Edmonton

Fort McMurray evacuees exempted from official Canada Census deadline

Displaced residents from Fort McMurray have one less worry on their minds after Statistics Canada announced they will be exempt from filling out this year's census.

Statistics Canada is making exceptions for people in the Fort McMurray area displaced by the wildfire.

Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees find refuge in Lac La Biche. (CBC)

Displaced residents from Fort McMurray have one less worry on their minds after Statistics Canada announced they will be exempt from filling out this year's census.

Tuesday is the official census day across Canada, although households have been able to fill out the online questionnaire, or request the paper version, since May 2. The specific census date is set to provide an accurate 'snapshot' of Canada at a given moment. 
The latest census, recorded in 2016, shows Indigenous language speakers who identify that language as their mother tongue dropped from 30,895 to 28,340. (CBC)

In light of the city-wide evacuation in Fort McMurray, however, Statistics Canada has ruled evacuees do not need to complete this year's census questionnaire, adding that census collection for them is being suspended "indefinitely."

Processes to include the population of the Fort McMurray area will be determined at a later date, the Statistics Canada website states.

Families and friends who have taken in Fort McMurray residents should not to include the evacuees in their own household's census information.

The census collects demographic information on every person living in Canada. That information is then used by governments, businesses, associations, community organizations and others to make important decisions at the municipal, provincial and the federal levels.

Results from the census are also used to help inform payment allocation at all levels of government. 
One in four households will be asked to fill out the long-form census. (CBC)

One in four randomly selected households in Canada will receive the 36-page long-form questionnaire known as the National Household Survey, while the remainder of Canadians will receive the 10-question short version.

Both are mandatory.

Under Section 31 of the Statistics Act, the consequence for failing to provide information to a mandatory census or falsely answering is liable to a summary conviction carrying a fine of up to $500, imprisonment of up to three months, or both.

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