Frequently asked questions

General information

General information

What is a census test?

Statistics Canada conducts a census test to evaluate the new and modified questions of the questionnaire and the collection procedures and tools in preparation for the 2021 Census of Population and the 2021 Census of Agriculture. Testing ensures that quality data are available in 2021 to support a wide variety of programs. From questionnaire design to data collection, we are conducting most of the activities that will be done for the 2021 Census.

The 2019 Census Test was conducted in May 2019.

How many households/farms are selected?

Census of Population

A sample of approximately 250,000 dwellings were selected to participate in this census test.

Census of Agriculture

A sample of 10,000 farms or agricultural operations (across Canada) were selected to participate in the test. The Census of Agriculture measures the state of Canadian agriculture. The information is used to support market development, programs and services for this sector.

Why is the 2019 Census Test important?

Leading up to the 2019 Census Test, Statistics Canada held content consultations on the census questionnaire. Responses were provided by various data users, including federal, provincial, territorial and local government departments; the general public; academia; special interest groups; and the private sector.

Factors considered in developing census content include legislative requirements, program and policy needs, burden on respondents when answering questions, privacy concerns, input from consultation and testing, data quality, cost and operational considerations, historical comparability, and availability of alternative data sources.

Based on the content consultation results, the 2019 Census Test will assess whether proposed content changes are feasible and whether the content will provide relevant and high-quality data.

Why was I selected to participate in the 2019 Census Test?

A sample of approximately 250,000 dwellings and 10,000 agricultural operations, in various geographic areas across Canada, were selected to participate in this census test.

By participating in the census test, you were part of a group that represented a portion of Canada's population. This helped Statistics Canada test the content of the questionnaire as well as its processes, procedures and systems to ensure the 2021 Census will provide high quality information to support a wide variety of programs.

How does Statistics Canada ensure that census and census test data are kept confidential?

Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality of individual questionnaires. Stringent procedures have been implemented to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.

  • All employees are sworn to secrecy when they are hired. The Statistics Act states that employees are liable to fines of up to $1,000 and/or jail terms of up to six months if they reveal personal information.
  • Private contractors do not have access to confidential data.
  • Only Statistics Canada employees with a need to know have access to personal and confidential information. All these employees go through a justification and approval process. These employees are able to collect, process and analyze completed questionnaires. They may access only the data they are working on.
  • When questionnaires are completed online, the information is protected through a number of measures, including a secure login process and strong bidirectional encryption between your browser and our servers.
  • Access to Statistics Canada buildings is controlled by a combination of physical measures and access procedures.
  • Census and census test data are processed and stored on a highly restricted internal network and cannot be accessed by anyone who has not taken the oath of secrecy.

Census test data are not collected for publication; they are collected to prepare for the census. As such, they are not released in any form, including as historical records 92 years after the census test.

Why did I receive a text from "825825"? Is this a legitimate number?

As part of the 2019 Census Test, Statistics Canada sent text reminders to households that have not yet completed their census test questionnaire.

The number 825825, also known as a "short code," is the number used by Statistics Canada to reach selected respondents.

Cell phones are becoming increasingly popular as fewer people have traditional landlines. Therefore, it is a good time to investigate the use of text messages.

Has the Census Program sent text messages to respondents before?

The use of text messages at Statistics Canada is a new initiative that was tested as an additional way to reach survey respondents. The first pilot test was conducted in March 2019.

The Census Program sent text reminders to non-responding households for the first time, as part of the 2019 Census Test.

How did Statistics Canada get my cell phone number?

Statistics Canada uses a variety of administrative files obtained under the Statistics Act, including cell phone lists and information from other government departments with which Statistics Canada has legally binding agreements to share administrative files.

Are cell phone numbers not considered private information?

Statistics Canada treats all telephone number information it acquires under the authority of the Statistics Act as confidential.

Information collected under the Act is used only to support mandated programs of Statistics Canada. The information is not used for any other purpose, nor distributed to other parties, even within the Government of Canada.

Statistics Canada fully understands that some Canadians may be concerned if contacted on their cell phone by parties that are not immediate friends or family members. However, cell phone numbers are not considered private information (known only by the owner of the cell phone number).

What if I have registered my telephone number on the National Do Not Call List?

The list was launched to limit telemarketing calls. It does not apply to Statistics Canada or to text messages.

As a government agency required by law to conduct surveys, Statistics Canada is not subject to the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). We are mandated by the Statistics Act to conduct surveys to provide Canadians with accurate information on our society, economy and people.

As a result, individuals who register their telephone numbers with the National Do Not Call List will continue to receive calls from Statistics Canada if they are part of a survey sample.

2019 Census Test jobs

2019 Census Test jobs

I work full time. Can I still be an enumerator?

