Frequently asked questions—Collectives enumeration

1. Why is Statistics Canada contacting me?

A census employee from Statistics Canada is contacting your facility to request assistance in completing the census for the residents of your facility.

The required information will be collected with minimal inconvenience to your facility. Your assistance will ensure that all residents of your facility are counted in the 2021 Census.

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 would like to verify a census employee's identity, starting May 3, 2021, you can call the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021.

2. How do I know this letter or email is legitimate?

You will see Statistics Canada's signature on the envelope, as well as Statistics Canada's address on the top left corner of the letter. If you see the signature and address, the letter you received is legitimate.

Letters or emails with secure access codes were sent to administrators of institutional collective dwellings for online response. Administrators will be required to complete a series of questions about the facility and complete the census for residents of the facility.

For some types of dwellings (e.g., lodging or rooming houses and Hutterite colonies), separate letters have been sent indicating that a census employee from Statistics Canada will contact them shortly to request assistance in completing the census.

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca or by telephone at 1-800-263-1136. Operators are available from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday (except holidays).

3. What is a collective dwelling?

A collective dwelling refers to a dwelling of a commercial, institutional, or communal nature in which a person or group of persons reside or could reside. A collective dwelling must provide care or services or have certain common facilities, such as a kitchen and/or bathroom, which are shared by the occupants.

Examples include lodging or rooming houses, hotels, motels, tourist establishments, nursing homes, residences for senior citizens, hospitals, staff residences, military bases, work camps, correctional facilities and group homes.

4. What is considered the usual place of residence?

The usual place of residence refers to the main dwelling in which the person usually lives.

  • In cases where a person has only one residence, that dwelling is their usual place of residence.
  • In cases where a person does not have any residence, the dwelling where they spend the night from May 10 to May 11, 2021, is their usual place of residence.
  • In cases where a person has more than one residence, their usual place of residence is the place where the person spends the major part of the year, with the following exceptions.
    • The usual residence of spouses or common-law partners who stay elsewhere while working or studying is the residence where their family lives, if they return periodically.
    • The usual residence of students is that of their parents, if they return to live with their parents during the year even if they live elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job.
    • The usual residence of persons who have lived in an institutional collective dwelling for six months or more is the institutional collective dwelling in which they currently reside. Institutional collective dwellings include correctional institutions, hospitals, nursing homes, chronic and long-term care hospitals and related institutions. The usual residence of persons who have lived in an institutional collective dwelling for less than six months is the private dwelling to which they can return. If they do not have a private dwelling to which they can return, then the institutional collective dwelling is their usual place of residence.
5. How are collective dwellings enumerated?

Statistics Canada takes a safe, secure and practical approach to enumerating people living in collective dwellings, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collection procedures for the 2021 Census have been redesigned to ensure respondents and census employees are safe by limiting the amount of contact needed to participate in the census.

No census employee from Statistics Canada will be permitted to visit or enter institutional collective dwellings, especially the dwellings housing residents who are vulnerable to COVID-19, such as residences for senior citizens and hospitals.

Letters or emails with secure access codes will be sent to administrators of institutional collective dwellings for online response. Administrators will be required to complete a series of questions about the facility and complete the census questionnaire for residents of the facility. If the facility

  • maintains electronics records that contain information required to answer the census questions (e.g., age, sex at birth, gender, languages), then the administrator must attach their records in any file format (in question 13 of the electronic questionnaire), even if some of the information is not available.
  • does not maintain electronic records, then the administrator must download the questionnaire (in question 14 of the electronic questionnaire), and answer the census questions for each usual resident according to their knowledge.

If administrators were contacted to complete the census for residents of the facility over the phone, the administrator has the option to complete the questionnaire with a census employee from Statistics Canada or complete it online using a secure access code.

