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Removal of Unpaid Work Question from Census Threatens Women in Canada

Posted on August 4, 2010

August 4, 2010

OTTAWA – The Conservative government will add to discrimination against women by cancelling the mandatory long-form census and removing questions about unpaid work from the new voluntary National Household Survey, Liberal MPs said today.

Liberal Status of Women Critic Anita Neville will host a roundtable discussion on the Conservative government’s decision to gut the census and its impact on Manitoba in Winnipeg on Thursday, August 5, 2010.

“The mandatory long-form census is the only source of reliable data on the socio-economic realities facing Canadian women,” said Ms. Neville. “This change will especially harm low-income, Aboriginal and immigrant women, since they tend to be underrepresented in voluntary surveys and subjected to unpaid work.”

As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, Canada is obligated to collect data on unpaid work and participation in the informal sector by both women and men. However, the questions on unpaid self-care, child-care and elder-care from the 2006 mandatory long-form census have been removed from the new voluntary survey.

“Industry Minister Tony Clement misled Canadians when he said the voluntary survey would be identical to the long-form census, as key questions on unpaid work have been removed,” said Liberal Industry Critic Marc Garneau. “These questions are essential to understanding how the burden of care is shared by women and men in Canada.”

This week, Liberal MPs expect the government to comply with the Industry committee’s request for disclosure of all documents related to the Conservatives’ secretive and widely condemned decision to gut the census, including e-mails between Statistics Canada, the PCO, and Minister Tony Clements’s office, and all analysis considered by the Harper cabinet.

“The government must uphold its international obligations to women, reinstate the mandatory long-form census, and include all questions on unpaid work as they appeared in the 2006 census,” concluded Ms. Neville.



Office of the Hon. Anita Neville, MP: 613-992-9475
Office of Marc Garneau, MP: 613-996-7267