There is still time to complete your 2021 census, despite the deadline having come and gone this week.
“We know that not everyone will have it done by May 11,” Lise Rivais, Statistics Canada’s western region director, told the 100 Mile Free Press.
“The May 11 date is kind of like taking a snapshot of the entire country. There is still lots of time to complete it.”
Residents across the country began receiving their census packages – either hand-delivered or via Canada Post – early last week. Those taking part can complete the census online using a secure access code included in the package, or they can call the census line provided to request a paper version.
Rivais said completion of the census is mandatory by law and provides essential information for the country.
“For many municipalities, especially the smaller ones, this is the one time that they get a really good snapshot of their community,” she said. “It allows for planning for daycares, schools, hospitals, emergency services. For non-profits that deliver programming to new immigrants or seniors, it’s important to know if those populations are growing.”
While the census is required by law, there are usually a few citizens across the country who refuse to comply. Census staff will spend time reminding people that they are required to complete the survey, and if they still refuse, charges can be recommended.
“It’s up to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to decide if they want to prosecute or not,” Rivais said, noting that in 2016, 47 people across the country were referred for charges. “It’s very few people who refuse to do it. Most Canadians do their civic duty and complete the census.”
Punishment for being convicted may include a $500 fine, Rivais said, or court-mandated completion of the census.
Rivais said that they are still looking to hire local people to carry out several weeks of part-time work helping to remind residents to complete the census.
“It’s important for us to have local people, to understand the roads and the conditions,” she said. “It’s a challenge if you have people who don’t know the local ares.”
Anyone interested in part-time work can visit www.census.gc.ca/jobs to apply online.