Missing data may be costly says Sheridan

Teresa Wright
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Finance Minister Wes Sheridan

P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan is calling on the federal government to reinstate the mandatory long-form census due to significant gaps of statistical information for Prince Edward Island.

Sheridan says due to the voluntary nature of the 2011 National Household Survey, P.E.I.’s census data this year is incomplete.

“About a third of our communities are not going to be included in our stats because we don’t have sufficient information for those areas,” Sheridan said in an interview Friday.

“We don’t even have demographics now for 36 communities across P.E.I.”

The province released the 2012 provincial annual statistical review Friday, which provides a snapshot of the Island’s economy, population and social makeup.

This is the first statistical review since a change in the way Statistics Canada performs its census. The federal government replaced the mandatory, long-form census with a voluntary survey in 2011.

At that time, Sheridan raised concern the change would affect P.E.I.’s data.

With one of the lowest response rates in the country – 60.4 per cent – Sheridan says now that’s just what has happened.

“We did write to (federal treasury board president) Tony Clement originally and talked about our concerns, and our concerns are exactly as we predicted,” Sheridan said.

That’s why the province is now once again calling on the feds to reverse this policy and reinstate the mandatory long-form census.

He was critical of the Harper government for making the change in the first place, pointing out the voluntary survey cost $30 million more to administer than its long-form predecessor in 2006.

When Statistics Canada released the data from the 2011 survey in March, a warning was included to not compare the 2011 data with results from the census in 2006 due to potentially higher non-response rates.

The agency said the National Household Survey was most likely to differ from the mandatory long-form census in areas of fewer than 25,000 people.

Missing from 36 smaller communities in P.E.I. is demographic information such as ages, births and deaths. Other detailed information such as ethnic background and education information is also unavailable for those smaller communities.

Sheridan says the province has sufficient data to make provincial funding and planning decisions, but says the missing detailed stats will have a negative impact on municipalities and businesses for future community planning.

“All of this information is so informative when you’re trying to make good planning decisions and it makes it very difficult when you don’t have that,” Sheridan said.

The province is drafting its concerns complete with details about what information is now missing from P.E.I.’s statistical data in a letter to the federal government.

“It’s not really something that we expect from our Canadian government and we’ll push them to return to the mandatory census.”




Organizations: Statistics Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • simple solution
    June 23, 2013 - 23:11

    Wes Sheridan is the Minister of Finance. He has access through provincial income tax information, not to mention property tax information, sales tax information, and info from every drivers license and vehicle registration, health card, etc. about each and every resident of Prince Edward Island. He's just too stupid to realize this fact - something that a 10th grade student with training in MS Access could assemble. PEI makes more sense as a municipality in a much larger province anyway. Get rid of all these small municipalities and make PEI a single municipality.

  • Observer
    June 23, 2013 - 07:09

    For those of you concerned with protecting your privacy let me remind you that by being active on this and other sites you are already opening the doors for more information to be gathered about you than any census form could offer. Only this time you have no idea who is gathering and exactly what they can find out about you by following the electronic trail.

  • don
    June 22, 2013 - 20:52

    what we need is a "Forensic audit" into this governments books starting from the 1st day they got elected.

  • Dick Penderyn
    June 22, 2013 - 13:31

    When Mr Sheridan writes his concerns to the federal government he might want to mention that failure to fill in a long-form census could be the reason why Mr Duffey along with others do not know where their principal residence is !

  • penner
    June 22, 2013 - 12:16

    What a joke! When has the Minister made a good planning decision. This is pure politics, give the people a break Mr. HST.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    June 22, 2013 - 10:08

    As societies fail, it is always the small people at the edges, the fringe of societies, that get hurt first, get neglected, or worse. That is how the Feds look at the Maritimes. The Maritimes is Canada's poor side of town, so to speak. The Feds get to maintain and build on their existing power structures as long as the peasants don't revolt. By pleasing the MOST of the PEASANTS, those from BC through Quebec, their power structure remains intact. Our country is tied to the USA economically, the USA is pumping $85 to $100 billion dollars per month into their economy, just to keep their economy going. Every dollar they print lowers the value of the dollars both in their pockets and in ours. Why doesn't gov do something about that? We need to start measuring the Canadian dollar against a different, more stable, currency, if there one.

