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Prepare to be counted

Prepare to be counted when the Canadian Census hits mailboxes this month.

Prepare to be counted when the Canadian Census hits mailboxes this month.

The short form census is being conducted by Statistics Canada, country wide starting May 3 and local residents should look out for a yellow census package in their mailbox.

The package will contain information on how to complete the 2011 census online, or alternately provides a toll free number to call to request a paper copy to fill out and return by post.

Census enumerators will also conduct personal interviews on most First Nation reserves.

A head count has already been completed in the Northern communities of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Labrador as well as some communities in Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

Census enumerators visited more than 27,000 households in these areas and conducted the census by personal interview. According to Statistics Canada early counting in these locations ensures that residents of winter communities are included in the census count before they relocate to smaller and more scattered fishing and hunting camps for the summer.

The census is conducted in Canada every five years and by law requires all Canadians including any newborn babies and those Canadians overseas as well as those with temporary resident permits, study permits or work permits and their dependents to be counted.

Population estimates obtained from the census are used to allocate payments from the federal government to the provinces and territories and then from the provinces to municipalities across the country.

Village of Burns Lake chief administrative officer Sheryl Worthing said to Lakes District News that it is vital local residents fill out the census.

"The Village of Burns Lake receives an annual small community protection grant from the province and the grant is calculated based on population statics and assessment values," she said.

"The province contributes $50 per resident up to 5,000 residents and accurate population statistics would go a long way in providing additional funding to the Village of Burns Lake," Worthing said.

According to Worthing, without the provincial government's small community protection grant general municipal taxes would have been increased by 36 per cent last year in order to provide similar levels of service.

"Council for the Village of Burns Lake strongly encourages everyone to participate in the 2011 census," said Worthing, who added that council has also been working hard to lobby the province to include population statistics for both the Burns Lake Band and the Lake Babine Nation. "The small community protection grant currently does not include those population statistics," she added.

Communities also depend on census information when planning for new schools, roads, waterworks, public transit, and police and fire services. Data from the 2011 census will be used to determine the number of members of parliament.

The 2011 census will consist of the same eight questions that appeared on the 2006 census short form questionnaire, with the addition of two questions on language.

Questions range from date of birth, marital status, the language you speak and the type of home you reside in.

The information that was previously collected by the long form census will now be collected as part of the new voluntary National Household Survey.

The National Household Survey will be conducted within four weeks of the May 2011 census and will include approximately 4.5 million households.

Questions on the National Household Survey range from religious views, educational qualifications, occupation, wage, child care costs, income tax payment amounts and ancestry.

There are approximately 73 questions on the voluntary survey.

Statistics Canada say that the information provided from both the census and the National Household Survey will become part of the historic record of Canada when information is released to the National Archives after 92 years.

If Canadians chose by ticking a box on the census and survey, in 2103 the information provided will be able to be publicly accessed.

For more information, or to view the questions on both the 2011 census or the National Household Survey go to