It’s been 10 years since the census featured a mandatory long-form questionnaire. Long form questionnaire is back for the 2016 census.
Statistics Canada is looking to hire 35,000 workers to conduct the 2016 long-form census — and many of those new jobs will be in northern Ontario.
Stats Canada will be hiring both enumerators and crew leaders for the next census, which will be held in May.
“For northeastern Ontario, we’re looking about 350 jobs,” said Gary Dillon, director of Ontario with Statistics Canada.
“For all of northern Ontario, we’re looking for about 1,000 people to hire. We hire in all communities big and small. We’re also working closely with the First Nations community leaders to get the word out about jobs.”
The data that was lost then, will be restored, and will be more specific when it comes to northern Ontario communities, said Tomasz Mrozewski, a data librarian at Laurentian University.
“So really detailed, localized, income data … we’re only going to get through the long form census,” he said.
Mrozewski said the reintroduction of the long-form census is a good thing for northern Ontario, but with a caveat:
According to StatsCan, the National Household Survey was 15 per cent more expensive than the long-form census, with poorer results
There were glaring errors in the NHS with respect to income data and immigration data For northern Ontario specifically, the census is the ONLY look we get at socioeconomic data; other surveys cover provinces and large cities but for scholars studying the North this is the only reliable look we get at our area Restoration of the long-form census is great progress, but not everything we need to get a good insight into the North.
“In other words, [the census] is necessary, but not sufficient for good governance, policy making and research,” Mrozewski said.
Moratorium on parking spot permits could extend to Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke
Front-yard parking pads could be banned across the city in a move aimed at preserving streetscapes and protecting neighbourhoods against storm-water runoff, two Toronto councillors say.
Homeowners hoping to pave a parking spot on their front lawns require a permit from the city. Currently, there’s a moratorium on installing the pads in the old city of Toronto and few applications get approval. That moratorium could expand to Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke in the near future.
Some homeowners have managed to get city permits, but say the process was both difficult and expensive.
“The current bylaw is a joke,” Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong told CBC News.
“We want a moratorium on people plowing under their front yards and putting parking in.”
Coun. Shelley Carroll, who also supports the ban, said paving over front lawns damages the community atmosphere of neighbourhoods and turns streets into a “sea of cars.”
“There should be a space in a suburban environment for communing with your neighbours.”
Carroll said paved front lawns also make storms more dangerous. She said the city is considering a new storm water runoff charge that’s based on the percentage of paved surfaces people have on their lots.
Should property owners get a say?
But for Mark Maclean, one of the few to win approval to install a parking pad, installing the structure was a safety decision. Now, he explains, his kids won’t have to walk onto the street to get into the car.
“There is no number we can attach to the fact our kids can get out of the front door and not have to be unsafe,” Maclean said, referring to the $10,000 landscaping bill that came with the parking area.
Maclean said it took him two years of negotiating with the city before he won approval for a parking pad outside his midtown home.
He said he thinks the city should be flexible in dealing with parking pads in the future.
In some areas, he said, the moratorium is a viable option, but at the same time he believes homeowners should be able to lobby for a parking spot.
“I think every homeowner on their private property should have an opportunity to make their case,” he said.
A citywide ban on new parking pads would require the approval of the entire city council.
Feds are willing to allow it in Quebec which has “a comprehensive scheme” to address the issue, but the rest of the country needs more time to draft laws, a federal lawyer has told judges in the Supreme Court, which earlier struck down the criminal ban.
OTTAWA—Ontario is scrambling to catch up to Quebec where doctors could soon legally aid terminally ill adult patients kill themselves after a stunning offer by federal lawyers to recognize — for now — the legality of Quebec’s right-to-die regime.
Federal lawyer Robert Frater made the surprise concession Monday at a Supreme Court of Canada hearing, where he sought a six-month extension for federal politicians to rewrite assisted suicide laws to provide more “clarity” to protect vulnerable people.
Ontario supports the federal bid for more time and says it, too, is drafting new medical guidelines.
Frater said only Quebec has come up with a “comprehensive scheme” to address concerns of physicians and patients after the high court ruled last year that people suffering a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” must be allowed to seek a doctor’s help to end their lives.
