Calgary census opens but canvassers will wait until after Alberta election

Election season is often a busy time for door-to-door visits and phone calls, as parties reach out to meet voters. City staffers will hit streets after provincial voting wraps up.

City staff delay collecting data door-to-door

Access codes for the Calgary census are in the mail but you won't see door-to-door canvassers stopping by until the end of the month. (Leslie Kramer/CBC)

Calgary has started collecting for its annual census but you won't see any door-to-door canvassers until after the Alberta election is over.

The city will also suspend the typical phone call reminders to encourage residents to fill out the survey. Both phone calls and door-to-door collection will start April 22.

Election season is often a busy time for door-to-door visits and phone calls, as parties reach out to meet voters.

Access codes in the mail

In the meantime, the city will mail access codes to each household. People can use those to fill out the census online.

The census collects data about citizens to track demographics, including new births. That information is used to plan services, roads and even predict enrolment in schools. Other levels of government use the data for planning and to determine per capita grants.

A version is posted online for members of the public to use, as well. It can be downloaded or viewed on maps, for instance, back to 1999.

The data collection is kept private and secure, city clerk Laura Kennedy said Tuesday, and the publicly released report in July won't identify individuals.

New gender option

The 2019 census includes, for the first time, a third option for gender: an "other" category. More options are coming in the future, Kennedy said.

"It is very important that we allow Calgarians to identify with other than the traditional male or female," she said. "But unfortunately we ran out of time to actually fully integrate a list, but we are working on that for 2020."

The city's 311 staff members have been briefed to answer questions on the census, including to process requests for in-person assistance to complete the census ahead of the door-to-door canvassing that starts later this month.

The 2018 census found the city grew by 1.69 per cent over the previous year.

With files from Livia Manywounds


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