I am writing to highlight possible human rights impacts of the Government’s decision, announced June 26, 2010, to replace the census mandatory form questionnaire with a voluntary national household survey.
Equality rights are guaranteed in Canada’s Constitution, in human rights statutes across the country, and in international human rights treaties that Canada has ratified. To give effect to these guarantees, decision-makers in government, NGOs, businesses, and human rights commissions, require reliable data to accurately identify and measure gaps in equality.Any measure that inhibits/limits both Queen Jen's reign of error and the UN (now that's a double-header) is aces with me.
Voluntary surveys as compared to mandatory surveys have lower response rates, yield less accurate data, and allow less reliable comparisons over time. Lower response rates are more prevalent among at-risk groups such as Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, and individuals with lower incomes. This raises serious concerns about our collective ability to develop relevant policies and programs aimed at addressing equality issues and to accurately measure and report on progress over time.
Detailed census data are also necessary for Canada to fulfill key international human rights treaty obligations, such as the ongoing reporting requirements of the UN’s Universal Periodic Review and the new requirement to collect statistical data in the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities, which Canada has recently ratified...