Calgary to experiment with online civic census next year

Calgary is going to try taking its annual census to the internet to see if it can save time and money.

After 3 weeks census takers will go to homes that have not responded

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi put forward the $250,000 motion. (CBC)

Calgary is going to try taking its annual census to the internet next year to see if it can save time and money.

The city normally hires about 1,100 temporary census-takers to go door-to-door to get an accurate count of Calgarians.

On Monday, city council approved a $250,000 plan put forward by Mayor Naheed Nenshi to collect census information on the internet for three weeks, and then send census-takers door-to-door to get those addresses that haven't reported.

“We have really, really good response rates on the census, well above 90 per cent response rates, but as many people know it is often a laborious process,” he said.

“I had to phone my census-taker a couple of times to try and catch her because I wasn't home when she came by — all those little blue stickies. This will really allow people to go online, provide the information we need.”

Nenshi says if the experiment works as well as it has in other cities, it will be likely made permanent.

“This will really allow people to go online, provide the information we need, allow us to get a little more information and then allow us to focus the census-takers only on the people who have not already gone online so it should save money and give us better information."

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