Enumerators may work approximately 30 hours a week, as workload permits. They work at various times of day (days, evenings and weekends) to contact people with different schedules. Also, enumerators must be available to attend the paid training session.

What if I don't have any professional references?

Unfortunately, we accept only professional references, not personal references. However, there may be more people than you think who can attest to your work ethic and character: members of a board that you serve on, a teacher you helped with a project, a supervisor or coordinator where you volunteer, a supervisor at an internship, a family that you babysit for, etc.

Is it necessary to be bilingual to apply for a census test job?

No, you do not need to be bilingual to apply for a census test job. However, some sub-areas of the census test work locations are designated bilingual. To work in a designated bilingual area, candidates must pass a language test in addition to the other assessment criteria of the hiring process.

Do I have to go door to door?

Yes. Enumerator and crew leader jobs involve going to people's homes in person. Keep in mind that you are not selling anything; you are a representative of the Government of Canada and your presence is legitimate. Households are required by law to complete a census test questionnaire. You will receive training and will have the support of your team and supervisors to help you complete this part of the job.

How can I get special accommodation for a disability during the hiring process?

Statistics Canada is committed to an inclusive and diverse workforce. Any applicants who may require special accommodation measures are encouraged to self-identify at any stage of the hiring process. For example, if you are invited to a written test, you should identify any special accommodation needs at the time the recruiter calls. You may need to provide documentation from a medical professional with additional information on the specific accommodations required.

If you require new or additional measures to accommodate your condition at any point during the recruitment process or during the course of your census employment, you will need to notify your recruiter or supervisor.

How many hours of work per week will I be guaranteed?

Statistics Canada cannot guarantee a specific number of hours per week for census test employment since workload varies by location. Applicants must commit to work at least 30 hours per week, as workload permits, at various times (days, evenings and weekends).

Do I get paid to attend training?

Yes, you are paid an hourly rate for time spent in mandatory training.

I applied over a month ago. Why haven't I heard anything?

We receive many applications and, at times, it can take our staff several weeks to process them. Enumerator positions began in May 2019 and crew leader positions began in April 2019. Some applicants never receive a phone call because they do not live in the area where we are hiring, they do not meet the eligibility requirements of the position, or all positions have been filled in their area.

My information has changed. How can I contact you to let you know?

Call the Census Recruitment Help Line at 1-844-676-2019 and leave a message with your full name, the city in which you live, the information you would like to change, and your phone number so a recruiter can call you back. Recruiters make preliminary calls using the information you provide on your application. If significant information, such as your contact information, has changed, please call the recruitment line. If you simply want to add additional details to your application, you will have the chance to do so if or when you are contacted by a recruiter.

How do I know that you have received my application?

You will be given a reference number at the end of your online application. Please write it down for future reference. Please do not apply more than once; you will be considered for all of the jobs that you select on your first application.

Can I cancel my job application?

Your job application can be cancelled by calling 1-844-676-2019. Please note that there may be a slight delay before your request can be processed. In the meantime, you may receive a call from one of our employees regarding your application. If that occurs, please tell them that you wish to cancel your application.

When will I be notified if I got the job?

Only candidates being considered for employment are contacted. Qualified candidates are notified a few days prior to the start of training. Enumerator positions began in May 2019 and crew leader positions began in April 2019.

Will this job help me to get a permanent job with the Government of Canada?

Gaining experience as an enumerator or crew leader during the 2019 Census Test can be valuable when applying for similar positions at Statistics Canada. You must apply separately for those other positions, which are advertised on www.canada.ca/jobs.

Why do you need my email address?

We need your email address to provide you with important information about the hiring process.

Why do you need my fingerprints?

The Government of Canada updated its security screening process as a result of the Treasury Board Secretariat's Standard on Security Screening, which came into effect in 2014. In addition to other information collected, fingerprinting helps determine an individual's reliability and trustworthiness.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has re-engineered its processes for criminal record checks and has moved from name-based screening to fully electronic fingerprint-based screening. The results of name-based searches are not as accurate as fingerprint-based searches. In the past, if a name-based check indicated the possibility of an existing criminal record, fingerprints were required to confirm identity. Fingerprint verification is the only way to effectively and accurately confirm identity, thereby preventing individuals from being falsely associated with a criminal record that is not theirs.

How is fingerprinting done?

Fingerprints are collected by trained Statistics Canada employees at the selection test sessions. Candidates submit their fingerprints by placing their hand on the screen of an electronic device. This method is easy and convenient, and allows candidates to submit fingerprints at the time of the written test. The immediacy and accuracy of electronic results directly benefit employers and applicants, especially candidates whose application would have otherwise been unnecessarily delayed had their names been incorrectly associated with those of convicted offenders.

Can't you use the fingerprints that I had done for my volunteer activities?

Unfortunately, we cannot. Fingerprints must be retaken because the Royal Canadian Mounted Police does not store fingerprints.