The Supreme Court ruled last winter a federal criminal ban on assisted suicide was unconstitutional, struck it down and gave Ottawa a year to rewrite it. That ruling takes effect Feb. 6.
On Monday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government has asked the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which regulates the medical profession, to draft guidelines for doctors that could kick in right away if the court refuses to grant more time.
“We are acutely aware that if there is no extension that the province needs a protocol in place,” Wynne said. “If there is an extension, we will work with colleagues across the country and with the federal government to work on what that national protocol will be. But in the absence of that we will be prepared to bring that forward and obviously we make that public in due course.”
Ontario lawyer Malliha Wilson told the high court one issue under review is whether doctor-assisted suicide is a right only adults should have, or whether a “mature minor” should also have access. Quebec’s law grants access only to terminally ill adult patients.
Frater said Quebec’s law or any other provincial right-to-die regime may not, in the end, conform to Parliament’s ultimate approach. Not all provinces may even have a complete scheme by that time. But he said it is a reasonable period for legislators to deal with the “difficult” issues involved. “Everyone is doing their level best,” he said.
The federal offer to exempt Quebec doctors from criminal liability during the six months was a surprising move for two reasons: Ottawa previously supported an injunction to delay the Quebec law from taking effect; and it means the criminal law would remain in effect outside Quebec only.
It took several judges aback and prompted sharp questions.
Justices Russell Brown and Michael Moldaver asked if Ottawa was ceding to Quebec its criminal-law making power. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin questioned Frater whether Ottawa’s position was “a matter of political acceptance or do you accept it from a legal point of view? . . . There still is this niggling problem, isn’t there, of whether the federal government would ever have to legislate if everybody did the same thing as Quebec?”
Justice Andromache Karakatsanis asked if it meant whether any conduct that complied with Quebec’s law would not be considered criminal. Justice Rosalie Abella challenged Frater why the same exemption shouldn’t be extended to individuals anywhere in the country who could persuade a superior court judge they met the conditions set out by the high court in its landmark 2014 Carter decision.
Brown, the last judge named by Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, raised the possibility that Ottawa could grant itself an extension by simply exercising the constitutional “override” clause — a rarely-used and controversial power that allows legislators to sidestep the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“In theory at least if this court doesn’t grant an extension, can’t the minister ask parliament effectively for a suspension by way of exercising the override?” asked Brown.
Frater hesitated before saying the government “has said nothing other than that it will respect this court’s judgment about providing access in some form.”
He clarified that Ottawa has eyed an exemption only for doctors who act in Quebec under that law. He said a case-by-case personal exemption for individuals would not be a “carefully designed and monitored scheme” that the high court’s 2014 ruling called for.
Grace Pastine, litigation director for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which led the legal challenge, said it “simply makes no sense that individuals who are critically ill and suffering could be able to access physician-assisted dying in Quebec but nowhere else in the country. What we’re saying is there has to be consistency for the rule of law to mean anything here.”
She said personal exemptions are not an ideal way to proceed because so few Canadians would be able to afford to litigate their right to die.
Lawyer Joseph Arvay, who represented the families of Gloria Taylor and Lee Carter — the two women in whose name the case was brought — called the federal position “nonsense.”
He said there was no risk of harm to the public if the ruling took effect on Feb. 6 because it already set out limitations or conditions in which physician-assisted suicide would be lawful, and that there would be no vacuum.
“You already read down (narrowed) the legislation. Why did you suspend (the effect of the ruling)? I don’t know that you needed to,” said Arvay. He suggested the federal government appears to be getting cold feet, and is not looking at how to implement the court decision but “whether to.”
Several judges disputed Arvay’s suggestion the ruling effectively drafted a new law. Moldaver said Parliament was given time to rewrite the law “to ensure so far as possible that we are not killing people who ought not to be killed.”
But Arvay said legislative procedural delays should not “trump” the constitutional rights of people who need physician-assisted dying.
“There’s not going to be a rush to the doctors’ offices to die on Feb. 6,” he said. “Most people don’t want to die . . . all physicians will be very reluctant to accede to the request unless a compelling case is made.
The judges reserved their decision.
