THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA

(Established in 1893 )

August 5, 2010

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
House of Commons
Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6
Dear Prime Minister:

Re: Canada’s Census
The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) has long supported the economic value of home and volunteer work. We are currently deeply concerned about the plight of Canada’s census.

It has been the position of NCWC as of 1973 to urge the Government of Canada to seek ways and means of officially recognizing the contribution to the Canadian economy and to Canadian society of the homemaker or family home manager; and further that such classification be included in the Canadian Dictionary of Occupational Titles or whatever other appropriate publication is indicated and be used for the purpose of classification in the Census[1]

It has been NCWCs position as of 1974 to urge the Government of Canada to institute household surveys of a substantial size and complexity in order to establish the economic value of housework and volunteer community service for the purpose of inclusion in the Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations[2]

NCWC has held the position as of 1996 to call upon Statistics Canada in the next census to:
– Include questions on unpaid volunteer work
– Include the care of the disabled in the census question
– Expand the number of hours of eldercare that can be reported in the census question
– Continue to collect statistics on all unpaid work
– Develop and provide information on time use surveys[3]

NCWC is a staunch supporter of recognizing unpaid work in contributing to Canada’s vibrant economy. We are now writing to oppose the proposed changes to Canada’s census.

Through a voluntary census, information gathered becomes unreliable and unusable. Any other surveys on social services are also compromised without a reliable comparative demographic scale to be used alongside. To fill this information gap, a market-approach will likely develop whereby information analytics companies will find profit-motives to mine data gathered from consumers through credit card usage, tax returns, cell phone usage, internet usage, public records, credit reports, etc. and consolidate such data into demographic information packages for sale to municipalities, small businesses, school boards, ministries, etc. The unpaid worker will likely remain hidden and fail to be valued by public policy-planners.

NCWC is deeply concerned for the welfare of the unpaid worker, particularly in the planning of social services delivery to children, women, the disabled and the elderly, among many others. We are writing for clarification on how the proposed changes to the Census will affect the usability and validity of future General Social Services surveys conducted by the Government.

Sincerely,

Mary Scott
Mary Scott, NCWC President

Text prepared by Rashmi Bhat, V.P., National Council of Women of Canada

CC: The Hon. Tony Clement, P.C., M.P., Minister of Industry
The Hon. Lawrence Cannon, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Rob Nicholson, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice
The Hon. Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Works and Government and Government Services and Minister for the Status of Women
Hon. Anita Neville, M.P., Opposition Critic, Status of Women

[1] http://www.ncwc.ca/pdf/1973_NCWC_Policies.pdf at page 3 of 5
[2] http://www.ncwc.ca/pdf/1974_NCWC_Policies.pdf at page 3 of 6
[3] http://www.ncwc.ca/pdf/1996_NCWC_Policies.pdf at page 5 of 8
The National Council of Women of Canada is a federation comprised of Local Councils, Provincial Councils, and National Organizations. Founded in 1893, it was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1914 and has been designated by the Government of Canada as being of national historic significance for its role in Canadian women’s history. For more information, consult our web site at www.ncwc.ca or contact our national office at #506, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1X3.

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