How much does fingerprinting cost?

There is no cost for fingerprinting services offered at Statistics Canada test sessions. However, there may be a cost for fingerprinting services offered outside Statistics Canada.

Why is the criminal record name check no longer done?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has re-engineered its processes for criminal record checks through a project called Civil Screening Modernization, which involves transitioning from a name-based screening method to a fully electronic fingerprint-based model. The RCMP now accepts only digitized fingerprint records for processing.

Name-based checks have inherent weaknesses, such as spelling variations, common surnames, use of nicknames and name changes (both legal and those for deceptive purposes). Before Civil Screening Modernization, the RCMP used name-based checks for criminal record verifications because the technology to support fingerprint checks did not sufficiently meet the demand. The RCMP now has a biometric (fingerprint) system capable of supporting the demand for all criminal record checks.

Name-based search results are not as accurate as fingerprint-based search results. In the past, if a name-based check indicated the possibility of an existing criminal record, fingerprints were required to confirm identity before releasing any information. Fingerprint verification is the only way to effectively and accurately confirm identity, and thereby prevents individuals from being falsely associated with a criminal record that is not theirs. The immediacy of electronic results directly benefits employers and applicants, especially individuals whose application would have otherwise been unnecessarily delayed had their names been incorrectly associated with those of convicted offenders.

Why do you need to perform a credit check?

The Government of Canada updated its security screening process after the Treasury Board Secretariat's Standard on Security Screening came into effect in 2014. In addition to other information collected, a credit check helps determine an individual's reliability and trustworthiness. All individuals who access sensitive information or assets must be assessed to protect the interests and security of the Government of Canada.

What is a credit report and what information does it contain?

A credit report is a record of an individual's past borrowing and repayment, and it includes information about late payments and bankruptcy. It is used as a measure of an individual's reliability.

What does my credit information have to do with security risks?

The overall reliability assessment takes into account an individual's trustworthiness in terms of protecting government assets, information and facilities. An individual's financial situation is relevant to this assessment, particularly as it relates to the individual's ability to meet their financial obligations.

Will the credit check affect my credit history?

No, an individual's credit history will not be affected by the credit check.

Will other lenders know that the Government of Canada has requested a credit report?

No. A credit check conducted for a security screening is masked so that there is no negative impact on the individual's credit bureau file.

What if I don't want to consent to a credit check?

A credit check is an essential part of the new Standard on Security Screening. If an individual refuses to provide consent or the required information, screening activities cease and the individual will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.

Need help?

Need help?

Accessibility

Is the online questionnaire fully accessible?

The census online questionnaire has been tested to comply with the Treasury Board Secretariat's directive based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This ensures that the questionnaire is accessible to all respondents including those using assistive technologies.

Several measures have been taken to facilitate navigation of the online questionnaire:

  • Each page of the questionnaire is logically structured, featuring a Skip to main content link, headings and form controls including "Next" and "Previous" buttons to navigate from page to page.
  • An HTML5 technique was used so that screen reader users hear the question and the relevant contextual header repeated after the answer options have been identified.
  • Most questions have a Help button to provide respondents with further context and clarification if needed.
  • Pages with questions that are left blank or incomplete will reload as Attention pages, offering same-page links to the questions that require revision.

While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accessibility of the online questionnaire, some content or services might be inaccessible to some visitors. If you require further assistance, please contact one of the following:

  • the Census of Population Help Line at 1-855-850-2019
  • the Census of Agriculture Help Line at 1-855-859-6273

Notice to assistive technology users

The following information is intended to clarify navigation of the 2019 Census Test questionnaire for users of assistive technology.

Read the entire page

It is recommended that users carefully read through the content of each question or new screen of the questionnaire before responding.

Page structure and navigation

All pages of the questionnaire begin with a Skip to main content link. Selecting this link will bring the user directly to the main content of the page.

All pages of the questionnaire include a Level 1 heading indicating the name of the questionnaire and introducing the main content. A Level 2 heading introduces the current section or the survey "step," and each question is contained within a Level 3 heading.

Depending on the question, various form elements (e.g., edit fields, drop-down combination boxes, radio buttons) will present the answer options. Screen reader users can hear the question repeated after the answer options have been identified. If you do not need to hear the question repeated, simply provide your answer and move on to the next question; it is not necessary to have the question repeated.

If you are completing the questionnaire in English, ensure the language of your screen reader is set to English for best results.

Form controls

Do not use the back and forward buttons in your browser or the back and forward keyboard shortcuts. Instead, navigate with the form control buttons provided.

Every page of the questionnaire contains the following navigational form control buttons:

  • Next
  • Previous
  • Help
Help for current question

Most questions have a Help button just after the question. Selecting this button opens a page that provides further context and clarification about the question. Closing the Help window or using your keyboard's escape key will close the help page and bring you back to your current place in the questionnaire.