With files from Robert Benzie
Options for the Supreme Court of Canada:
1) NO. The judges could refuse Ottawa’s request to extend the criminal ban for another six months. Until any new law is passed, last year’s Supreme Court ruling would prevail after Feb. 6. It said assisted suicide is constitutional when it occurs under a physician’s care, for consenting adults who determine they cannot tolerate the physical or psychological suffering brought on by a severe, incurable illness, disease or disability.
2) YES. The judges could grant Ottawa’s request for six more months and subject doctors who assist someone in committing suicide to criminal liability, except in the province of Quebec where physician-assisted dying would be legal under provincial health law once litigation over an injunction is resolved.
3) YES, BUT. The judges could grant Ottawa’s request to extend the criminal law for six more months, but allow individuals to go to court to get a judicial exemption to allow doctor-assisted suicide on a case-by-case basis in the meantime.
OTTAWA – If Statistics Canada was surprised by the Conservatives before the last census, this time it was ready for the unexpected.
Stephen Harper’s government revealed it would kill the mandatory long-form questionnaire less than a year before the 2011 census was mailed out and two years after an election campaign where the topic never came up. The statistics agency scrambled to get a voluntary National Household Survey in place.
When the Liberals were sworn into office in November, one of their first orders of business was to announce the reinstatement of the long-form census.
The timeline seemed very tight — the first forms are to go out to residents in the North in February.
But Marc Hamel, the census program director general, says the agency had planned for risks associated with the 2016 census. One of those risks was if a new government decided to bring back the long questionnaire.
“It had already been in the public sphere that opposition parties last year were saying, if they were elected, they would bring back the mandatory long-form census, so we had started to look at how that would be possible,” Hamel said in an interview.
The agency decided to design the questionnaire in a more adaptable format.
Tweaks from past years
Rather than sending selected households separate pieces of mail with the short form and then the National Household Survey, the questionnaires were integrated into one document.
“That design was going to be efficient and it was going to work for both approaches,” said Hamel. “From that perspective, no redesign was required. We were simply able to move ahead with the same questionnaires that we had already designed for 2016.”
Also, because most Canadians fill out the census online — 54 per cent in 2011 — changing details in a computer system was not a major overhaul.
The letter that accompanies the questionnaires will allow the agency to underline that the long part is mandatory again. Census staff will also drive home the message.
Fewer people will have to fill out the long form than last time, one in four households rather than one in three with the NHS. Statistics Canada has had to print more short-form questionnaires as a result of the change.
The agency doesn’t think it will save money with fewer people getting the bigger package. It expects it will have more responses to process because of the return to the mandatory format.
The main challenge will come from adjusting to the data logistics of bringing back the long-form census. Bar codes help the agency keep track of where they drop off which forms and some of that work will have to be rejigged.
There will also be a public awareness campaign to make sure that people realize they need to fill out the forms. Hamel says the agency never really emphasizes the penalties associated with not filling out the forms — a $500 fine or up to three months in jail, or both.
“Census information is really important, and that’s where we put the focus,” said Hamel.
“What do we use the census information for, why is it important for communities, and why is it important for people to participate.”
Census day is May 10, and most people will begin receiving letters and packages on May 2.
Statistics Canada is also busy hiring, looking for about 35,000 workers to help with the census. Details are on its website at www.census.gc.ca.
The Ontario government is going to reach a little further into the pockets of drivers and vehicle owners in the new year.
The province will be moving forward with a series of driver and vehicle license fee increases set to go up on January 1st.
While driver’s license applications and renewal fees will remain unchanged, vehicle license validation, plate fees, trailers and farm vehicle permits will see owners having to shell out even more than what many already consider too much.
The annual fee for vehicle permit, number plate and validation fees for a trailer will increase from $53 to $59, while the cost of a license plate will go from $20 to $25.
The annual validation fee for heavy farm vehicles will see the biggest jump, up to $1,100 from $975. Smaller farm vehicles will go from $123 to $140.
In Southern Ontario, the cost of commercial vehicle validation for business or personal use will see an increase from $108 to $120.
The new year will also see the roll out of a new $50 fee for drivers that are required to attend demerit point interviews.