Evidence of meeting #51 for Official Languages in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was information.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Connie Graziadei  Assistant Chief Statistician, Census, Operations and Communications, Statistics Canada
Johanne Denis  Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada
Larry Shute  Deputy Director General, Economic Research and Policy Analysis Branch, Strategic Policy Sector, Department of Industry
Ronald Bisson  Senior Manager, Réseau national de formation en justice
Karine McLaren  Director, Centre de traduction et de terminologie juridiques, Faculté de droit, Université de Moncton, and member, Réseau national de formation en justice
Rénald Rémillard  Director General, Centre canadien de français juridique inc. et Fédération des associations de juristes d'expression française de common law inc., and member, Réseau national de formation en justice

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Chief Statistician, Census, Operations and Communications, Statistics Canada

Connie Graziadei

Absolutely.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

She will take care of sharing them with the members.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would also like to make a brief comment.

Ms. Graziadei, you made the following proposal:

a survey is better than covering all the population.

If I understood you correctly, you believe that it is preferable to do a survey when we are addressing sub-populations. But it seems to me that this should be done as part of a census.

I would like to know the reasons behind this assertion.

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Chief Statistician, Census, Operations and Communications, Statistics Canada

Connie Graziadei

There are some questions that reflect only part of the population. It's better to ask those questions directly to the subpopulation, as we have done in the past. I'll use as an example the aboriginal peoples survey, which is now in the field. If we ask questions of all of the population or the general population specific to that sub-community, the information doesn't resonate—

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

This concerns indigenous people or first nations more than francophone minorities or anglophone minorities in Quebec. This is the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Without neglecting the first nations, who are important, we are trying to serve the official languages well and to ensure that all rights-holders receive what they have the right to receive in the school boards. Everywhere in Quebec, there are English speakers. It is necessary for these people to have access to education in their language, just as French speakers outside of Quebec must have this access in their own language. In my opinion, the rights-holders are very important.

Could a survey give the same result?

11:40 a.m.

Assistant Chief Statistician, Census, Operations and Communications, Statistics Canada

Connie Graziadei

Yes, because we could use the answers from the census, for example, answers from English speakers living in Quebec, to conduct a survey addressed directly to that community.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Denis Paradis

Thank you.

Mr. Arseneault, you have the floor.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Ms. Graziadei, Ms. Denis, and Mr. Shute.

I think we are fortunate to have before us the cream of the crop from Statistics Canada. It is not always fun to be in your position, but we try to be as pleasant as possible.

March 9th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

We try.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

I don't want to be redundant by asking you all the questions that my colleagues asked you. However, as my Acadian colleague, Mr. Samson, said at the outset, your remarks are worrisome. They are a bit in the same vein as those of Mr. Corbeil, namely that you are listening, that you have heard us, and that you are going to conduct tests. But we have lost generations of young students in francophone or anglophone minority communities because Statistics Canada wasn't able to enumerate the rights-holders effectively and adequately.

My mother worked for Statistics Canada at a time when you had to knock on doors and ask people how many refrigerators, children, and cars they had. But in this case, let's put on our blinders and confine ourselves to the context of the rights-holders.

I asked Mr. Corbeil two specific questions. In fact, you have just confirmed his responses in a sense, but in a different way. In these questions, I asked Mr. Corbeil whether he had consulted specialists on the matter. He answered me by saying that he was ready to hear from everyone, all the departments and agencies. But this did not answer my question. In fact, I had asked him if he had consulted specialists on the matter. A good many constitutional experts could perhaps help Statistics Canada realize what its obligations are towards rights-holders.

I will ask you the question again. Has your department consulted such experts?

I would like to have a brief answer, yes or no.

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

Mr. Corbeil works continuously with experts on the matter. He, himself, is an expert, as you know.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

No, no.

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

He is a Canadian and international expert.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

I am talking about experts outside Statistics Canada.

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

He works with Mr. Landry, and he has worked with several stakeholders in the field.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Agreed.

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

The answer is yes.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Perfect.

Do you feel that we really need 11 more questions in order to determine the number of rights-holders under section 23 of the charter?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

I cannot comment. Mr. Corbeil is the expert, so that is for him to do. That is part of the tests and trials we will do.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

There is another question I asked Mr. Corbeil that worried me. From what I understood, for 2018, there will be tests on 75,000 people. Is that correct?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

I think it is actually 50,000 people.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

No matter. Will these tests take place in 2018?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Census Subject Matter, Social and Demographic Statistics, Statistics Canada

Johanne Denis

They will take place in 2019.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

I asked him whether, in the event the tests are not conclusive, it would be possible to have, for 2021, a form that would comply with the obligations set out in section 23 of the charter. I still do not understand the answer.