UPDATE: On November 5, the Government of Canada has restored the mandatory long-form census.
On November 4, 2015, the CES President, Benoît Gauthier, wrote the following letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, regarding the mandatory Census long-form questionnaire and the importance of evaluation.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister:
In 2010, the Canadian Government decided to interrupt the 40-year history of the mandatory Census long-form questionnaire, and to replace it with a voluntary survey. Since that time, the Canadian Evaluation Society has expressed serious concern about this decision. Expected repercussions of this decision have either materialized or constitute a Damocles sword over politicians, the corporate sector, public sector managers, policy makers, researchers, not for profit organizations, and private citizens across Canada as the impacts of critical information gaps on our population become more and more evident.
You have indicated in the past your intention of re-establishing the mandatory long form Census. The Canadian Evaluation Society fully supports this decision. Now is the time to act: we cannot go another five years without the vital information provided by the Census. We urge you to direct Statistics Canada to plan for a mandatory long form in the 2016 census.
The Liberal Party of Canada has stated that government decisions needed to be anchored into strong evidence. I am available to discuss with you how evaluation can contribute to evidence-informed decision-making and how the Government of Canada can make best use of it.
Benoît Gauthier, President
Canadian Evaluation Society
The Canadian Evaluation Society
The Canadian Evaluation Society is the oldest professional association focussed on evaluation in the world; it is dedicated to the advancement of evaluation theory and practice. Evaluation is the systematic assessment of the design, implementation or results of an initiative for the purposes of learning or decision-making. Evaluation assists effective decisions, balanced judgements, and evidence-based conclusions. Evaluation supports both program and project improvement and accountability, ultimately contributing to organizational and societal value. For evaluation to perform its function, evaluators in all sectors need access to valid and reliable data. The full Canadian census is essential to provide a strong foundation on which to base evaluation work.