Requirements for new data

Requirements for information not currently available from the Census Program were solicited via the 2016 Census Program Content Consultation Guide.

Overall, no major gap in the content of the Census Program was brought forth during consultation. One hundred and thirty one new data requirements for the Census Program were identified, most of which were reported by only one or two participants (see Appendix C for a complete list). As presented in the table below, twelve topics were supported four or more times in the consultation input. In many cases, data on these topics are collected in other statistical programs, such as the General Social Survey or the Canadian Community Health Survey or other national household surveys.

Table 5
New data requirements that received four or more comments

Table 5 New data requirements that received four or more comments
Reported new data requirement Number of comments
Source: Statistics Canada, Census Operations Division, 2016 Census Program content consultation.
Unpaid work 12
Gender identity 10
Commute to school 7
Secondary residence 6
Sexual orientation 6
Religion 5
Types of disability 5
Child care 4
Debt 4
Fertility 4
Residential mobility 4
Types of dwelling 4

Unpaid work: Provincial government participants were most likely to mention the need for information on unpaid work. It was indicated during consultation that data on unpaid work are used to plan and measure social and economic policies, estimate unpaid contributions to the economy and labour force availability, to study gender equality in Canada, and for trend analysis. It was noted that the increase in home-based health care makes these data important, and suggested the question could be asked every 10 years.

Gender identity: Non-government participants were most likely to mention the need for information on gender identity. Defined as how a person perceives their gender, it was conveyed during consultation that a question on gender identity would provide information on a less visible community, not previously enumerated. These data would inform gender-based analysis and diversity-focused initiatives, and contribute to the analysis on social determinants of health and health inequalities.

Commute to school: Provincial government participants were most likely to report the need for information on commuting to school. The outcome of this question would provide more information on road network use, and assist with infrastructure and land use planning in urban areas and the periphery.

Secondary residences: Provincial government participants were most likely to report the need for information on secondary residences. A question on secondary residences for students, children from separated parents and the population generally has been suggested. This information would permit better land use and infrastructure planning, be used to establish live-work relationships and produce transportation commuting trip tables. Knowing the secondary residences of children/students living in two households would inform analysis on educational choices, attainment and health outcomes.

Sexual orientation: Non-government sector data users were most likely to report the need for information on sexual orientation. It was mentioned that the results from a sexual orientation question would help service providers identify populations that have specialized needs. They would assist policy makers and planners of health and education target their outreach activities to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. The findings would also support a federal initiative committed to addressing HIV/AIDS among key population groups. One suggestion was to limit the question to the population aged 18 and over.

Religion: Some participants requested that a question on religion be asked every five years. Among the submissions received, it was noted that the religion question offers insight on Canada's social and cultural diversity. Crossed with other Census Program topics, these data would inform policy development and be used to carry out Canada's multiculturalism program.

Types of disability: This requirement for new data was identified by some provincial and local government representatives as well as non-government sector participants. Questions on the types of limitations (e.g., cognitive, intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities) would help support municipal policy on accessibility, and be used in trend analysis and program evaluation. Data on activities of daily living are required at lower levels of geographical detail for the provision resources and services, to ensure equal access and to address needs specific to different population groups.

Child care: The input for this content topic comes primarily from the non-government sector. Content on the type of child care, (e.g., licensed, not licensed, family care, child care provided by grandparents), the arrangement, (such as home care, before/after school, etc.), and whether it is delivered for a fee or free was suggested. It was recommended that the questions be derived from the General Social Survey.

Debt: Some non-government and local government sector participants identified a need for information on debt. Data on debt by type such as household, personal and corporate would inform decision-making as it would provide insight on the fiscal challenges, behaviour and literacy of specific population groups, such as seniors who will draw on their financial resources given greater life expectancy. It was also suggested that a question on debt, the result of postsecondary education participation, be added.

Residential mobility: Some provincial/territorial government participants indicated an interest in this topic. A question on the status of residency (e.g., temporary), length of time at current residence, previous residence and number of times the respondent has moved in the last five years would contribute to an understanding of the stability (i.e., persons and households) over time. This information would inform the planning of homeless programs, services and research.

Type of dwelling: While this information is collected by the enumerator, a question on the type of dwelling (such as single-detached, semi-detached, row townhouse, condo-apartment) has been requested. The results would be used to cross reference rental survey results, to estimate the number of accessory or secondary dwelling units that make up the rental housing stock and profile their residents.

Fertility: Some provincial government participants would like information on this subject, last asked on the census in 1991. A question on the number of children ever born is important for the analysis of population replacement/increase. It was noted that it should be asked of the population aged 15 years and over, and apply to both women and men. This information is needed for small areas and various population groups.

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