The information collected by the NHS replaces the data from the long-form census questionnaire, but most of the same topics in the 2006 census are covered.
The long-form survey was eliminated after the Conservative government cited concerns about personal freedoms in 2010. Anyone not filling out the survey could have faced fines or jail time.
The 2011 NHS collected social and economic information that communities need to plan services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, roads and public transportation, and skills training for employment, Statistics Canada says.
Statistics Canada says that in its initial planning, it assumed a response rate for a mandatory 2011 long-form census of 94 per cent, identical to the 2006 census.
For the NHS, 4.5 million households received questionnaires. The final response rate was 68.6 per cent, or about three million people, and the agency says that's similar to rates on other voluntary surveys conducted by Statistics Canada.
Data to be used for social planning
Statistics Canada says social and economic data from the NHS will be used by communities to plan services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, roads and public transportation, and skills training for employment.
The first part of the survey covers:
- Aboriginal peoples.
- Place of birth.
- Ethnic origin.
- Visible minorities.
On immigration, for example, the new data will show where newcomers to Canada came from, what languages they speak and where they settled.
In the last census, immigration was increasingly from Asia, rather than Europe.
The other two parts of the survey will be released on June 26 (covering labour, education, place of work, commuting to work, mobility and migration and language of work) and Aug. 14 (providing data on income, earnings, housing and shelter costs).