Alternative arrangements have been made for some types of dwellings, in which there is no administrator present, or where there are no available electronic records. In these cases when census employees make in-person visits, a new no-contact protocol will be followed. Under this protocol, census employees will remain physically distanced and they will be required to wear personal safety equipment, in accordance with guidelines from public health authorities.

Starting May 3, 2021, census employees will be contacting administrators of rooming or lodging houses to request their cooperation to enter their establishment(s). They will also request access to records and documents that are maintained by the administrator; specifically the names of all persons living at the establishment(s) for the purpose of contacting them to complete the 2021 Census. Census employees will then conduct interviews with persons living at the establishment(s). In addition, they will also be contacting the Bosses of Hutterite colonies to make arrangements to drop off questionnaires. The Boss or a delegate will coordinate the distribution of these questionnaires to be completed and returned by each family or members of each dwelling in the colony.

If an administrator of an establishment with temporary accommodation services (e.g., hostels, hotels, campgrounds, YMCA/YWCA) or other establishments—including school residences, military bases and work camps—and they were unable to provide the number of usual residents of your establishment online, a census employee will follow up with them by phone. If the number of usual residents still cannot be provided, census cards will be dropped off for respondents to self-identify as usual residents of the establishment.

6. My collective dwelling will not be open on Census Day (e.g., closing before Census Day or opening after Census Day). Do I still need to respond?

Yes, you still need to respond. The reference date for the 2021 Census is May 11, 2021. Therefore, you need to answer the census questions based on the status of your facility or establishment, and any residents who may have been residing there on that date.

Your answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and kept strictly confidential. By law, all residents living in facilities and establishments must be counted in the census.

7. What information is collected for the 2021 Census?

As part of the Census of Population, Statistics Canada is collecting the following information about residents in institutional collectives such as yours.

This includes:

  • name
  • other address if main residence is elsewhere in Canada
  • date of birth
  • age
  • sex at birth
  • gender
  • legal marital status
  • common-law status
  • status at facility and/or relationship between persons living in the same unit
  • languages
  • Canadian military experience.

Statistics Canada makes use of existing sources of information such as income tax and benefits data to ensure the least amount of burden is placed on respondents.

For some types of dwellings (e.g., lodging or rooming houses and Hutterite colonies), in which there is no administrator present, or where there are no available electronic records, census employees from Statistics Canada will be making in-person visits. In these cases, questions on minority language education rights will also be asked.

For establishments with temporary accommodation services (e.g., hotels, campgrounds, YMCA/YWCA, Ronald McDonald House, hostels) or other establishments—including school residences, military bases and work camps—only the number of usual residents of the establishment will be collected.

8. My facility does not keep electronic records. How can I provide the required information?

If your facility does not keep electronic records that contain information required to answer the census questions (e.g., age, sex at birth, gender, languages), then you must download the questionnaire (in question 14 of the electronic questionnaire), and answer the census questions for each usual resident according to your knowledge.

9. What if I do not have time to help you with enumeration? (It is not part of my responsibilities / I am not paid for that.)

We understand your concern. However, by law, all residents living in facilities and establishments such as yours must be counted in the census. We hope to collect the required information with minimal inconvenience to your facility. Your assistance will ensure that residents living at your facility are counted in the 2021 Census.

If you were contacted to complete the census for residents of your facility online and your facility

  • maintains electronics records that contain information required to answer the census questions (e.g., age, sex at birth, gender, languages), then you must attach your records in any file format (in question 13 of the electronic questionnaire), even if some of the information is not available.
  • does not maintain electronic records, then download the questionnaire (in question 14 of the electronic questionnaire), and answer the census questions for each usual resident according to your knowledge.

If you were contacted to complete the census for residents of your facility over the phone, you have the option to complete the questionnaire with a census employee from Statistics Canada or complete it online using a secure access code.

When census employees make in-person visits, a new no-contact protocol will be followed. Under this protocol, census employees will remain physically distanced and they will be required to wear personal safety equipment, in accordance with guidelines from public health authorities.

