Interviewing Our Boss About The Census - SimplyPodLogical #60

Interviewing Our Boss About The Census - SimplyPodLogical #60

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[Music] Ben: Hey, what's up? Holo everyone and welcome back to another episode of SimplyPodlogical A SimplyNailogical podcast Cristine: Holo Ben: It's it's a very special time in Canada, Cristine. Can you feel it, can you feel it in the air? Cristine: i can feel it i'm typing it Ben: it is census time! If you live in Canada if you are in a household in Canada you may have just received a letter or maybe you're about to receive a letter uh inviting you to participate in the census. So you'll get something in the mail, it'll give you a code It'll tell you go to a link, it's really easy and convenient you log in and you answer some questions about your household uh i think a lot of people in sort of an abstract general sense have this understanding of like it's important to have a census it's important for the government to know about the population about the sort of social and economic and demographic characteristics of its population but in terms of the more sort of like specific practical ways in which that data actually impacts your life, i think people have a bit of a less clear idea of that Cristine: Absolutely Ben: So to help us figure that out today we have a very special guest he's a graduate of the University of Alberta with degrees in science, computing science and management it means if he went to U of A, he that's in Edmonton Alberta the city of champions, you know Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier the West Edmonton mall, the biggest mall in North America He started working for Statistics Canada in 1988, the year we were born and he's worked as an Assistant Deputy Minister at Health Canada and Natural Resources Canada But he spent most of his career at StatCan and since 2016 he has been the Chief Statistician of Statistics Canada uh please welcome Anil Aurora thank you for joining us today! Anil: Well, what a pleasure to join both of you and thank you for making me feel really old [Laughter] Ben: We're we're too old for social media too if it makes you feel better so uh before we talk about StatsCan and the census uh there's a bit of an elephant in the room People who have watched Cristine will know this but uh you know this interview is happening because you know the communications department at statscan has an interest in letting canadians know that the census is happening, right? Cristine has an online platform and can talk to her her followers uh but by coincidence Cristine is also a crime statistics analyst who works for statistics canada so actually both of us are employees of statistics canada in our nine to five life uh we both work in the canadian center for justice and community safety statistics which is a division of statscan meaning that Anil is technically our our boss or our bosses bosses bosses Cristine: something like that Ben: A few you levels removed so i guess like maybe the first question is is upper management aware that you have an employee doing strange things on the internet? Anil: i think i think you know what um this virtual medium has brought us all closer together in terms of you know work, life, hobbies things that we all uh do and uh you know it's just amazing the richness of talent that any organization uh has these days and uh of course i'm aware of uh you know this this uh this dual function um and i just want you to know uh above and uh beyond everything else we're all colleagues and we're all human beings and i wanna thank you for you know the work that you do uh in uh at statistics canada but also the the amazing work that you're you're doing um in bringing canada and you know its prominence in the world together, thanks Cristine: So my nail art too? Do you like my nail art? Anil: yeah it's very cool Ben: That's very kind of you to say. Obviously we you know we still work at statistics canada because we enjoy working there we like the work culture there and we see a lot of value in the work we do so we're very happy to be members of that team and sort of advocate for that Cristine: And we should also mention this podcast is not sponsored by the Government of Canada the government of Canada is not paying us to do this we just felt like it's a really good thing for us to do as Canadians, kind of like a civil duty just to bring awareness to the census it's important for young people, well everyone, but especially young people who maybe aren't aware to learn about it uh i didn't know much about it growing up when i was a student i was always unclear so i think it's just part of like me passing some knowledge along as i'm getting older and wanting to pass that along to our younger viewers in Canada Ben: it's a good disclosure i should say like we have to book the day off work to even do this Cristine: yeah i have to put in my time Are you gonna approve the day off? Anil: That's great that just tells you about you know how how ethical uh everybody is in terms of you know making sure that taxpayer dollars are well spent um but once again listen thank you thank you so much for inviting me and um really you know um uh as colleagues uh trying to bring a little bit of that uh knowledge to uh uh to your listeners and to your uh you know to your audience, thank you Ben: Yeah absolutely so uh enough about us or i don't know if you have questions about what we do at statscan we could turn it into a performance review if you want but uh Cristine: You can ask us after Ben: i i guess maybe we'll we'll ask about you, so how does someone become the head of a national statistical agency? Is that something you you dream of growing up? Anil: No Well you know, i don't know maybe there are people that dream of being the Chief Statistician of a country um but it's certainly not something that uh you know i had in my career trajectory As you mentioned i grew up in um uh in Edmonton uh the one name that you didn't mention was Connor McDavid so you know just remember that as well yeah world's arguably world's best hockey player come and works uh and and uh and plays for the Edmonton Oilers so that's great Ben: Weren't you there when they were actually the city of champions though? Anil: Absolutely. Yeah yeah that's true i remember when they put that sign up we wondered what what what kind of jinx would that that bring but i'm still i'm still kind of hoping for uh the Oilers uh you know to go a long ways in in the stanley cup series this year um so listen uh you know i grew up you know as you mentioned in Edmonton i'm an immigrant i came to you know Canada when i was 11. uh went to University of Alberta as you mentioned uh doing uh petroleum geology um and then you know worked in the oil and gas sector and then from there got into you know computing science and and uh worked in you know other levels of government and so on and then you know got an opportunity to come work for statistics canada. So i worked out of

