Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Nurses back bill to reinstate the long-form census


TORONTO, Jan. 31, 2015 – Ottawa must bring back the long-form census to ensure that healthy public policy can be created that addresses the needs of all Canadians, says the organization representing Ontario's registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students.

As legislators prepare for next Wednesday’s vote on Bill-C626, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is throwing its support behind MP Ted Hsu's private member's bill, which would reinstate the long-form census.

The federal government's 2010 decision to scrap the long-form census in favour of the shorter, voluntary National Household Survey flew in the face of advice from researchers, statisticians, as well as health and social organizations. RNAO was among the loudest voices against the switch, warning it would erode quality of data and hinder the government's ability to create responsive social, health-care and nursing policy.

Nearly five years later, experts have confirmed what many feared: data from the National Household Survey isn't effectively tracking the needs of Canadians. In response, RNAO issued a letter to Minister of Industry James Moore urging the federal government to support Mr. Hsu's bill and bring back the long-form census.

"It's time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government to fix its mistake, and restore the integrity of our national census," says RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun. "How can they govern effectively without the most accurate data? It seems this government would rather tell people what they need than respond to their actual needs."

RNAO is also alarmed that a voluntary census turns a blind eye to the country's marginalized people. Relying on self-selection can mean the voices of recent immigrants, Aboriginal populations, people with disabilities, and others become invisible.

"As is too often the case, the biggest victims of this myopic policy are the most vulnerable in our country," says RNAO President Vanessa Burkoski. "If the voices of these populations aren't heard, they will be pushed further to the margins of society."

"Nurses know the first step in keeping Canadians healthy is understanding their unique needs," adds Burkoski. "We need to gather the right information to get our country moving down the right path."

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated 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 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

To arrange an interview with an RN, please contact:

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