What is a census?
In Canada, a census is taken every five years. The next census will be held in May 2016 and will provide a statistical portrait of the country and its people.
In Canada, it is mandatory for all residents to participate in the census. This includes Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, refugee claimants, and people who hold a work or study permit.
How is the census taken?
Each household will receive instructions about the census in early May 2016. At that time, you can decide if your household will complete a census questionnaire online or on paper.
What happens to the information that I provide?
The information that you provide will be kept confidential, in accordance with the Statistics Act. Your information may be used by Statistics Canada in support of our other surveys, or for analysis. No one outside of Statistics Canada can have access to information that identifies individuals.
Who must complete a questionnaire?
In Canada, it is mandatory for all residents to complete the census questionnaire. Information on whom to include in the questionnaire can be found on the census website and on the questionnaire itself, in the section “Whom to include in Step B”.
If you think there might be person(s) in your household who should not complete a census questionnaire, call the Census Help Line at 1-855-700-2016, starting May 2, 2016.
How are my responses used?
Your responses to the census are added to the responses of everyone else who lives in Canada, to compile statistics that help communities plan services such as day care centres, schools, health care, language classes, police, fire protection and residences for senior citizens.
Why should I participate in the census?
You, your family and your community benefit from the census. When you participate in the census, it means better information for your community.
There is also a law in Canada that says you must complete the questions asked in the census questionnaire. This law, the Statistics Act, also ensures that your census information is kept confidential.
We depend on you!
Completing the census is both a civic responsibility and a legal requirement for all people living in Canada. When you complete your census questionnaire, you continue a tradition that goes back 350 years—from a few pioneer villages in 1666, to today’s large and prosperous country.
What if I need help?
Starting May 2, 2016, you can call the Census Help Line (CHL) at 1-855-700-2016, Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., or Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., if:
- you need help completing your questionnaire or want information about the census
- someone in your household would prefer to complete a separate questionnaire
- you need more than one questionnaire for your household
- you want a new census questionnaire, or a questionnaire in French
- you want a copy of the questions in a language other than English or French.
The CHL is a free service and is available in many languages.