2019 Census Test: What's it all about?

Between censuses, Statistics Canada takes many steps to ensure that each census produces relevant information that Canadians can use to make informed decisions. The 2019 Census Test was conducted to evaluate the census questionnaire (including new and modified content) and collection procedures and tools to prepare for the 2021 Census of Population and 2021 Census of Agriculture.

Content consultation

The census is an important source of key information about Canada's population, and its results are used across all sectors of society to help Canadians make informed decisions. Before each census test, Statistics Canada initiates an extensive content consultation program, which is an early milestone on the road to the 2021 Census. As part of this step, Statistics Canada invites data users, stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on what information they use and for what purpose, as well as on what—if any—data gaps Statistics Canada should consider addressing in the 2021 Census.

The report "2021 Census of Population Consultation Results: What we heard from Canadians," which was published on April 8, 2019, outlines the consultation findings on data relevancy, uses and gaps for the Census of Population.

2019 Census Test

The content of the 2021 Census questionnaire is the result of extensive engagement, discussions and testing, including comprehensive one-on-one interviews and a rigorous 2019 Census Test involving more than 135,000 households and 10,000 agricultural operations across Canada. Statistics Canada conducted the census test from May to June 2019.

Why do we have a census test?

Testing census content ensures that high-quality data will be available in 2021 to support a wide variety of programs and services in communities across the country.

The test helps identify whether proposed census questions allow for timely and relevant data—the kind that decision makers in communities across the country use to plan services that support employment, education and health care. By completing a census test questionnaire, participants provide essential information that helps shape future censuses and, in turn, their communities.

Was the census test mandatory?

Since accuracy depends on complete information, the sample of dwellings selected to participate in the census test must, by law, participate and provide the information requested. Answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and are kept strictly confidential.

Although participation was voluntary for the agricultural operations selected, participation in the 2019 Census Test was important to ensure the information collected is as accurate and complete as possible.

2019 Census Test fact sheets

For the 2021 Census of Population, Statistics Canada conducted a consultation process with the public and stakeholders between fall 2017 and spring 2018. Feedback obtained as part of the consultation was used to update and improve the 2021 Census of Population questionnaire. The most notable changes proposed for the 2019 Census Test include the following:


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