Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Census Issue

The Halifax Community Health Board feels strongly about the importance of the long form census. Below is the text of a letter sent to the Minister of Industry, Tony Clement.

August 16, 2010

Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry

Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

Dear Minister Clement,

We are writing to you on behalf of the Halifax Community Health Board, one of seven volunteer community health boards (CHBs) in the Capital District Health Authority (CDHA) in Nova Scotia. We believe that the decision to make the long form census document voluntary is a drastic change that will negatively affect the work that our Board does, along with all of the great work accomplished by our many community partners. Degrading the quality of the data available for the public good will make it more difficult for us and many other organizations working to improve the health of Canadians to identify the needs of our citizens, especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable.

Our health board acts as the eyes, ears, and voice for the health of the citizens of our area, and we work to foster community engagement in health. We work with CDHA to identify barriers to good health and wellness, and to find creative solutions for transforming our health for the future. To complete this very important work, strong data and research are incredibly important. In 2009/2010, the CHBs completed a Community Health Plan that identified eight key priority areas for improving the health of our citizens. We based our plan on a survey conducted using a modified version of the Canadian Community Health Survey used by Statistics Canada. But beyond this, we used dozens of other data sources and research. However, without strong data from Statistics Canada, our work would not have been possible.

We worry that a lack of solid, robust, and reliable data will not allow community members, organizations, businesses, and government to create the most effective programs, services, policies and legislation possible. This will directly affect the health of all of our citizens, and we strongly urge you to continue the status quo of a mandatory long form census.


Kyle DeYoung Andrea Hilchie-Pye

Co-Chair, HCHB Co-Chair, HCHB

CC Michael Ignatieff
CC Stephen Harper
CC Megan Leslie
CC Jack Layton
CC Gilles Duceppe
CC Elizabeth May
CC Geoff Regan
CC The Coast/The Chronicle Herald

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