Statistics Canada is looking for 127 people in the Regional District of Nanaimo to help with the return of the mandatory long form census.
“The census information is really the foundation for fact based decision making that we need for policies and for business to operate in Canada,” said regional assistant director Kwong Wong.
“For example municipalities, social service organizations, the board of education, all rely on the long form census that we collect every five years. It gives us a benchmark for detailed characteristics about Canadians.”
“There really isn’t any other source for local service organizations to understand what’s happening in their neighbourhood, to understand poverty, to plan for education, plan for health care, long term health care etc.”
“The short form gives us age and gender and family status, but it’s the long form that gives us the more rich, contextual information about the social economic status of Canadians.”
In 2011 the federal government cancelled the mandatory long form and instead did an optional National Household Survey, but this year one in four households will again be required to fill out the long version.
While he wouldn’t say anything bad about the 2011 data, Wong did say, “the long form census provides the best quality data, it provides better quality data at the local level.”
He said the 2011 data was just as good, but different, since they had a different sample of people filling it out.
And the return of the census every five years means there are a number of enumerator jobs available until August, with most of the door-to-door work being done in May.
“For the Nanaimo Regional District we have approximately 127 enumerator positions that we are recruiting for,” Wong said. “Currently there’s a call out because we’re experiencing challenges and lower numbers anticipated for Errington, Coombs, Whiskey Creek and Spider Lake.”
They are also always looking for more people on First Nations reserves, he said, since every household on reserve is required to fill out the long form, which is more intensive work.
He explained that enumerators, “complete questionnaires with respondents, in some areas enumerators actually deliver questionnaires to each dwelling, and they may be required to complete questionnaires in person or through telephone interviews.”
Applicants should be prepared to work long hours, evenings, weekends and holidays for $16.31 per hour, plus authorized expenses.
Wong said assets would include a knowledge of the community, a vehicle and computer knowledge. The positions are open to anyone age 18 or over and legally allowed to work in Canada.
Asked about issues in remote areas or with unfriendly residents Wong chuckled, “yes, we face all sort of challenges, working in all different communities and neighbourhoods from urban to very rural areas we still have to collect from every household.”
In early May every household should receive an information package in the mail about doing the census, which encourages people to answer online.
Wong said they have offered the census online since 2006 and last time about half of respondents answered online, which he expects to increase again.
“Online questionnaires nowadays are definitely encouraged because it definitely saves costs as tax payers, not having to send people out, it’s very costly to enumerate in person.”
People are encouraged to apply online at www.census.gc.ca/jobs and watch for more information in your mail.