Canada who request to be enumerated.

The Form 2D is the Northern and Reserves Questionnaire. It is a long questionnaire similar to the Form 2B used to enumerate the Yukon, the Northwest Territories (with the exception of Whitehorse and Yellowknife), Nunavut, and Indian reserves, Indian settlements, Indian government districts and 'terres réservées'. In 2006, there were some areas where there are nonAboriginal households on leased Aboriginal land and these would not receive the 2D questionnaire. The questions asked on the Form 2D questionnaire are the same as on the 2B questionnaire, but the examples, where provided for write-in responses, include more Aboriginal groups listed in the ethnic origin/ancestry question, and industries or occupations more commonly found in the North. Examples for the education questions are also geared to the Aboriginal population living in these areas.

The Form 3A and 3B are used to enumerate persons in a collective dwelling (each person in the collective dwelling would complete a separate Form 3). They are also used to enumerate usual residents in a private household (e.g., roomers, lodgers, boarders) who prefer to be enumerated on their own census questionnaire rather than be included on a 2A or 2B questionnaire. Form 3A is the short individual census questionnaire used to enumerate usual residents and live-in staff members using information from administrative records. The Form 3B is the long individual census questionnaire and it is also used in self-enumeration in collective dwellings, to enumerate usual residents and live-in staff members.

Residents of institutions such as detention facilities, hospitals, residences for senior citizens, orphanages or prisons are enumerated using the institution's administrative records. To be enumerated, residents must have lived at the facility for at least six months. Otherwise, the resident is counted at their regular place of residence. Only basic data were collected for all residents of institutions: age, sex, marital status and mother tongue. The Aboriginal questions on the 2B/2D questionnaire are not asked of residents of institutions.

Prior to Census Day, Statistics Canada developed lists of shelters to identify homeless shelters as distinct from other types of collective dwellings. In shelters and similar facilities, the eight short form questions were completed using administrative records, where possible. These are the same questions that were answered by every Canadian. In all cases, age and sex was noted. The Aboriginal questions on the 2B/2D questionnaire are not asked of homeless people.

A Form 4 is completed by census staff in situations where households were absent or dwellings were unoccupied on Census Day. The Visitation Record indicates which census questionnaire was completed and if no questionnaire is completed then Form 4 would indicate the reason for the non completion.

2.1.1.2 Official languages

Eighty percent of all households received a questionnaire package containing both an English and a French short form. The remaining 20% of households received a questionnaire package with either one unilingual long-form questionnaire or both official language versions of the long-form questionnaire.

Households requiring an alternative English or French questionnaire could either contact the Census Help Line or complete the questionnaire online in the official language of their choice.

2.1.1.3 Aboriginal languages

The Census of Population Form 2D questionnaire was used to enumerate Aboriginal communities on Indian reserves and to conduct the early northern census (early enumeration). To assist people whose first language was neither English nor French, the census questions were translated into 18 Aboriginal languages. The 2D questionnaire was made available in the following languages:

Atikamekw (Manawan-Wemotaci)
Atikamekw (Opitciwon)
Blackfoot
Cree (Quebec)
Dakota/Sioux
Dene (Dogrib)
Innuinaqtun
Inuktitut (Labrador)
Inuktitut (Nouveau-Québec)
Inuktitut (Nunavut)
Inuvialuktun
Mi'kmaq
Montagnais
Naskapi
Ojibway
Oji-Cree
Plains Cree
Swampy Cree

2.1.1.4 Delivery of questionnaires

In 2006, about 98% of households were enumerated using self-enumeration. The remaining 2% of households were enumerated using the canvasser method. Canvassing is used in cases where the population is very small, and sampling (that is, collecting information from a small part of the population and using the results to represent the whole) may not produce reliable information. On Indian reserves and settlements and in northern and remote areas each household receives a long questionnaire, and the interview was conducted by an enumerator.

In self-enumerated households, people were asked to complete the questionnaire for themselves and for members of their household and return it either online or in the postage paid yellow envelope by May 16, 2006 Census Day.

2.1.1.5 New for 2006 Census: The online questionnaire and other changes

The 2006 Census provided households which were self-enumerated with the option of completing their questionnaire online and sending it back electronically or mailing it back in preaddressed, postage paid envelope. This was the first time that the Internet option was available.

Each paper questionnaire had a unique Internet access code printed on the front page along with the 2006 Census website address (www.census2006.ca). Respondents needed this access code in order to complete their questionnaire online. The census web application generated a confirmation number that the respondent was to retain as a proof of completion of the census questionnaire over the Internet.

By the end of August 2006, 18.5% of Canadian households took advantage of the first-ever opportunity to complete their census questionnaire on the Internet.

For more information see: Nearly one in five households completed their census questionnaire online.

Changes for 2006 included a new question, designed to lower respondent burden, on the long form seeking permission for Statistics Canada to use data from income tax records. The percentage of consenting records found in the database was 89.1%.