the Edmonton office and um and um it was a you know prepping up for the 1991 census in fact and um uh you know just just kind of you know moving on and on from there uh different things just take you and and and that's what a career is about you know i think to so many young people today um they go well you know how do i you know assure myself of you know being here one day you know rarely really i mean sure there could be some professions where you know you you pick to do something but in many cases it's little micro decisions that you make that kind of you know take you from one step to the next and and so uh you know what and that and that's really been my career um uh is just one little decision like you know moving from uh you know Edmonton to uh to Ottawa and that opened up a whole new thing you know and then there was an opportunity to try something else and i thought oh yeah okay i so sometimes you know this ladder up has interesting sort of um uh you know periods where you where you try something different and what i've learned is that education is never wasted you know um and experiences are something you always learn from and even even things that don't always go so well and you fail at it or you struggle at it you always learn from it and it's those little things that actually make a career and so being open trying things not risking failure um uh you know is is really what gets you to a really super interesting place Cristine: We should have had you on our education podcast Ben: yeah we we often talk about this to young people you know there's from social media young people often hear you know like this sort of messaging of just being entrepreneurial starting own business and it might devalue education to some degree and we've always sort of felt you know even if you're not going to learn or you specifically what you learn in a specific degree program that education and that experience is going to get you to in place and just improve you as a person in a very general sense Anil: yeah you know there's those hard skills and then um there's the soft skills right and more and more those soft skills are are really differentiators i think what people are finding is that they can pick up some of the harder skills um you know they can learn things they can you know but the softer skills of being curious um you know of being a team player supporting colleagues you know being a nice person at times those are those are really i think in many cases are differentiating uh you know uh career trajectories and so i i you know i always encourage uh uh you know people to work on both uh uh you know both the the hard skills as well as some of the softer skills and put your you know put yourself in areas of discomfort um because that's where the a lot of the growth occurs and so and so that's been my career actually is you know trying things and putting myself into uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations but always trying to trying to learn right Cristine: yeah i think that's a really great message for young people out there and speaking of young people that's most of our audience i think 18 to 34 is on average who listens to us so if i'm a young person living in canada right now maybe it's the first time i'm filling out the census maybe it's the second time but i don't remember maybe i just graduated maybe there's like a difficult job market there's lack of affordable housing, why should a young person care about filling out the census this year? Anil: You know i kind of equate it to uh taking a family portrait of Canada um and so you should be in that picture because it matters um and so you know when we say everyone counts uh it's a bit of a play on word obviously um but it does it does have its um roots in uh every single individual in society uh matter. And and we never forget that uh at the agency. Right, it's not just about spewing out numbers and trends and graphs and you know it's about knowing that whenever we put something out it it represents a family, a business, a person um and that's so just on a just on that very elemental level um everyone should care that they're in the picture um because it is the accumulation of every one of those characteristics that we then can know something about ourselves as as a society, as an economy So when we say you know we're an aging population, we're a population that's um uh uh you know based on immigration, that our growth rate for the most part uh and in a few years is going to be exclusively coming from immigration and it comes from certain parts of the world, more than others. It is because you counted yourself in, that we know about ourselves um and so if you weren't in that picture well then you know it would be incomplete. And so you should care just on that basic elemental level um it's the pixels, it's those you know individual data points that allow us to see that picture, that broader picture and the trends um and you know does that, so that's that's just at that level. The second is

