Census forms sent out to public

Homes in the City of Williams Lake should by now have received their 2011 Census package.

Homes in the City of Williams Lake should by now have received their 2011 Census package.

More than 15 million dwellings Canada wide will receive a package and, for the first time, 60 per cent of those households will receive a letter that allows participants to complete their questionnaire online.

Individuals who receive a paper questionnaire can also fill out the census on line if they prefer.

There is no deadline per se by which to have the census complete. Rather, says Peter Liang, census communications manager for B.C. and the Yukon, individuals will be given every opportunity to comply with the mandatory task.

“We encourage people to do it as soon as possible,” he says, adding if the census office does not hear back from households it will send a reminder in the mail, followed by another paper questionnaire, followed by a reminder in June from an enumerator who will visit the homes not in compliance.

Liang says the information provided is critical in planning important public services like schools, daycare, hospitals, police and fire protection as well as to calculate transfer payments from the federal to the provincial government and from the provincial government to municipalities.

Following the census, a voluntary national household survey will be sent to one in three Canadian households. The survey is voluntary and replaces the mandatory long-form census.

“This is one chance in the next five years to gather valuable information that communities need for decision making. It’s really important that Canadians take some time to fill out the census and national household survey because it’s really important for your community,” says Liang.