Blank, invalid or incomplete answers

If a question has been left blank, invalid or incomplete, the page will reload when you select the Next button. Questions that require revision will be listed sequentially at the top of the content area. Each question will be preceded by the Level 3 heading Attention, offering the user a direct link to the question.

Completing the online questionnaire

How can I be sure the census website is legitimate?

A legitimate Government of Canada website can be identified in several ways. When completing your census test questionnaire, look for these features:

  • The site URL in the browser address bar should end with ".gc.ca". This suffix is a privately held second-level domain in the .ca top-level domain. It is used by the Government of Canada and operated by Government Telecommunications and Informatics Services.
  • On www.census.gc.ca, you will be presented with a Start questionnaire button. Once you select this button, you will notice the URL in the browser address bar changes to https://surveys-enquetes.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/en/login-connexion/open-ouvrir.
  • The certificate of security is provided by Entrust and clearly identifies Statistics Canada as the owner of the site.

How do I complete my census test questionnaire online?

Completing an online questionnaire is easy. If you have a letter or a paper questionnaire with the 16-digit secure access code, please visit www.census.gc.ca, and select the Start questionnaire button.

  • Enter the secure access code.
  • Begin answering the questions, and use the navigation buttons (Next, Previous) to move forward or backward through the questionnaire.
  • Use the button marked with a question mark if you are unsure of how to answer a question.
  • The session will time out after 20 minutes of inactivity, and all entered information will be lost.
  • Those completing the long-form 2019 Census of Population Test questionnaire or the 2019 Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire may use the Save and finish later button to save their data onto our secure server.
  • Use the Submit button, available at the end of the questionnaire, to submit the completed questionnaire to Statistics Canada.
  • Make note of your confirmation number.

What is a secure access code, and where do I find mine?

The secure access code is a unique, 16-digit number associated with the census test questionnaire for your household or agricultural operation. You will need this code to complete the questionnaire online.

Census of Population

Households selected for the census test will receive a letter with instructions for completing the census test questionnaire online or a questionnaire package. Your secure access code is located at the top of the invitation letter or on the first page of the paper questionnaire.

Census of Agriculture

Agricultural operations selected for the census test will receive a letter with instructions for completing the census test questionnaire online. Your secure access code is located at the top of the invitation letter.

When I entered my secure access code, the questionnaire didn't appear. What if my secure access code isn't working?

Your browser may not be configured to accept session cookies. If your computer does not meet the minimum requirements to access the online questionnaire, a page with instructions will be displayed.

Other reasons the system did not accept your secure access code include the following:

  • Your secure access code was not entered correctly.
  • A completed questionnaire for your household or agricultural operation has already been received by Statistics Canada.

If you require further assistance, please contact one of the following:

  • the Census of Population Help Line at 1-855-850-2019
  • the Census of Agriculture Help Line at 1-855-859-6273.

What if I have to leave my computer before completing my questionnaire?

For security reasons, if a screen is inactive for more than 20 minutes or if you close your Internet browser, your session will time out. You will receive a warning after 15 minutes indicating that your session will time out in five minutes. To re-establish your session, re-enter your secure access code and, if applicable, your password.

Once your session times out, any information entered and not saved will be lost.

If you do not return to complete the questionnaire, your partial answers will be retained by Statistics Canada. You may be contacted to complete any unfinished questions through our follow-up program.

We recommend that you use the Save and finish later option (not available in the Census of Population short-form online questionnaire) to save your information. In that case, saved data can be retrieved with a password.

What is the "Save and finish later" option?

If you are completing a long-form Census of Population Test questionnaire or a Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire, you can use the Save and finish later option to save your information and return to complete it at a later time.

The first thing you will be asked is to create a password. Keep your password in a safe place. You will then be prompted to set up a security question that will be used to validate your identity should you need to reset your password. However, if you enter your password incorrectly five times or if you have forgotten your security question, you will be locked out of your questionnaire and you must start a new questionnaire.

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Contact the Census of Population Help Line at 1-855-850-2019 or the Census of Agriculture Help Line at 1-855-859-6273 to obtain a new secure access code.
  • With your new secure access code, return to www.census.gc.ca, and select Start questionnaire.
  • On the login page, enter your new secure access code. You will be presented with a new questionnaire.

If you do not return to complete the questionnaire, you may be contacted to complete any unfinished questions through the follow-up program.

What will happen to the information I saved if I don't go back to finish the questionnaire?

If you are completing a long-form Census of Population Test questionnaire or a Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire, you can use the Save and finish later option to save your information and return to complete it at a later time.

If you select Save and finish later or select Save the Questionnaire in the log out screen when filling out one of these questionnaires, you will be provided with a date by which you must complete the questionnaire. After that date, your questionnaire will be considered partially completed and will be automatically submitted on your behalf.

