Weak National Household Survey data confirms decision to scrap long-form census is bad for the economy

When the federal government announced it was going to scrap the long-form census, many business groups like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce or the Toronto Board of Trade were opposed. They argued that the businesses needed the information from the long form census to make effective decisions about how to invest. A voluntary survey would not provide the same quality of data as the long form census.

Now with the release of the final data from the National Household Survey, which replaced the long form of the census, it is clear that those who opposed the change were right. Statistics Canada had to lower the standards for reliability from those used in the 2006 long form census. Even with the drop in standards, much of the data was so unreliable that Statistics Canada refused to release it.

Statistics Canada felt that data for 1,813 census subdivsions (a census subdivision is usually an entire municipality) was too unreliable to be released. Using same standards as the 2006 long form census, the National Housing Survey would have provided no data for 81% of census subdivisions. When businesses, governments and other organizations need accurate information for effective decision making that's something our economy can't afford.