Anglo groups thrilled over Canadian census
Anglo community groups are thrilled over this week’s Canadian census.
The detailed snapshot the mandatory census provides is crucial for policy makers, says Martine Lamontagne, regional director of Statistics Canada.
“For example, is there a school that should be built in this community, should there be a hospital built in this community? Should there be more services in a third language in this area of a community?” she explained.
Anglophone groups say it can only help the community.
“We have to have the evidence to tell the government – federal and provincial – this is what our community is about. And when you don’t have the evidence, you can't make the case,” said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director of Quebec Community Groups Network.
The Harper government made the 2011 version voluntary, citing privacy concerns. Fewer than 70 per cent of households filled out that voluntary version five years ago. Statistics Canada says the numbers were even lower for visible minority and low-income families.
“That’s where in – English-speaking Quebec – we have a lot of our folks, and our folks aren't filling these forms out, so these most vulnerable people are not taken into account,” said Martin-Laforge.
Agape director Kevin Macleod is working to convince Laval’s Cite de la Sante to hire more bilingual staff as the English-speaking population grows in the area surrounding the city’s only hospital.
For his group, a complete, up-to-date portrait of the community is crucial.
“Especially when the numbers are working in our favour,” he said. “It’s important for us to know that.”