Planning Institute of BC

Planning Institute of BC

August 18, 2010 11:00 ET

Planning Institute of BC/Media Release: BC Planners Urge Government to Reverse Census Decision

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 18, 2010) - The federal government's decision to eliminate the mandatory long form census will have serious, negative impacts for Canadian communities and for development in the future, the Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) said in a letter to federal industry minister Tony Clement.

"PIBC is profoundly concerned with this decision," said PIBC President Lindsay Chase, MCIP. 'Census data, and long form data in particular, informs our members' work. Accurate, timely and consistent socio-economic data is essential to ensure adequate and appropriate transportation, infrastructure, social services and economic development."

Governments and public agencies spend significant resources to make good decisions and investments, and need reliable long-term data to monitor and improve policies and programs. The proposed change in the census approach will greatly limit decision makers' ability to analyse changes in any neighbourhood or community over time.

"Census data is the single most important socio-economic data source for most municipalities, and likely the only data source for small or rural communities," said Chase. "Only Statistics Canada can produce comprehensive and accurate demographic and socio-economic information which can be used economically at all levels of society."

The data supplied by the long form questionnaire is fundamental to good policy and decision-making, and for making wise use of public funds. Planners rely on having good quality demographic data when designing and delivering services to citizens.

PIBC is the association of professional planners in British Columbia and the Yukon. Its members work in the public service and the private sector, in a wide variety of fields including land use planning, environmental resource management, land development, heritage conservation, social planning, transportation planning and economic development.

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