that you know there are so many decisions that are made about you um whether it's your parents that are making, it whether it's your guidance counselor that's guiding you towards you know trying something, whether um you know it's a business that's marketing to you uh whether it's social media and you know um they want to they want to try and engage you, whether it's a cause whether it's an NGO, whether it's a uh an interaction with an academic or another institution um those decisions that are made by you for you on your behalf um are you if you were to break it down you'd be surprised how many of them kind of bring you back to the census um so believe it or not you know when you go to your neighborhood convenience store uh what you see at eye level um chances are that they've taken the demographic profile of that particular area and made it easier for you um to you know get at that product quickly uh you know the inventory of what they put is dependent upon the demographics of that area. If you're looking at you know vaccine distribution these days um and you know you talk about um you know by age groups, well the denominator of that particular area has its roots in the census um you know transfers uh of of monies uh from uh you know taxes that we all pay you know to one level of government which then has formulae and agreements to redistribute those in the form of you know health and transfer payments um and equalization payments um uh all are based on on on census demographic, census counts um So uh the number of seats in the House of Commons, those of you that are politically active and want to make sure that we have a good democratic system and that you want your voice represented, well guess what? The number of seats in the House of Commons and the rindings and so on they're based on census data. You want to look at uh you know a society that's diverse and inclusive guess where all those numbers come from in terms of you know what that picture looks like and and and then marrying it up to the labor market availabilities and so on Comes from the census. So a huge amount of your life, every single day from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, is in some way or another shaped by the census. And so if you leave yourself out of the census or if your parents don't include you if that's your usual place of residence well then we're missing a particular element and i think you should be in there because you count. Ben: Yeah and i love that we're

having this conversation because i feel like so many people because like your average person probably isn't going to the Statistics Canada website to look up census data per se, right? But these decisions are being made for you about your community about your province about your country that have enormous impacts. I know it's not the sexiest example but the one you gave about just basic you know population counts dictating how funds are transferred to provinces or like where hospitals need to be built based off of.. Cristine: Or how many schools, yeah Ben: Yeah all these things Anil: Or how often that bus comes by, you know um all that planning is done on on census data, yeah Cristine: And there's another good one that i didn't even realize was census data but a few uh a few years ago i remember sharing with my followers on Twitter something that Stats Can had posted about how the educational outcomes of young women specifically those who had gotten a university degree made something like 40% more on average than those who hadn't completed it. And i just thought that was

