Aboriginal Peoples Technical Report, Census of Population, 2016
2. Data collection

The 2016 Census was conducted in May 2016. In November 2015, the government reinstated the mandatory long-form census questionnaire, which replaced the National Household Survey. Most households (75%) received the short-form census questionnaire, while one in four households (25%) received the long-form questionnaire.

For residents of private dwellings who completed a census questionnaire without the assistance of a Statistics Canada representative, the self-response rate was 88.8%. This did not include dwellings in canvasser enumeration areas or on Indian reserves.

For more information about the collection response rate, refer to the 2016 Census of Population collection response rates.

A collective dwelling refers to a commercial, institutional or communal dwelling. It may be identified as a collective by a sign on the premises, or by an enumerator speaking with a resident, person in charge, neighbour, etc. Collective dwellings include lodging or rooming houses, hotels, motels, tourist establishments, nursing homes, hospitals, staff residences, military bases, work camps, jails, group homes, etc.

In 2016, census short-form information was collected for the usual residents of institutional collective dwellings. Census short-form information was also collected for Canadian government employees (federal and provincial), members of the Canadian armed Forces and their families, and people living outside Canada.

Aboriginal people living in collective dwellings or institutions, and outside Canada, received a short-form census questionnaire; the short-form questionnaire did not include questions that allowed for the identification of the Aboriginal population. People who were homeless and not living in a shelter on Census Day were less likely to be enumerated.

For more information about the reference date and the census collection, refer to the Guide to the Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-304-X.

2.1 Collection methods

Respondents living outside Indian reserves and settlements; Métis settlements; or Inuit and remote communities had three response options:

One in four private dwellings received the long-form questionnaire (2A-L), while three in four dwellings received a short-form questionnaire (2A). Residents who wanted to be enumerated separately were able to fill out their own form by requesting a short-form questionnaire for individuals (3A).

Respondents living inside Indian reserves and settlements; Métis settlements; or Inuit and remote communities —where only the interview response option was offered—all households (100%) were invited to complete a long-form questionnaire (2A-R) for the household by interview. In these areas, the questionnaires were completed in person with an enumerator to increase the likelihood that there would be sufficient data available for small communities.

In some northern and remote areas of Canada, enumeration was conducted before Census Day from February to May 2016 because of seasonal climate variations or other travel impediments, and to reach respondents before they migrated to hunting and fishing camps for the summer. When enumeration occurred before Census Day (May 10, 2016), the date on which the household was enumerated was used as the reference date.

Overall, approximately 2,000 crew leaders and assistants were hired to recruit, train and supervise around 29,000 census enumerators. Canvasser enumeration also took place on Indian reserves and settlements, and on Métis settlements in southern areas of the country. This occurred primarily from May 2 to July 29, 2016, but extended into early August in some areas.

For enumeration on Indian reserves and settlements, the chief and council were contacted prior to collection to obtain permission to conduct the 2016 Census. As much as possible, community members were hired as crew leaders, enumerators, guides or translators to help with enumeration.

2.2 Census response rates (collection)

The 2016 Census response rate was 97.4% at the Canada level, but varied by province and territory. The highest response rate was 97.6% in several provinces, and the lowest response rate was 92.7% for Nunavut (refer to Table 10.1 for response rates by province and territory). For more information on response rates, including weighted response rates, see the Guide to the Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-304-X.

2.3 Questionnaires and instruction guides

Most census data are collected using the census short form or the census long form. The census short form is the primary source of exhaustive demographic data in Canada. Complementing the data collected by the short-form questionnaire, the long-form questionnaire is designed to provide information about people in Canada based on their demographic, social and economic characteristics.

The 2A-L questionnaire focused on a variety of topics, including Aboriginal ancestry, Aboriginal identity, First Nation or Indian band membership, and Registered or Treaty Indian status. It was used to enumerate private dwellings in mail-out and list-leave areas.

The 2A-R questionnaire was used to enumerate Indian reserves and settlements, Métis settlements, and Inuit and remote communities. In 2016, there were some areas where non-Aboriginal households were on leased Aboriginal land; these households did not receive the 2A-R questionnaire. The questions asked on the 2A-R questionnaire were the same as the ones asked on the 2A-L questionnaire, but the examples provided for write-in responses included more Aboriginal groups in the ethnic origin or ancestry question, and industries or occupations more commonly found in the North. Examples for the education questions were also geared toward the Aboriginal population living in these areas. Also, in the 2A-R questionnaire, people living on Indian reserves or settlements were instructed to skip questions 13, 14 and 15 on citizenship, landed immigrant status and year of immigration, respectively.

Refer to the questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) for 2016 for more information.

2.3.1 Questionnaire languages

In addition to English and French, the 2016 Census questions and the explanations of why the questions were asked were available in 11 Aboriginal languages, in 11 immigrant languages, in Braille, in an audio version and as a sign language video. It is important to note that the questions were translated for reference purposes only—the census questionnaire had to be completed in either English or French, online or on paper.

The 2016 Census questions were translated into the following Aboriginal languages:

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