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Canadian Lawyer op-ed: Who counts? Transparency and inclusion in the 2016 census

May 26, 2016 — 

Read Professor Karen Busby’s Canadian Lawyer op-ed on transparency and inclusion in the census:

“What if the Canadian census form required participants to choose either English or French in answer to the question, “Which language do you speak most often at home?” Many Canadians — one in five, according to the 2011 census — would be perplexed about how to answer this question, since neither is correct.

The 2011 census found that almost 200 distinct languages are spoken in Canadian homes because it gave participants the option to specify a language other than English or French. We also know how many people use which languages and the regions where they use them. This information has important implications. Statistics Canada, for example, provides the 2016 census online in 24 languages it knows are commonly used.

So why is it that census fillers must still describe each member of their household as either “male” or “female” in answer to the question “what is the person’s sex?” There is no option to specify an “other” gender. For people who are inter-sexed, trans, or gender fluid, the choice is not straightforward.”



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