really interesting to share with my followers i just looked at that stat again recently and saw that it was all census data as opposed to other surveys which StatCan does a whole bunch of other surveys but that was census in particular So there's an amazing like, that's a very valuable statistic that a lot of young people would like to look at for what kind of financial outcomes am i looking at whether i get this degree or that degree so i thought that's a really good tangible example Ben: Yeah Anil: You know absolutely the the you know what is the income by level of education the income by you know uh a particular city or a particular you know area um you know the the the income by a particular profession you know that you may choose, um all those statistics are are are derived from the census. But if i could uh Cristine to your point um the census is more than um you know we do it every five years in this country um uh uh in the States for example, i know you have American viewers as well, they do it every 10 years and then they have sort of an American community survey that they do on an ongoing basis to supplement the sort of the basic counts um so there are differences in frequencies as well with countries but in in Canada uh and in many other countries the census is the baseline and so, in fact many of those surveys um that we do, the labor force survey that tells us the unemployment and employment rate and the labor force participation um as one example, or the you know even the crime stats that that you work on um that get at the per capita uh you know ratios and so on guess what the census is the underlying base Even polls you know polling companies that do polls and then they will weight the you know their responses uh to the general population, the census is is how you do it so the census is integrated into the fabric you know the statistical fabric of our society and the more complex our society is, the more data it needs to make good decisions and so the census is the foundation piece So if you don't have a good foundation in your house, as you know um kind of you know you're you're going to find yourself you know questioning the uh the strength of wherever it is that you that you're on. So again it comes back to the census as being really one of those foundational pieces uh on which we make so many decisions Ben: Absolutely and i'd love if we could just peel back the curtain just a little bit in terms of what is actually included in the census and i guess i'm not thinking of the regular stuff that's sort of always on there the sort of basic demographic information but in terms of how new content is added and what sort of process goes into that I've i noted a couple changes on the census this year that i think might be really interesting to our audience, there's new ways of asking people about their gender identity, for example. There's a

question on commuting that i thought was very interesting and then there's stuff just to give a third example on uh i think it's trying to get at the gig economy but i think there's just a little bit more detailed questions this cycle on people who are i think the term is underemployed or are not working full time or 12 months employment to try to get a sense of like what their actual employment situation is So like how do we decide that those are things added to a cycle of the census? Anil: Yeah it's a fascinating journey of how content comes to be. Um you know so first of all we don't sit in the agency and say gee i wonder you know if we should ask that um uh you know so we don't we don't kind of just second guess and say let's see if we can put this question on and see whether Canadians like it So there's a there's a very formal process of consultation so we actually reach out, have round tables, we have surveys, we do internet uh you know questions, we reach out to you know all those stakeholders that we've talked about right. I mean the federal governments to municipal governments to you know businesses and and we say what does this country need um in terms of information uh and then of course we're also looking at social demographic trends and and we're looking at you know how attitudes shift in society um and um just because those needs are there doesn't mean that you know we can formulate it in a question uh that'll result in quality data so so you know for the 2021 census we've never had as much uh of a robust consultation process ever in the census and we've never had as much uh participation and demand as we had for this 2021 census. So the needs for information just continue to just you know grow um and and clearly you know so we have literally thousands of suggestions that come in through all those different you know media that i just talked about and then what we have to do is to sift through them and then what we do are qualitative and quantitative testing right so we actually formulate you know what people are you know looking for in the form of a question and then we actually administer it so we'll actually do focus groups and we'll see people are understanding the concept or is it too complicated uh can we actually so we try different questions, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, you know And then we do a quantitative test so we actually will have uh tens of thousands of households that will participate in different versions of the questionnaire uh and then ultimately we take uh what works um with that input to Cabinet uh and so our Cabinet um makes the final decision and that's for our Statistics Act, it clearly lays out the process um that it's the government that decides what uh is important in this country because the demands always always are higher than our ability to to satisfy them uh and then we base it on a statistical rigor what can we actually uh you know provide that's going to be helpful? Because not just providing notions and you know kind of we think it's like this it's a very obviously it's a it's it's a very regimented, very rigorous process that we go through we have to be able to stand behind those uh numbers and triangulate them and integrate them with other uh areas. And so you know that's the normal process and the questionnaire gets gazetted and then that then becomes uh you know legally binding in a sense as THE census questionnaire. So in Canada um you know three out of four households will get the short form so it's a very simple basic demographic you know information that they have to fill out um and that one out of four gets the long form um and the long form you know generally uh takes in in an average household about you know uh 30 minutes, 30-35 minutes uh if you do it online, it's got skips and patterns to you know guide you through it. And as you

