Damage from cancelled census as bad as feared, researchers say

The impact of an ideologically motivated decision, impacting both social research (the intended target, as suggested by Paul Wells in his book The Longer I’m Prime Minister) as well as the business community and municipalities who use census data for planning purposes (e.g., store and school locations):

“It has certainly impacted my own work on what has been happening to middle-class earnings in Canada,” says Charles Beach, professor emeritus of economics at Queen’s University.

More broadly, it has “inhibited research into inequality and identifying winners and losers in economic growth, research into understanding the national problems of the have-nots in the economy, and research into how best to provision local government services.”

In the private sector, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, whose network represents 200,000 businesses across the country, is publicly calling on the federal government to restore the mandatory long-form census.

Some researchers – such as those working on a sweeping long-term study on income polarization in Canadian cities – are choosing to abandon using the NHS altogether. They may be settling for less-detailed tax-filer data, while others, such as some public health units, are still using outdated 2006 census data.

In Canada’s largest city, “it has definitely had an impact in the way we plan for services” for people such as seniors, single parents, youth and immigrants, says Harvey Low, manager of social research at the City of Toronto. “We are less sure ” about the characteristics of people served in communities.

Damage from cancelled census as bad as feared, researchers say – The Globe and Mail.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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