Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Ontario nurses urge Prime Minister Harper to reverse decision to eliminate long-form census questionnaire

Ontario nurses urge Prime Minister Harper to reverse decision to eliminate long-form census questionnaire


TORONTO, July 20, 2010 – Ontario nurses are adding their voices to the many organizations protesting the federal government’s decision to do away with the long-form census survey Statistics Canada administers every five years.

“The information that is collected is invaluable and necessary to help health-care planners, researchers and public health officials track the needs of Canadians,” says David McNeil, president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).  

McNeil says the data is also essential for those interested in the health and social needs of marginalized people in this country. “We need to be able to rely on this information so we can make sure people don’t become invisible.” 

The decision, announced by Ottawa at the end of June, would replace the current survey with a much shorter form that Canadians can fill out if they choose. The mandatory form is sent to 20 per cent of households across the country but researchers say provides a more scientifically reliable sample group. 
RNAO dismisses arguments by the government that the information collected invades people’s privacy. “Every credible researcher in this country will tell you that you can’t create robust health and social policy without comprehensive evidence. The suggestion that you can do this with a shorter, voluntary form is simply ludicrous and we question the real motive behind our federal government’s move. There is no viable alternative to this form and Ottawa must restore the mandatory long-form census,” says Doris Grinspun, executive director of RNAO. 

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario.  Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

For more information about RNAO, visit our website at You can also check out our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter at


For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
(647) 406-5605 - cellular
(416) 408-5605 - office