Scrapped mandatory census cuts even deeper for disability advocacy group
Laurie Beachell, national co-ordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities
Council of Canadians with Disabilities – Statistics Canada’s Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) is the most important and comprehensive source of disability statistics in Canada and is seen as a best practice model internationally. CCD is concerned that Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has not yet committed funding for a PALS for the 2011 census.
It is crucial that PALS continue so that governments and community have the information and research needed to develop good policy and programs. It should be noted that upon ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Canada will be obligated to collect data on the socioeconomic status of persons with disabilities.
PALS and its predecessor HALS have been, and remain, extremely valuable survey tools. No other survey provides the range and depth of statistically reliable information about:
Making the long-form census voluntary instead of mandatory is not the first change to the way Statistics Canada collects data since the Conservatives took office. Several surveys have been discontinued.
The Participation and Activity Limitation Survey, Statscan’s major data collection on individuals with disabilities, was cut by the government department that paid for it, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
The Harper government has told advocacy groups a census-related survey that gathers statistics about disabilities will eventually be replaced by a database culled from tax information, welfare rolls and similar databanks – but there’s skepticism about whether that information will be as reliable. Continue reading →