By Marianne Curtis
Those that have yet to fill out their census forms will have an opportunity to still participate when enumerators start knocking on doors in June to collect the information.
During May Canadians were encouraged to fill out the 2011 census forms either on paper or online. Those that did not respond will still have a chance in June and local officials are encouraging everyone to be counted.
The City of Steinbach and the municipalities of La Broquerie, Ste. Anne and Hanover strongly encourage all households that have yet to participate in this year’s census to do so because it determines the amount of provincial and federal funding that communities will receive.
“With everyone’s participation, we will maximize our federal and provincial support and ensure the creation and continuance of first-rate programs and projects in our communities,” stated Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen.
The census includes every person living in Canada as well as Canadians who are abroad. When completing a questionnaire, respondents provide important information that is used to make decisions for neighborhoods, communities, province and the country.
Hanover reeve Stan Toews echoed Goertzen.
“The 2011 Census is important to our communities in order to identify the future needs of residents,” said Toews. “It is a source of revenue other than property taxes and everyone should participate.”
La Broquerie reeve Claude Lussier noted that in areas like ours, the census is very important because the area has seen significant growth over the past few years.
“Our communities have welcomed hundreds of new residents over the past ten years from within the province and from outside Canada,” added Lussier. “Information obtained through the census will guide us in the development of policies and services that can accurately reflect the needs and aspirations of our people.”
Ste. Anne reeve Art Bergman added that unreturned census information will affect how much provincial money is returned to communities for services. For example, a family of five that is not counted in the census is a loss of funding equalling about $550 each year. Since census’s take place every five years, this can amount to a loss of $2,750 in funding.
Communities depend on census information when planning for new schools, roads, waterworks, public transit, and police and fire services. Town planners use census information on households and families to plan current and future housing needs, health care, and day-care centres.
Residents that have not filled out their forms yet will still have an opportunity to do so. Starting the beginning of June, enumerators will visit homes to personally obtain the questionnaire. All residents of Canada are legally required to complete the census questionnaire, according to the Statistics Act.
Left to right: Mayor Chris Goertzen, Reeve Claude Lussier, Reeve Art Bergman, Reeve Stan Toews encourage residents to fill out their census forms.