While the federal government is solely responsible for the census, municipalities are significant consumers of Statistics Canada data. The leading Toronto mayoral candidates weigh in on the fate of the mandatory long-form:
Supports Ottawa's policy shift on the census and characterizes the threat of prosecution for those who fail to fill out the form as "absurd," says spokesperson Adrienne Batra. "The federal government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." She adds that much of the personal information from the census is already collected through property tax rolls, as well as hydro, phone and cable bills.
Views the move as another example of Ottawa's "lack of understanding" of the needs of big cities, and dismisses concerns about privacy breaches as "a red herring." The mandatory long-form "allows [the City]to plan better and [to] argue for our proper share of federal and provincial funding."
Opposes the government's decision. "It's a great shame that the Prime Minister is withdrawing a resource such as the long-form census which cities such as Toronto depend on to plan properly for both infrastructure and social services. As mayor, I want the city doing more planning, not less. I hope a compromise can be reached so that this data continues to be available."
Also strongly against dropping the long-form census. "For a city as diverse as Toronto, there's no place on Earth that needs information that only the census can provide [more] Research informs reasonable decisions and smarter planning so City Hall can provide better service at the lowest cost."
Describes the mandatory long-form as "really important" and says the City of Toronto uses census data when looking at high-priority neighbourhoods. A voluntary system "renders all the information we've collected so far useless."