For more information see: Census questions on income: New features and important changes.

Questions on education (on the long form) were also re-worded to improve response quality, and a new question on location of study was added.

Both the short and long forms contained a new question asking whether the respondent would permit Statistics Canada to make their personal information publicly available in 92 years for historical and genealogical research. Nationally, 56% of Canadians chose to make their personal information publicly available in 92 years. For more information see: 2006 Census results: The 92-year question.

2.1.2 Early enumeration

In remote areas, the census was conducted in February and March of 2006 to enumerate people before they migrated to hunting and fishing camps. In these areas, the census was conducted by personal interview using the 2D questionnaire. In addition to training staff earlier for early enumeration, Field Operations Supervisors coordinated with local First Nation and Inuit leaders in order to carry out the early enumeration.

2.2 Questions and instructions for Aboriginal ancestry, Aboriginal identity, Registered Indian or Treaty Indian, and Indian band/First Nation membership

The Census Guide, which is separate from the questionnaire, contains instructions and examples to help respondents answer each census question as accurately as possible. Also included are reasons why questions are asked and how the information respondents provide is used.

An adult was asked to complete the questionnaire for all members of the household. This person is referred to as Person 1.

It is the responsibility of Person 1 to enter information for all persons who usually live in the household, including all children, co-tenants, roomers, children who live elsewhere when in school, children under joint custody who live in the dwelling most of the time, and persons who usually live in the dwelling but have been living in an institution such as a hospital, residence for senior citizens or prison for less than six months.

The questions and instructions on the 2B and 2D census questionnaires are provided below:

Ethnic origin/ancestry – Question 17

The following information was provided to respondents in the 2B Census Guide and the 2D interviewer field manual.

This question refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of a person's ancestors. An ancestor is someone from whom a person is descended and is usually more distant than a grandparent. Other than Aboriginal persons, most people can trace their origins to their ancestors who first came to this continent. Ancestry should not be confused with citizenship or nationality.

For all persons, report the specific ethnic or cultural groups to which their ancestors belonged, not the language they spoke. For example, report 'Haitian' rather than 'French,' or 'Austrian' rather than 'German.'

For persons of East Indian or South Asian origins, report a specific origin or origins. Do not report 'Indian.' For example, report 'East Indian from India,' 'East Indian from Guyana,' or indicate the specific group, such as 'Punjabi' or 'Tamil.'

For persons with Aboriginal ancestors, report a specific origin or origins. For example, report 'Cree,' 'Micmac,' 'Ojibway,' 'North American Indian,' 'Métis.' Do not report 'Indian.'

The ethnic origin question in the 2006 Census long questionnaire (Form 2B) reads as follows:

Note that while the ancestry question asked in the 2006 Census Form 2D (below) is the same as that asked in the Form 2B, the list of examples are different.

From 1981 to the present, Aboriginal ancestry has been defined by descent from both the mother's and the father's side. The ethnic origin question has allowed for the reporting of single and multiple responses.

Aboriginal identity – Question 18

The following information was provided to respondents in the 2B Census Guide and the 2D Interviewer Field Manual.

Answer this question regardless of whether this person is an Aboriginal person of North America.

Persons with Aboriginal Identity are usually those with ancestors who resided in North America prior to European contact and who identify with one of the three Aboriginal groups listed on the questionnaire.

Persons who consider themselves to be East Indian or Asian Indian, or who have ethnic roots on the subcontinent of India, would normally respond No to this question.

Individuals who refer to themselves as Métis in the context of mixed ancestry but who do not have North American Aboriginal ancestry – for example, those from Africa, the Caribbean and South America – would normally respond No.

In 2006, the Aboriginal identity question was identical to that asked in 2001 and 1996. This question reads as follows:

Note that while the identity question asked in the 2006 Census Form 2D is the same as that asked in the Form 2B, the term 'Eskimo' is not included as part of the question.

Indian band / First Nation membership – Question 20

The following information was provided to respondents in the 2B Census Guide and the 2D Interviewer Field Manual.

An Indian band/First Nation is a group of persons for whom lands have been set apart and money is held by the Crown. A band member is an individual who is recognized as being a member of a band as defined by either the band itself or the Indian Act.

Individuals should report their band/First Nation affiliation rather than their Tribal affiliation (for example, 'Chemawawin First Nation band' instead of 'Cree').

Question 20, the Indian band/First Nation membership question in the 2006 Census long questionnaire (Form 2B and Form 2D) reads as follows:

Registered or Treaty Indian - Question 21

The following information was provided to respondents in the 2B Census Guide and the 2D Interviewer Field Manual.

Mark the circle Yes for persons who:

•  are registered as Indians under the Indian Act
•  are Treaty Indians, only if they are registered as Indians under the Indian Act
•  have become registered as Indians since June 1985 when Bill C-31 changed the Indian Act.

All other persons should mark No, including persons who may be entitled to register under provisions of the Indian Act, but for some reason have not.

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