    • Attitude
      June 23, 2013 - 08:46

      If you think off yourself as 'poor'...then you will always be poor.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    June 22, 2013 - 09:56

    The answer is simple. The long form was dropped deliberately for this very reason, so that smaller communities, villages, & towns would find it more difficult to put proper planning into place. Garbage in, garbage out (small data in, small money justified) (big data in, more money justified). Not just the Feds but the provinces also want to do away with rural communities, so what better way than to make it very difficult to even count them, or to know their real needs. It's politically convenient that Sheridan can blame the Feds for this, thus giving him wiggle room on the hook, but it is STILL SHERIDAN'S RESPONSIBILITY to care for the UNCOUNTED and especially the poor in spirit. Here is a question, do our precious leaders know that this is all part of the United Nations Agenda 21? I hope our leaders are just uninformed and not just stupid, but I fear it is a combination of both. But hey, don't take my word for it, look it up for yourself. Do not worry, government cares for you and has your best interest at heart, as long as you are a multi national corporation, rich, and are counted.

  • In Which Way
    June 22, 2013 - 09:07

    In what way is it necessary other than to find the Max that he can tax the people and get away with . The goverment has as much information as they need on private people . Private means private & the people that still want the goverment to run their lives completely can still provide the information if they wish to . I choose not to as I expect nothing from the goverment . I support myself & believe this country & province would be a lot better off if others felt the same way .

  • Ken
    June 22, 2013 - 09:00

    Mystification is the hallmark of conservative thinking from George Bush the elder to Harper the facts begin to vapourize and emotion leads the way. The selfish foundations of conservatism are anchored in fear, uncertainty and doubt. Detailed, accurate census information is like kryptonite to the Tory agenda. So, no long form, that fine data is irritating to Harper's eyes.

  • concerned
    June 22, 2013 - 08:15

    I call on the minister to reinstate the 100's of millions of dollars his government has recklessly spent over the last 5 years.

  • Uncle Wally
    June 22, 2013 - 08:00

    Finance Minister Wes Sheridan is correct. Maybe, sort of . . . it depends. Let's not forget that the data is only as valuable as what's done with it; lest we forget, witness Plan B. Which should remind us of an adage: When you give a child a hammer, the whole world can become a nail.

  • johnthames
    June 22, 2013 - 07:53

    Hey Wes, that's how Steve wants it. No data, no evidence, so no action. Steve does not like data.... now you have none on 36 communities Wes. Steve is anti-data and anti-evidence, unless it supports his con agenda, but we all know that, and most of us know Steve's policies are not good for PEI.

  • Cathe
    June 22, 2013 - 07:44

    I have filled out these forms in the past...it it invasive and degrading. Isn't there enough monitoring by the government without forcing us to this indignity. The fact that a lot of people did not respond to the survey shows that we are sick and tired of being under the microscope. Despite the information the government is not helping or listening to the normal "Joes". It almost appears that the information in reality is being used against us...the government has shown itself to be untrustworthy with a lot of self interests. Mr. Harper has heard our issues and has responded by giving us a choice which is more than what I can see coming from this PEI Government who tries to tell us that black is white and jamming things down our throats without regards to our rights as human beings. There is too little sensitivity from this government and very little privacy. Our input and desires and needs are ignored when we have real issues that concern us so why should we roll over and show our belly just because you say so. Gets lost Mr. Premier!

  • Why don't
    June 22, 2013 - 07:00

    Now why do I not trust what Sheridan is saying. Hm. Maybe prov govt is using this as an excuse to cut back on even more funding to rural PEI.

  • don
    June 22, 2013 - 02:44

    ISLANDLADY. and it means less money for wes to help out the liberal family and friends. and if a person was to give wes for example one billion dollars we would still be in the hole. as he would give it away donate to off island big companies.

  • don
    June 21, 2013 - 23:32

    wes must need more money for the liberal group of family and friends.

  • islandlady
    June 21, 2013 - 22:45

    I'm still mystified as to why the long form census was dropped. Surely the feds can't believe that Canadians would ever trust a private corporation to collect such data. What the long form gives in info is not just interesting - it is invaluable for planners of any kind.