Statistics Canada Hiring 35,000 For 2016 Census That Will Replace Harper's Voluntary Survey

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Out-of-work Canadians may want to hit up Statistics Canada for a temp job this month, as the data agency is looking to hire 35,000 people for this year’s census.

Of those jobs, 1,400 will be at StatsCan’s census operations centers in Ottawa and Gatineau, the agency said on its website. The remaining jobs, mostly for census-takers, will be located across the entire country.

The census jobs will begin their tenures in April or May. But StatsCan is also planning to hold early enumeration in some rural parts of the country, and those jobs have to be in place by February. The agency is offering a pay rate of $16.31 to $19.91 per hour.

Not A ‘Survey’ Anymore

Notably, the notification on the StatsCan site doesn’t refer to a “survey,” but rather a “census.”

The previous Harper government scrapped the twice-a-decade mandatory census in favour of a voluntary national household survey, but the new Trudeau government undid that change in November.

Many statisticians argued the voluntary survey provided lower-quality data that was not comparable with the higher-quality data from earlier censuses. In some communities, the response rate to the voluntary survey was so low that no data exists on these locations from the 2011 survey.

"We need good, reliable data," Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said last fall when announcing the return of the census.

navdeep bains
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, says Canada needs "good, reliable" data on households in order to set effective policies. (Canadian Press photo)

Boost To Employment

If nothing else, the hiring of 35,000 temporary workers will give Canada an employment boost at a time when hiring has been lacklustre, and unemployment has been rising in oil-producing provinces.

Last fall’s election had a similar effect. Much of the improvement in job conditions seen in the third quarter of 2014 was attributed to temporary election hiring.

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