OPINION: Fill out your census!

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By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: Fill out your census!

Many of you probably received your census in the mail this past week and this census year is perhaps more important than any other in recent memory for Cornwall.

The pandemic has up-ended, changed or otherwise impacted so many aspects of life in Cornwall and of course around the country and the Canadian Census will be able to give us not only a good look of what’s been happening, but also an idea of where we are going next.

It is a legal requirement to fill out the census questionnaire, but beyond having to do it, filling out the census will have a real impact on your life and the future of your community.

First and foremost, it would be nice to know where Cornwall’s current population stands. With how hot the Cornwall housing market is and how fast homes are selling you would think that the Cornwall is in the midst of a population boom, but a national census I think is the only way to tell for sure.

Apart from finding out if Cornwall’s population is growing, the census is also used by all levels of government to apportion resources for the next four years.

The federal government uses the census to draw electoral boundaries for the federal election, for funding Old Age Security and the Canada Child Benefit program, and for making plans to respond to national disasters.

At the provincial level, the province makes decisions about funding for daycares, schools, retirement homes, as well as healthcare funding and road services based on the census.

Most importantly is the municipal level, because the most important decisions are made by municipalities. Municipal governments use the census to plan for emergency and senior services, as well as social services such as affordable housing.

“The information you provide is converted into statistics used by communities, businesses and governments to plan services and make informed decisions about employment, education, health care, market development and more,” reads a statement from Anil Arora, Canada’s Chief Statistician. “Your answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and kept strictly confidential.”

Clearly for Cornwall having this information is essential. With it, the municipal government can make more informed decisions, and we in the public will be able to use that information as well to hold them to account.

The Mayor of Cornwall recently setup a housing taskforce to deal with the issue of the volatile housing market, the general need for housing, and the need for affordable housing. It would be much better and more productive for everyone if that taskforce had accurate population data to work with.

As with even the most beneficial and innocuous of things the census too has a few false “facts” and conspiracy theories about it being shared around on the internet. Statistics Canada is therefore assuring the public that they are not somehow secretly a subsidiary of a U.S. weapons manufacturer, Statistics Canada is in-fact providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to census workers, and no, they are not using taxpayer money to put census workers up in hotels, but are providing them with other accommodations, such as to their work schedule or ergonomic equipment.

Fill out your census this year. If you care about your taxes, fill out your census. If you care about your representation in the government, fill out your census. If you care about the services that the government provides, fill out your census. The census can even be filled out online. For more information, go to census.gc.ca

What do you think readers? Have you filled out your census yet? Email your Letters to the Editor to nseebruch@seawaynews.media

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