You may be contacted through our follow-up program to complete any unfinished questions.

Mobile devices

Can I complete the online questionnaire using my mobile device?

Yes, the online questionnaire can be completed using a mobile device. However, users of assistive technologies may prefer using a desktop computer to complete the online questionnaire.

When I select the Help button, why did the questionnaire stay greyed out?

This can happen when the Help window is closed in landscape orientation. Switch to portrait view, and swipe back from the left edge of the screen to remove the grey screen.

Why can't I see the first few words entered in a write-in field?

The write-in fields display only 80 characters. Use the arrow buttons on your keyboard to view the start of the write-in field.

The Help window is very small. Why doesn't it display its full content?

If you select the Help button while the keyboard is open, the Help window does not open to its full size. Close the Help window by clicking anywhere on the screen, and select the Help button again to enable it to open full size.

Why can't I print the confirmation page?

Some devices do not have the ability to print. You can take a screen capture, or you can record your confirmation number manually.

Security

How secure are my data?

When questionnaires are completed online, the information is protected through a number of measures, including a secure login process and strong bidirectional encryption between your browser and our servers.

Statistics Canada takes every precaution to protect your information. Transport Layer Security (also known as TLS) enhances the privacy of the information passing between your browser and our servers. By encrypting the information, this protocol provides a safe passage for data transmission and authentication.

Does anyone see my information when my questionnaire is being submitted?

Data submitted to our web servers are encrypted before being stored, and they remain encrypted until they are transferred to the high-security internal network.

Only Statistics Canada employees with a need to know, whose job requires them to work with the questionnaires, see individual completed questionnaires.

How does Statistics Canada stop hackers or other unauthorized people from accessing census test information?

Statistics Canada takes every precaution to protect your information. Transport Layer Security (also known as TLS) enhances the privacy of the information passing between your browser and our servers. By encrypting the information, this protocol provides a safe passage for data transmission and authentication.

Sophisticated security techniques, software, hardware and procedures are used to protect your information. Census test data are processed and stored on a highly restricted internal network and cannot be accessed by anyone who has not taken the oath of secrecy. Data submitted to our web servers are encrypted before being stored, and they remain encrypted until they are transferred to the high-security internal network.

Does the online questionnaire have built-in security features to protect information in the event of a system failure?

Yes, in the event of a system failure, respondents' data are not accessible to outside people or systems. Internally, there are safeguards in place to prevent unauthorized access to data.

Technical issues

What do I do if I see "Connection timed out" or "Page not available"?

Here are some suggestions if you see one of the above messages:

  • Ensure that your browser is set to accept cookies.
  • Clear your cache.
  • Ensure that all firewalls, external or internal, allow file uploads.
  • If you have a router, ensure that it allows file uploads and that the Maximum Transmission Unit is set to 1452 (this number may need to be adjusted depending on the operating system).
  • Try another browser.
  • Ensure that you do not have a virus that is preventing you from connecting.
  • If all else fails, try another computer or mobile device.

If you are using a computer connected to a local area network (LAN), such as a computer at work, the security settings on that computer could be preventing you from accessing the online questionnaire. Try a computer or a mobile device at home or a computer not connected to a LAN.

What do I do if I can't access the online questionnaire?

If you receive a message indicating that your computer, mobile device or your browser do not meet the minimum requirements, you will be instructed to upgrade or modify your browser so you can successfully access the secure site.

If your computer, mobile device or your browser settings meet the minimum requirements, but the site is not accessible as a result of technical difficulties or too much traffic, please wait a few hours and try again.

If you do not wish to try again later, you can call 1-877-303-2019 to request a paper questionnaire. Enter the 16-digit secure access code printed on the letter you received and follow the automated instructions. A questionnaire will arrive by mail within five to seven business days. You can then complete the paper questionnaire and return it by mail in the envelope provided. Please note that you can request a paper questionnaire only for the Census of Population Test, and you must do so by June 13, 2019.

Why isn't the questionnaire being displayed properly?

The screen resolution on your computer or laptop should not be lower than 800 × 600.

What can I do if I've forgotten my password?

If you have forgotten your password, return to the login page, enter your secure access code and select the Start questionnaire button. From there, select the link to reset your password. Answer the security question you selected previously to validate your identity and then follow the instructions for resetting your password.

If you have entered a password incorrectly five times or if you have forgotten your security question, you must start a new questionnaire. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Contact the Census of Population Help Line at 1-855-850-2019 or the Census of Agriculture Help Line at 1-855-859-6273 to obtain a new secure access code.
  • With your new secure access code, return to www.census.gc.ca, and select Start questionnaire.
  • On the login page, enter your new secure access code. You will be presented with a new questionnaire.

Note: this procedure applies to the long-form Census of Population Test questionnaire and the Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire only.

When I entered my password, my questionnaire didn't appear. What if my password isn't working?

