The framework for determining the content of the census program is based on a proven process that draws on experience from previous Canada census programs, the United Nations' census principles, and approaches developed in other countries. This framework determines the priorities in the census content, in keeping with users' information needs, the burden on the respondent, privacy issues, and operational considerations. This framework is used and rigorously applied during the consultation process with data users and partners.
Starting in fall 2017, Statistics Canada will be implementing an official public consultation process. Following the consultation and the assessment of needs according to the framework, any changes proposed to the census content will be rigorously evaluated, including qualitative and quantitative testing, at the high quality standards of Statistics Canada. This rigorous and scientific approach will make it possible among other things to evaluate the effect of new content on the existing content
As to gathering additional linguistic data, Mr. Jean-Pierre Corbeil stated in his appearance on February 14, 2017, that efforts that had been made in the 1993 and 1998 census tests to assess the feasibility of including a question on the language of instruction of people aged 15 and over. The results of these tests showed that it was extremely difficult to obtain that information, and that there were major gaps and inconsistencies.
I will now briefly outline two approaches that could replace the census and that could be used to collect data about rights-holders. As the national statistics agency, it is our responsibility to respond to information needs by recommending the appropriate tools to precisely and accurately report on rights-holders.
First, similar to what was done in 2006, a survey could be conducted in 2021 and the answers to the 2021 population census could be used to select a sample of individuals belonging to official language minorities. Funding would be needed for this survey and the sample size would be determined by the geographical level required. Statistical methods and techniques such as modelling and oversampling could be used to estimate the population of rights-holders for small geographical areas, such as areas served by school boards.
As to the second approach, Statistics Canada has for a number of years collected a wide range of data from across the country, in collaboration with the provinces and territories. Each year, the agency receives data from every province and territory about kindergarten, primary and high school enrolment. If the provinces were able to collect standardized data on the language of instruction of parents, brothers and sisters, and provided that data to Statistics Canada, it would be possible to enumerate rights-holders using administrative data.
Statistics Canada has already begun discussions on the enumeration of rights-holders with board members of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada. In the interest of upholding the spirit and implementing section 41 of the Official Languages Act, Statistics Canada is committed to developing and implementing the best strategy for collecting data on the subject.