Starting May 3, 2021, census employees will be contacting administrators of rooming or lodging houses to request their cooperation to enter their establishment(s). We will also request access to records and documents that are maintained by the administrator; specifically the names of all persons living at the establishment(s) for the purpose of contacting them to complete the 2021 Census. They will then conduct interviews with persons living at the establishment. In addition, census employees will also be contacting the Bosses of Hutterite colonies to make arrangements to drop off questionnaires. The Boss or a delegate will coordinate the distribution of these questionnaires to be completed and returned by each family or members of each dwelling in the colony.

If you're an administrator of an establishment with temporary accommodation services (e.g., hostels, hotels, campgrounds, YMCA/YWCA) or other establishments—including school residences, military bases and work camps—and you were unable to provide the number of usual residents of your establishment online, a census employee will follow up with you by phone. If the number of usual residents still cannot be provided, census cards will be dropped off for respondents to self-identify as usual residents of the establishment.

10. Producing the electronic records you requested will take time. Why didn't you send me the request earlier?

Letters or emails with secure access codes were sent to administrators of institutional collective dwellings for online response starting on April 14, 2021.

If your facility

  • Maintains electronics records that contain information required to answer the census questions (e.g., age, sex at birth, gender, languages), then you must attach your records in any file format (in question 13 of the electronic questionnaire), even if some of the information is not available.
  • does not maintain electronic records, then you must download the questionnaire (in question 14 of the electronic questionnaire), and answer the census questions for each usual resident according to your knowledge.

If a census employee from Statistics Canada contacted you by phone, you have the option to complete the census for residents of your facility over the phone, instead of using the secure access code and submitting your electronic records online. In order to use this method, the number of usual residents must not exceed 99.

We apologize if we were unable to get in touch with you sooner. The information provided in the census questionnaire should reflect each person's situation on May 11, 2021, unless the questions specify otherwise. This reference date ensures that the information collected in the questionnaire provides an accurate snapshot of Canada's society at this point and time in history.

11. Can I email the electronic records to you?

No, electronic records cannot be sent by email. Instead, use the secure access code you received by letter or email and attach your electronic records in question 13 of the electronic questionnaire.

Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality of personal information. All answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and kept strictly confidential.

12. Why do I need to complete the Nursing and Residential Care Facility Survey (NRCFS), as well as the census—isn't this a duplication of information?

No, completing the Nursing and Residential Care Facility Survey (NRCFS) and the census does not represent a duplication of information, and your participation in both of them is mandatory. The NRCFS asks more detailed questions about facility operations, staffing and health outcomes for residents, and the data will help identify factors that have affected COVID-19 outbreaks and how facilities have responded.

The census collects basic demographics (e.g., age, sex at birth, gender, languages) on residents living in nursing homes, residences for senior citizens and residential care facilities, and paints a portrait of Canada's population and the places we live. It provides high-quality information for communities across the country and is used to plan services that support employment, education and health care.

13. How can I provide a patient or resident's private information without their consent while protecting their confidentiality?

Under the Statistics Act, Statistics Canada is authorized to collect this information, and you are required to provide this information to the agency.

The protection of personal information is governed by the Privacy Act, which establishes how personal information is handled by federal government departments and agencies to respect the privacy of all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality of personal information. Stringent instructions and procedures are followed to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times. All answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and are kept strictly confidential.

For more information on how Statistics Canada protects the confidentiality, security and privacy of respondents, please visit Frequently asked questions—Security and privacy.

14. Can I really report the names of the underage patients or charges entrusted to me?

Yes, privacy legislation in Canada permits the disclosure of personal information to Statistics Canada where required by law—in this case, it is required under the Statistics Act.

The protection of personal information is governed by the Privacy Act, which establishes how personal information is handled by federal government departments and agencies to respect the privacy of all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Under the Statistics Act, Statistics Canada is authorized to collect this information, and you are required to provide this information to the agency. The Statistics Act specifically requires that information about individuals, regardless of age, be protected and kept strictly confidential. Identifiable information cannot be released to anyone outside Statistics Canada without the written consent of the person who would be identified.