There are several reasons why the system may not accept your password:

  • Your password was not entered correctly.
  • The CAPS LOCK function is activated on your keyboard.
  • Cookies are not enabled in your web browser.

If you require further assistance, please contact one of the following:

  • the Census of Population Help Line at 1-855-850-2019
  • the Census of Agriculture Help Line at 1-855-859-6273.

What if the questionnaire freezes in the middle of my session?

If you cannot complete your questionnaire because the application is frozen, close your browser and try again.

If you do not wish to try again later, you can call 1-877-303-2019 to request a paper questionnaire. Enter the 16-digit secure access code printed on the letter you received and follow the automated instructions. A questionnaire will arrive by mail within five to seven business days. You can then complete the paper questionnaire and return it by mail in the envelope provided. Please note that you can request a paper questionnaire only for the Census of Population Test, and you must do so by June 13, 2019.

Submitting the questionnaire

How will I know whether Statistics Canada received my questionnaire?

If you were directed to a Thank You page (with a 12-digit confirmation code) after completing your census test questionnaire online, your information was submitted, and you can safely close your application without anything happening to your census test data.

Print or keep a copy of the confirmation code for your records.

Please note that Statistics Canada may still contact you after you have submitted your questionnaire. Sometimes there is a lag between the receipt of a questionnaire and the registration of its arrival at Statistics Canada. Other times, the questionnaire submitted by respondents is still identified as incomplete in the database if it contains missing or invalid information. For those reasons, reminders might continue to be sent or you may be contacted to complete any unfinished questions through our follow-up program.

Can I print the questionnaire?

The option to print a completed 2019 Census Test electronic questionnaire is only available to respondents completing a 2019 Census of Agriculture Test questionnaire.

The print option will be available for up to 20 minutes after submitting your questionnaire. After 20 minutes of inactivity on the Thank you page, the session will time out and the option to print will no longer be available.

Printed questionnaires can be kept for reference purposes only and should not be sent by mail to Statistics Canada.

Census of Agriculture

Census of Agriculture

Why is the 2019 Census Test in May? It's such a busy time for farmers.

Conducting the Census of Population and Census of Agriculture tests at the same time provides an opportunity to save tax dollars by sharing many aspects of collection, including postal and processing costs.

The timing of both the 2021 Census and the 2019 Census Test is driven by the need to maximize the number of Canadians who are home during enumeration.

Statistics Canada understands the time constraints posed at this time of year. To alleviate the burden on respondents as much as possible, we have made an effort to decrease total completion time by

  • making the questionnaire available online and compatible with most electronic devices
  • decreasing the number of questions asked
  • including filter questions so that operators only need to answer questions that are pertinent to their operation.

Why are operators of small operations included in the 2019 Census Test?

Since the Census of Agriculture enumerates small operations to count the total farm area and the total inventory of all crops, livestock and other agricultural products in Canada, it is important for the 2019 Census Test to also include all types and sizes of operations, not just the large or complex ones.

How does the 2019 Census Test benefit operators?

When agricultural operators complete and return a 2019 Census Test questionnaire, they add another perspective to the interpretation of the questions asked on the questionnaire.

This information is used to help define the final content of the 2021 Census of Agriculture questionnaire, which provides the only definitive statistical picture of Canada's farm sector available to farm organizations and to agriculture policy makers.

Although there are other agriculture surveys, the Census of Agriculture is the only source of community-level data. This detailed level of data ensures that the issues affecting farmers, farm communities and agricultural operations are considered and reflected in decision-making processes.

Are hobby farms included in the 2019 Census Test?

Yes. Farms with very low farm revenues—commonly referred to as "hobby" farms—are included as long as the agricultural products produced are intended for sale.

How do I complete the questionnaire if I do not know what products my operation will be producing this early in the year?

If you have not seeded, grown, raised or produced agricultural products as of May 14, 2019, but intend to do so this year, please complete this questionnaire with your best estimate of these intents.

What's the definition of an agricultural operator?

"Operator" refers to a person responsible for the management and/or financial decisions made in the production of agricultural commodities. An agricultural operation can have more than one operator, such as a husband and wife, a father and son, two sisters, or two neighbours.

The terms "agricultural operator" and "operation" are used because they are broader in scope than "farmer" and "farm," and they better reflect the range of agricultural businesses from which the Census of Agriculture collects data. For example, the term "farm" would not usually be associated with operations such as maple sugar bushes, mushroom houses, ranches or feedlots.

What is an agricultural operation?

An agricultural operation produces at least one of the following products and will be reporting agricultural sales or agricultural expenses to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  • Crops (hay, field crops, tree fruits or nuts, berries or grapes, vegetables, seed)
  • Livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, game animals, other livestock)
  • Poultry (hens, chickens, turkeys, chicks, game birds, other poultry)
  • Animal products (milk or cream, eggs, wool, furs, meat)
  • Other agricultural products (Christmas trees, sod, greenhouse or nursery products, mushrooms, honey or bees, maple syrup products).

