2024 Census Test

Statistics Canada conducts a census test to evaluate the new and modified questions in the questionnaire, as well as the collection procedures and tools, in preparation for the 2026 Census of Population and the 2026 Census of Agriculture.

Why do we have a census test?

Testing ensures that quality data are available in 2026 to support decision-making across a wide range of services and programs in areas such as

Is the 2024 Census Test mandatory and why?

Census of Population Test

A sample of dwellings in specific locations across Canada has been selected to participate in this census test. Participation in the 2024 Census of Population Test is mandatory.

Since accuracy depends on complete information, each household selected to participate in this test must, by law, provide the information. Answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and are kept strictly confidential. They will not be shared publicly or stored for future access.

Census of Agriculture Test

A sample of farms or agricultural operations across Canada has been selected to participate in the test. The 2024 Census of Agriculture Test is conducted on a voluntary basis.

It relies on your responses and those of other farmers across Canada to assess respondents’ understanding of the questionnaire content. The information provided will be carefully reviewed and will help Statistics Canada ensure that the 2026 Census of Agriculture questionnaire is easily understood by and beneficial to all data users.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

Statistics Canada takes great care to ensure that information collected from the census test is in the public’s interest, cannot be obtained effectively from other sources, and can be collected efficiently to meet information requirements.

The Statistics Act specifically requires that information about individuals be protected and kept strictly confidential. The federal Privacy Act also protects personal information held by the agency.

How does Statistics Canada prepare for the test?

Statistics Canada consulted with the public and stakeholders between the fall of 2022 and the spring of 2023. The feedback that was received was used to update and improve the Census of Population questionnaire; these changes were then evaluated through cognitive and one-on-one interviews in the spring and summer of 2023. Information on this process can be found on the 2026 Census of Population Content Consultation web page.

The report “2026 Census of Population Content Consultation Results: What we heard from Canadians,” which was published on April 17, 2024, outlines the consultation findings on data relevancy, uses and gaps for the Census of Population.

The 2024 Census Test beginning in early May 2024 is another step in assessing the proposed changes to the census questionnaire. An estimated 198,000 households are expected to participate.

Following the 2024 Census Test, Statistics Canada will evaluate all results and provide recommendations to the federal government for the content of the 2026 Census of Population questionnaire.

What will be tested during the 2024 Census Test?

The most notable changes for the 2024 Census Test include the following:

Do we publish the 2024 Census Test results?

The information collected as part of the 2024 Census Test is only used to prepare for the 2026 Census. Data, results and analyses will not be released or published. Once they are analyzed, test records will be destroyed.

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