For more information on how Statistics Canada protects the confidentiality, security and privacy of respondents, please visit Frequently asked questions—Security and privacy.

15. The letter and/or email I received states that "all answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and will be kept strictly confidential." What does this mean?

Statistics Canada does not disclose any information that could identify respondents. Confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Statistics Canada will never release names, addresses or email addresses, alone or in combination with any other information from the census questionnaire. Names, addresses and email addresses will never be given or sold to any individual or organization, nor will they ever be put on any mailing lists.

For more information on how Statistics Canada protects the confidentiality, security and privacy of respondents, please visit Frequently asked questions—Security and privacy.

16. I am a resident of a collective dwelling. Do I need to complete a census questionnaire?

Residents of most collective dwellings do not have to complete a census questionnaire. Statistics Canada takes a safe, secure and practical approach to enumerating people living in collective dwellings, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collection procedures for the 2021 Census have been redesigned to ensure respondents and census employees are safe by limiting the amount of contact needed to participate in the census.

No census employee from Statistics Canada will be permitted to visit or enter institutional collective dwellings, especially the dwellings housing residents who are vulnerable to COVID-19, such as residences for senior citizens and hospitals.

Letters or emails with secure access codes were sent to administrators of institutional collective dwellings for online response. Administrators will be required to complete a series of questions about the facility and complete the census for residents of the facility. If the facility

  • maintains electronics records that contain information required to answer the census questions (e.g., age, sex at birth, gender, languages), then the administrator will attach their records in any file format even if some of the information is not available.
  • does not maintain electronic records, then the administrator will download the questionnaire and answer the census questions for each usual resident according to their knowledge.

Alternative arrangements have been made for some types of dwellings, in which there is no administrator present, or where there are no available electronic records. In these cases when census employees make in-person visits, a new no-contact protocol will be followed. Under this protocol, census employees will remain physically distanced and they will be required to wear personal safety equipment, in accordance with guidelines from public health authorities.

If you live in a rooming of lodging house, starting May 3, 2021, census employees will be contacting your administrator to request their cooperation to enter your establishment. They will also request access to records and documents that are maintained by the administrator; specifically the names of all persons living at your establishment for the purpose of contacting them to complete the 2021 Census. Census employees will then conduct interviews with persons living at the establishment(s).

If you are a member of a Hutterite colony, census employees will be contacting the Boss responsible for administration at your colony, so that they can make arrangements to drop off questionnaires. The Boss or a delegate will coordinate the distribution of these questionnaires to be completed and returned by each family or members of each dwelling in the colony.

If your usual place of residence is an establishment with temporary accommodation services (e.g., hostels, hotels, campgrounds, YMCA/YWCA) or other establishments—including school residences, military bases and work camps—your administrator will be asked to provide the number of usual residents of your establishment online. If the number of usual residents still cannot be provided, follow-up will be made by phone. If both attempts are unsuccessful, census cards will be dropped off for respondents such as yourself, to self-identify as usual residents of the establishment.

17. Why is the administrator allowed to share my personal information?

The protection of personal information is governed by the Privacy Act, which establishes the personal information handling practices of federal government departments and agencies to respect the privacy of all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Privacy legislation in Canada permits the disclosure of personal information to Statistics Canada where required by law—in this case, by the Statistics Act.

Under the Statistics Act, Statistics Canada is authorized to collect this information and the administrator is required to provide this information to the agency.

Your privacy matters. Statistics Canada places the highest priority on maintaining the confidentiality of the information the agency collects. Stringent instructions and procedures are followed to ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times. The information collected under the authority of the Statistics Act is kept strictly confidential.

For more information on how Statistics Canada protects the confidentiality, security and privacy of respondents, please visit Frequently asked questions—Security and privacy.

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