Board statement regarding proposed census changes

Board statement regarding proposed census changes

August 23, 2010

The Government of Canada is moving to eliminate the mandatory Canada census long form questionnaire, replacing it with a voluntary survey.�Toronto�Community Housing Chair David Mitchell�sent the following letter on this issue.

The Honourable Tony Clement�

Minister of Industry�
C.D. Howe Building�
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5
Dear Minister Clement,
The Board of Directors of Toronto Community Housing wishes to add its voice to the hundreds of Canadian individuals and organizations that are in favour of re-instating the use of the mandatory long form census for 2011.
The changes to the long-form census questionnaire will have a significant impact on our delivery of service to vulnerable tenants and communities as Canada's largest social housing provider.
Toronto Community Housing is home to more than 164,000 diverse tenants with low and moderate incomes-about six per cent of the City of Toronto's population. We employ 1,400 staff in a broad range of jobs, who deliver our mission to provide affordable housing, connect tenants to services and opportunities, and work together to build healthy communities.
The changes to the mandatory long form 2011 census will compromise our ability to inform good evidence-based policy, advocacy and social action for individuals, children, and families. Less reliable census information could mean the needs of the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, poor, single parents, and newcomers to Canada, will be ignored.
We are actively involved in several research partnerships with academia, government and community institutions that rely heavily on census data. These inform us of needed social policy and program development at the local level, which has an immense impact on many Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods. The lack of meaningful census data would also hamper our ability to assess the availability and affordability of housing.
The information from the long form census data assists us to ensure that program investments - often with federal money - are targeted toward the populations who need them the most, and provide the best return for our tenants from the investment.
We strongly urge you and your government to reconsider the decision to eliminate the mandatory long-form census questionnaire in 2011 and beyond.
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Yours truly,
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David Mitchell
Chair of the Board