In 2016, Canadians from coast to coast helped Statistics Canada achieve its “best census ever.”
Wayne Smith, chief statistician, thanked Campbell River city council for the “strong support” that residents provided in this year’s census.
“With outstanding engagement from Canadians and unwavering support from municipal governments and community organizations, Statistics Canada achieved its best census ever,” Smith said.
The overall response rate of 98.4 per cent to the 2016 Census of Population was higher than in both 2011 and 2006 – the last two census years.
It appears, however, that British Columbians were slightly less excited about the census than the rest of their Canadian counterparts.
The response rate of British Columbians was 97.8 per cent overall, the worst among all Canadian provinces, ahead of only the territories – Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Quebec had the greatest response rate at 98.7 per cent.
The 2016 census marked the return of the mandatory long form census which was sent to randomly selected households following a decade-long hiatus.
Canadians responded positively to the long form, with a completion rate of 97.8 per cent, which is the best ever recorded.
Nearly nine in 10 Canadian households completed their long or short form questionnaire without any assistance from Statistics Canada, which according to Smith makes Canada’s the most efficient among traditional censuses conducted around the world.
Canadians also set the benchmark when it came to Internet responses.
A total of 68.3 per cent of Canadians completed their questionnaire online, which surpassed Statistic Canada’s target of 65 per cent and set a world record.
British Columbians had the highest percentage of respondents use the Internet, with 71.2 per cent electing to fill out their census online.
Smith said he is beyond thrilled with the success of the 2016 census.
“These impressive results…will yield high-quality information for virtually all communities across Canada,” Smith wrote in a letter to city council.
Statistics Canada mailed out $16 million short form, 10-question questionnaires to Canadians in 2016, while one in four households were sent the 36-page long form census.
Smith said the agency is now working towards disseminating all of the data it has collected and is aiming to release its first set of statistics on February 8, 2017.
Statistics Canada is also working towards a plan that may eliminate the short form questionnaire in the 2026 census year and instead use government databases. The move would save taxpayers millions. Statistics Canada has estimated that costs for the 2016 census are roughly $700,000.