What is considered an "agricultural product or activity"?

The following are considered agricultural products or activities according to the Census of Agriculture:

  • Crops
    • hay and field crops (hay, grains, dry field peas, beans, potatoes, coriander, etc.)
    • vegetables (all vegetables, herbs, rhubarb, melons, garlic, gourds, etc.)
    • sod, nursery products and Christmas trees
    • fruits, berries and nuts (apples, other fruit trees, grapes, blueberries, Saskatoon berries and other berries, hazelnuts, etc.)
    • seed.
  • Poultry
    • laying hens and pullets
    • layer and broiler breeders
    • broilers, roasters and Cornish hens
    • turkeys
    • geese
    • ducks
    • other poultry (roosters, ostriches, emus, pheasants, quail, pigeons, etc.)
    • commercial poultry hatcheries.
  • Livestock
    • cattle and calves
    • pigs
    • sheep and lambs
    • other livestock (horses, goats, llamas, alpacas, rabbits, bison, elk, deer, wild boars, mink, fox, donkeys, mules, chinchillas, etc.).
  • Animal products
    • milk or cream
    • eggs
    • wool
    • fur
    • meat.
  • Other agricultural products
    • greenhouse and other controlled-environment products
    • mushrooms
    • maple products
    • bees owned for honey or pollination
    • cannabis intended for sale.
  • Other activities
    • harvesting wild rice
    • sprouting alfalfa or beans
    • growing mushrooms on logs or in bags in a controlled environment
    • wineries, if they grow any grapes or fruit
    • garden centres, if they grow any of their products
    • hay processing or dehydration plants, if they grow hay on land they own or lease
    • horse operations that do not sell agricultural products but offer boarding, riding or training services (excluding racetrack operations where horses are located in stables)
    • worms
    • crickets for human consumption.

What is not considered an "agricultural product or activity"?

The following are not considered agricultural products or activities according to the Census of Agriculture:

  • Operations that harvest or grow only
    • peat moss
    • top soil
    • gravel
    • fish (wild or aquaculture)
    • silviculture products
    • wild cones, wild Christmas trees, logs, firewood, pulpwood, evergreen boughs, etc.
    • wild berries, wild plants, wild mushrooms, etc.
    • all wild animals
    • racing pigeons
    • crickets, rats, mice, etc. for pet stores
    • laboratory animal production
    • all pets (dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, guinea pigs, finches, budgies, etc.), including kennels for pets.

Why aren't there different questionnaires for different types of agricultural operations?

The 2019 Census Test uses a generalized questionnaire for operators across Canada since all respondents need to answer standard questions.

Using one questionnaire ensures consistency and keeps development costs down.

The use of filter questions and separate sections for specific types of production will allow operators to answer only questions that are pertinent to their operation.

Every effort is made to keep the questionnaire as concise as possible to minimize respondent burden.

Are other agriculture surveys being conducted at the same time as the 2019 Census Test?

Between April and June 2019, Statistics Canada will conduct the following agriculture surveys:

  • Maple Survey
  • Fur Farm Report—Mink and Foxes
  • June Farm Survey (Field Crop Reporting Series)
  • Ontario Hay and Straw Prices Survey
  • Mushroom Growers' Survey

For more information, please refer to the List of surveys in collection on the Statistics Canada website.

Is the 2019 Census Test questionnaire different than the one used in the 2016 Census of Agriculture?

The overall questionnaire design has changed. Yes/No filter questions are now asked earlier in the questionnaire, which uses information provided by the respondent to only display questions that are pertinent to that respondent's operation. This results in fewer questions overall.

Some questions were added or deleted to reflect changes in the agriculture industry. For example:

  • Business or organization and contact information: A new section was added to the electronic questionnaire to identify legal and operational changes.
  • Operating arrangement: This question was removed and this information will be gathered from administrative data.
  • Mushrooms: This section was expanded to collect more detailed information to be consistent with the Mushroom Growers' Survey. This alignment will allow for administrative data replacement, where possible, thereby reducing response burden.
  • Greenhouses and other controlled environments: This section was expanded to collect more detailed information to be consistent with the Annual Greenhouse, Sod and Nursery Survey. This alignment will allow for administrative data replacement, where possible, thereby reducing response burden.
  • Collection strategy: The 2021 Census of Agriculture is moving away from using paper questionnaires. Respondents will be able to complete their questionnaire online or by phone. Paper questionnaires will not be actively offered.
  • Direct marketing: This section was expanded to collect more detailed information on the direct marketing practices that agricultural operations may have.

To reduce the number of questions presented to respondents, some information will be supplemented by administrative data from other Statistics Canada surveys, federal, provincial or municipal departments, or farm associations.

