Magazine article Herizons

Long-Form Census Erases Women

Magazine article Herizons

Long-Form Census Erases Women

Article excerpt

The decision of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to abolish the mandatory long-form census questionnaire will deprive organizations of reliable data that allows them to support their arguments in favour of improved public services and equality measures.

This was the overwhelming message delivered by witnesses who appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women to address the issue of the decision to scrap the long-form census last year. The committee published its report in February.

The committee was told by the Fédération des professeurs du Québec that cancelling the mandatory long-form census would "condemn women to see, hear and say nothing about themselves."

The presenters argued that sufficient data, when broken down by sex, become fodder to justify policies and programs to fight gender and otherforms of inequality.

"Without data from the census, groups will have difficulty making their points and women's ongoing inequality will become invisible," concluded St. Mary's University economist Martha MacDonald.

Celine Duval, president of the Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale, told the committee, "Depriving organizations of reliable data that allow them to support their arguments in all sectors is the same as muzzling or destroying their work of assessing Canadians' needs."

Some types of data that will no longer be available include information on the level of schooling of First Nations people, persons with disabilities and francophone and anglophone women; the amount of unpaid work by sex; and the labour market participation and average earnings of First Nations people and immigrants. …

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