- Statistics Canada struggled to study almost 600 First Nation and Inuit neighborhoods.
- Briefing notes received by The Canadian Press through access-to-information decree.
Federal officials challenged the quality of the 2021 census data for Indigenous neighborhoods after collection measures were hindered by factors such as finding unmarked residential school graves.
Briefing notes received by The Canadian Press through access-to-information legislation disclose Statistics Canada’s struggle to analyze almost 600 First Nation and Inuit neighborhoods.
The documents were framed for Indigenous Services Canada — the department that finances housing on resources and other infrastructure and social programs.
Before October, weeks after the closely five-month census window shut on Sept. 24, officials offered an update to the department’s deputy minister. While the overall answer rate was 98 percent, it was about 85 percent for Indigenous communities.
That was down from 92 percent in the 2016 census year.
“While data collection marks have exceeded anticipations given the possibilities, queries remain regarding data quality,” it read.
“Lower data quality will probably restrict the power to develop a soundproof base for decision-making, whether federal, regional or Indigenous governments, utilizing the 2021 census data.”
Indigenous Services Canada has not yet returned a proposal for comment.
Improvements halted in 2021
Every five years in Canada, the census is done to gather population and demographic data that helps governments make budget decisions.
Communities also depend on it for infrastructure planning.
Statistics Canada representative Peter Frayne said in the last two census years, the number of reserves not quite counted had dropped to 14 in 2016, down from 36 in 2011.
In 2021, that figure shot up to 63, with Frayne telling the COVID-19 outbreak, connected with forest fires and heatwaves, affected outcomes.
Source – cbc.ca