Does the 2019 Census Test questionnaire include questions to assess farming's contribution to the environment?

Many of the questions can contribute in some way to forming a picture of Canadian farms and how they shape the environment.

The 2019 Census Test questionnaire includes questions about farming practices that conserve soil fertility and prevent erosion, pesticide and fertilizer use, and the land features used to prevent wind or water damage. There are questions related to manure use, irrigation, tillage practices and baling crop residue.

Data collected from the census test will not be published or released.

For the 2021 Census of Agriculture, data from these questions will present a picture of farmers' relationship with the environment. By evaluating and comparing the data over time, analysts can assess how operators are adapting their methods and fulfilling their roles as stewards of the land.

Who uses Census of Agriculture data?

Operators use census data to make production, marketing and investment decisions.

Producer groups and marketing agencies use census data in their non-government organizations to share a portrait of their economic situation with Canadians and governments.

Companies supplying agricultural products and services use the data to determine locations for their service centres.

Government policy advisors use it to help develop programs related to safety nets and agricultural workers for the agriculture sector.

Operators can keep abreast of trends by analyzing Census of Agriculture data published by the agriculture media.

Agriculture websites can target their information based on current trends and needs in the sector identified by census data.

Governments and farm organizations use census data to evaluate the impact of natural disasters (such as floods, drought and storms) on agriculture and react quickly.

Collective dwellings

Collective dwellings

Administrator

Is the letter I received legitimate? Do I really have to provide confidential information about residents in my establishment, residence or facility?

You will see the Statistics Canada logo on the envelope, as well as the Statistics Canada address in the top left corner of the letter itself. If you see these, then yes, the letter you received from Statistics Canada is legitimate.

As indicated in the letter, a census employee will contact your facility shortly to request your assistance in enumerating all persons (residents, live-in employees, family members of live-in employees, owners and managers) who live in your facility.

By law, all residents of Canada must be counted in the census, including those living in an establishment, residence or facility such as yours. All answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and will be kept strictly confidential.

If you have questions, please contact us by email at STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca or by telephone at 1-877-949-9492. Operators are available from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (ET) Monday to Friday (except holidays).

Why is someone from Statistics Canada contacting me?

Statistics Canada is currently conducting the 2019 Census Test in preparation for the next census. As part of this test, we need to determine how to include the residents of your facility.

A Statistics Canada representative is contacting your facility to request assistance in enumerating all persons (residents, live-in employees, family members of live-in employees, owners and managers) who live in your facility.

If you would like to verify an employee's identity, you can contact the Census Help Line.

My facility does not keep administrative records. How can I provide this information?

If your facility does not keep administrative records, a census employee will work with a representative from your facility to acquire the information needed to complete the census test questionnaire as follows:

  • Live-in employees (and their family members) at a facility will complete their own census test questionnaire.
  • If your facility is a lodging or rooming house, a census employee will interview residents to complete the census test questionnaire.
  • If your facility is an establishment that provides temporary accommodation (hotel, campground, YMCA/YWCA, Ronald McDonald House, hostel, school residence, military base, work camp or vessel), a census employee will work with staff at your facility to drop off and collect questionnaires for people living at your facility.

Can I email the administrative records to you?

No, for the purposes of the 2019 Census Test, administrative records have to be returned to the census employee in person.

Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality of personal information. Stringent instructions and procedures have been implemented to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.

All Statistics Canada employees take an oath and are sworn to secrecy when they are hired. The Statistics Act states that employees are liable to fines of up to $1,000 and/or jail terms of up to six months if they reveal personal information and only Statistics Canada employees with a need to know have access to personal and confidential information such as administrative records.

Resident

I'm a resident of a collective dwelling, do I have to complete a census test questionnaire?

Completion of the 2019 Census Test is mandatory. Statistics Canada employees will contact an administrator at facilities selected to participate to collect the information required for all residents using administrative records or to complete census test questionnaires.

Before each census, Statistics Canada conducts a test to evaluate the questions as well as a variety of methods and procedures.

For the 2019 Census Test, a sample of approximately 400 collective dwellings across Ontario and Quebec has been selected to participate.

Why can't I complete my own census test questionnaire?

Statistics Canada works with administrators at facilities such as hospitals, retirement homes, shelters, etc. to collect the information required using administrative records.

Statistics Canada has a long tradition of using data from administrative sources in its statistical programs.

The use of administrative data for the census not only reduces collection costs and the burden on Canadians, but also often provides more precision. In some cases, using administrative sources may be the only feasible way to collect important statistical information.

Administrative records include information that your institution already collects for its own purposes. Statistics Canada can use that information to answer the census test questions. When administrative records are not available, a census employee will work with a representative from your facility to acquire the information needed to complete the census test questionnaire.

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