Frequently asked questions—Accessibility, alternate formats and non-official languages

Accessibility and alternate formats

1. Is the online questionnaire accessible?

The online census 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 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 give respondents further context and clarification if needed.
  • Pages with questions that are left blank or incomplete will reload as "Attention" pages, providing 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 respondents. If you require further assistance, please contact the Census of Population Help Line at 1-855-340-2021.

2. What help is available to users of assistive technology?

The following information is intended to clarify navigation of the online census questionnaire for users of assistive technology.

Read the entire page
It is recommended that you carefully read through the content of each question or new screen of the online questionnaire before responding.

Page structure and navigation
All pages of the online census questionnaire begin with a Skip to main content link. Selecting this link will bring you directly to the main content of the page.

All pages of the questionnaire include a Level 1 heading indicating the name of the online census questionnaire. 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.

If you are completing the online census questionnaire in English, ensure the native 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 online questionnaire contains the following navigational form control buttons:

  • Next
  • Previous
  • Help (?).

Help for the 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 location in the questionnaire.

Blank or incomplete responses
If a question has been left blank or incomplete, the page will reload when you use 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 a direct link to the question.

3. Is the 2021 Census questionnaire available in alternate formats?

The 2021 Census questions are available in large-print, braille, audio and video formats. For information purposes only, the census questions and reasons why the questions are asked are available in braille, audio and video formats, on the Alternate formats for the census questionnaire page.

A large-print version of the questionnaire is produced for the most common short- and long-form questionnaires (2A, 2A-L). Large-print questionnaires are printed on legal-sized paper in a larger font size, with space to enumerate two individuals.

To request these alternate formats or obtain assistance to complete your census questionnaire, please call the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021.

4. Is the census questionnaire available in sign language?

The census questionnaire is not available in sign language. However, a video in sign language that presents the census questions and the reasons why they are asked is available in both American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language.

People who are deaf can call the Census Help Line TTY service at 1-833-830-3109 (toll free) to request a copy of the video or to obtain assistance over the phone to complete the questionnaire.

Please note that the census questions were translated into sign language and into many other languages for reference purposes only. The census questionnaire must be completed online, on paper or by phone, in English or in French.

Non-official languages

5. What help is available for people who do not understand English or French?

People who do not understand English or French can call the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021 and communicate their phone number and the language in which they need assistance.

Statistics Canada staff who speak languages other than English and French are available to provide assistance. While Statistics Canada cannot guarantee that staff will be able to respond immediately in the requested language, every effort will be made to provide assistance in a timely manner.

Family and community members who speak the respondent's requested language—in addition to English or French—are encouraged to help the respondent complete their questionnaire.

In some cases, a census employee may observe a language barrier when following up on non-response. If the language barrier cannot be overcome with the help of other household members, another employee who speaks the respondent's language will contact the household at a later date. Census employees have a language card that helps them assist respondents who do not speak English nor French.

6. Is the questionnaire available in languages other than English and French?

The 2021 Census questions are available in 25 languages, in addition to English and French. Respondents can obtain the census questions in any of these languages by visiting the Census information in many languages page, or by calling the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021. However, the census questionnaire will only be printed in English and French and must be completed in either English or French.

7. In what languages other than English and French are the census questions available?

Immigrant languages

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (simplified)
  • Chinese (traditional)
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

Indigenous languages and dialects

  • Atikamekw
  • Denesuline (Chipewyan)
  • Inuktitut (Nunavik)
  • Inuktitut (Nunavut)
  • Mohawk
  • Montagnais
  • Naskapi
  • Northern Quebec Cree
  • Ojibway
  • Oji-Cree
  • Plains Cree
  • Swampy Cree
  • Tlicho (Dogrib)
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