said you know so there are always uh one there's always a need to keep the same information so let's keep the same questions so we can measure over time um so there's a pressure to keep things the same and then there's the pressure to add new And yet we still have to you know play with dollars and you know how much time people feel is reasonable to fill out the questionnaire So i think you talked about sort of three areas um that are new um in in Canada for 2021 The first is of course gender. So we've been you know testing that concept for quite some time and so in the 2021 census we asked you know what was the sex at birth and then what is the gender uh that you associate with um uh you know and so there's you know i think we'll be able to get a much richer portrait of of uh that self-identification as it pertains to uh to gender. Um yeah in terms of you know commuting, yeah more and more people you know for my for example for myself you know i would kind of you know um ride the bike uh sort of part way, you know i'd take the you know bike in the back of the car to the park to get to a and then i you know get into the office kind of thing Ben: Is that you and the bike shorts we see? Anil: yeah yeah that that was me Ben: The tight shorts? Anil: My apologies apologies for that um anyway so the the point being um that more and more people are taking multiple modes and so we want to capture that in in you know and transit planning uh road planning uh you know uh etc you know needs that kind of information to see what those patterns are and then at the last point as you mentioned you know we want to get a real understanding of how different jobs and different um uh you know people how how do they interact so there's some additional questions on the kind of work you know, how many hours, part-time, full-time, all those kinds of things in addition uh to a good labor market module on the census Cristine: So basically the census is an incredible amount of work and rigor and statistical empirical work that goes into developing it Because that's the kind of data we're gonna get from it, right? So it's a far stretch from on a recent podcast Ben and i were talking about random internet polls that interview like a thousand kids and then extrapolate that to everyone as if that is some kind of meaningful statistic i just want to like emphasize the fact that that the census is a census it is asking literally everyone the same questions, generally speaking in order to get such a robust amount of information so you can get real valuable meaningful data that applies to everyone Ben: It's how you actually can reach hard to reach populations this way. If you interview a random sample of a thousand people and try to base use those results to talk about 35 million people you're totally not representing a lot of like a lot of communities that are harder to reach or you know there's less common identities or demographic profiles right Cristine: Yeah we want good data Anil: Well you know statistically i don't wanna you know i don't wanna it depends right so i mean sometimes a poll of a thousand people that is uh randomly uh uh conducted that you know you want to know you know what people may think an opinion at a fairly high level uh you know and as you said sometimes they'll bench mark it you know to the population of the census is entirely okay and you know so the the number of times you take that thousand and you do it the variance between the results that you get is not going to be that huge The reason why they can do it is because there is this baseline ,right uh called the the census because you know what the total is. Now the census is a point in time right so we do it you know on May the 11th You know if you were born on the 10th you're in, if you're born on the 12th you know you're not in. Okay so it is a point in time and and i think you rightfully said it it includes everyone so it and that's why it's getting you know sort of like you need to be in this picture, it's really important So it's it's the thing that um uh you know gets every single person in this country every single household uh in this country um and that's why we can then go down to you know low levels of geography and can do that intersectionality right so you know how are uh Indigenous women living on reserve you know uh who are single you know doing in a particular area or how is that you know um recent immigrant you know who's working in a particular sector you know living in you know Edmonton or Ottawa or wherever it is um you know who works in this profession how are they doing from an income perspective so the the the more detail you get geographically and the cross section of those variables you need large samples and you need representative samples and that's where the census is the granddaddy if you like of of of of data Cristine: So this is the the Canadian census but while we have a decent Canadian audience, a lot of our listeners are also from other countries like the US or the UK or maybe Australia To what extent does Statistics Canada pay attention to how other countries do their census uh is it the same or is there anything different about it? Anil: You know we have literally first name uh you know uh uh basis of of uh uh relationships with our colleagues um uh you know you know pretty well all the companie,s countries rather that you just talked about and because it's uh you know the the decennial census the one that you do every 10 years in the in the year that either ends in zero or one um many of the countries do the census around the same time Some countries do the census every five years um and we're a very close-knit community um You know so Canada regularly hosts workshops for the census, they host workshops, so we're we're always you know comparing what we're doing there's of course under the umbrella of the U.N

