With the national census to take place in just a few months, and the long form census no longer mandatory, municipalities will be waiting to see what kind of information they will be left with to use for planning.
The federal government removed the penalties for not filling out the long form census that is delivered to 20 per cent of Canadians after complaints that the form was an invasion of privacy.
Innisfail mayor Jim Romane said some of the feedback he heard from people was that the survey was indeed an invasion of privacy and that he believes the government was under a little pressure to take the penalties off.
Romane said the town has not been approached to take action to promote people to take the long form census.
“Right now it is not mandatory and rightfully so.”
However, without the form being mandatory the accuracy of the results will depend on the response from the citizens said Craig Teal, a planner with Parkland Community Planning Services.
The long form census collected detailed information about things such as language, migration status, income, religion, race, and job details of the occupants of the dwelling. While the short form census just asks questions regarding the number of people living in your home, and their age, sex, and occupation.
Teal said that from a planning perspective without the long form census they will loose some information they would normally consult for municipal planning.
“We will still have a lot of the physical land information but will loose a lot on the social economic side,” said Teal.
The pieces of information that they have used in the past for planning the Town of Innisfail they will miss the most includes, the age of the housing stock and the commuter information.
Teal said that it is helpful to know how many citizens live in a community but work elsewhere.
The total effect it will have on the planning process for municipalities is yet to be determined but Teal said he will be waiting to see how the volunteer survey turns out before deciding if they will need to find another way to get planning information.