Edmonton’s on-line portion of the census has wrapped up, and the on-street version is being pushed to get out of the way as quickly as possible. That’s because the federal census is just beginning its campaign this week.
“That’s part of the reason we were pushing to get everything done as quickly as we could and we’d like to be off the road, off the street by the end of this week,” Laura Kennedy told a news conference. “But we know in all likelihood we’ll be off by the end of next week so the middle of May. But the federal census, we worked with them and they were aware we were also doing our census at this time so we’ve been working cooperatively with them.”
Kennedy, the city’s director of elections and corporate information said the city and the feds have been working with each other to co-ordinate the two surveys. “We typically are collecting information until the middle of June,” she said. “We were encouraging people to do it as much as they could in April, recognizing the federal census was starting. But we knew we would be still moving into the month of May so we’re trying to minimize the amount of time we’re in the month of May and we’re working on that diligently every day.”
Kennedy urged everyone to cooperate with both surveys because the information is key for planning for both levels of government and the larger the population is, the more grant money Edmonton receives from Ottawa and the province.
The city had set a target of the amount of participants there would be on-line. “We are expecting 28 percent to complete it which was similar to our number in 2014.” The target however was forty percent.
“Well we fell short.”
Part of the thinking is, there was a breakdown on the access codes that were mailed on postcards to individual households. Kennedy said staff at the census office were taking phone calls about the confusion and issuing new codes.
“That’s okay. We’ll tweak it for next time and do it again.”
“Actually we’ll probably go out to residents who did it on line and ask them for their feedback.”
Other problems that cropped up involved people who took the on-line census, only to have a census worker show up at the door with no record of the original survey.
“When the census is done because the census worker also collected the same household level information we do report that’s part of our audit, ‘duplicate addresses’ so that same address will come up with two reports and we’ll delete one of those reports. So that’s one of our standard processes that we follow after the on-street collection is complete.”
Results are expected some time in August. The last census taken in 2014 saw Edmonton with a population of 877,926. At the time the population was growing in the neighborhood of 30,000 a year. The latest forecast from the city’s finance department is anticipating growth to be more in the mid-teens because of the slumping economy.