There's you know again relationships formed and standards that are formed so we're very very uh complementary in the way we do things. All the countries that you talked about do a traditional uh census so we actually you know do what we just explained you know get the questions administer them collect them process them and and then you know kind of share the results with our populations um but there are some that are not in that traditional uh thing um uh Many of the Scandinavian countries have their roots in administrative data sources and registers um so you know uh it was quite um quite normal for uh populations to tell the Church you know uh what was going on, when they got married, when they got you know kids and so on and so on and that tradition that then just passed on to the State um and you know population continues to you know give that information to the state um and so many Scandinavian countries have have kind of a register of individuals and then they keep track of you know life events. And so for them a census is essentially filling in the gaps right so they'll do a little survey and then just keep those registers in check. Whereas in in in countries like ourselves, you know like Canada, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand etc and many others uh it's more the traditional one where we will actually go and administer the questionnaire to an entire population and various reasons right privacy concerns and you know just the way in which we we've kind of grown up to where where we are and then there are some countries that are in transition They're thinking about you know kind of moving from the traditional census uh to more of a register uh based senses so the UK has been having quite a bit of dialogue around you know how to how do they go to that kind of a a mechanism in the future Ben: Is that a conversation Canada is having? Anil: Not at the moment. I think Canada is uh firmly rooted in the more traditional uh you know sense of of doing a census which is administering questionnaire uh to the population um so but we'll see we'll see whether Canadians want us to you know one day consider you know a similar kind of thing um but you know there are lots and lots of issues that you know want to make sure that uh are are front and center and we do that in a very uh uh transparent way with Canadians Ben: Absolutely and that's probably a good pivot to a question about i think young people in particular are they're aware of their online privacy the value of their data uh and just my opinion is i think most young people are interested in like doing their civic duty and helping out but i think they do want to know that when they do answer the phone or fill out a form online about the details of their household and how they live their lives, that that data isn't being used for you know business purposes or they just they just want to know why it's being used, how it's secure and things like that. Anil: You know absolutely um you know my data of course is uh in those same databases at Statistics Canada, as as is yours um and you know it's not just a uh aspiration or nice to do. It's the law.

um so you know uh we are obligated under the Statistics Act under criminal um you know kind of uh penalties and and and and so on uh if we were to ever violate it so it is um you know for literally hundreds of years we've been doing censuses in Canada. The first one by Jean Talon in 1666. So um you know confidentiality is at the heart of of what we do So when we collect information from Canadians you can be assured that it is not going to see the light of day other than in 92 years after for genealogical results where we pass that you know questionnaire over to library and archives and then it's available so um but you know at no point um does your specific information ever uh get shared with anybody outside the agency. And in fact we have

the strongest suppression rule so we uh you know we have rules which say if you know if the particular population of a certain type with certain characteristics gets under a certain level guess what we don't we don't release any information so not only do we not release any information about you but we're absolutely you know um we have statistical methods and technology techniques rather uh to ensure that you couldn't even residually guess at it right So you know so famous you know kind of professions and things like that we go to great great lengths um and have world-leading statistical practices to protect privacy Cristine: Because really the the results just care about the whole or the sum or the trends Not about the individual and i think that's something that people should appreciate is like yes you as an individual are filling out what's going on or in your household and someone will collect that data but it's pooled with thousands tens millions of others to then group them by education age and whatnot and so that's really how your data is being used not no one's going to search Cristine Rotenberg, what was in her household? How many cats did she have? Well that's not a question but Anil: Yeah and that's exactly it right i mean we are we're there to get at statistics and we're there to get a trends and there to get that knowledge um uh yes i mean on a personal level, i care about you as an individual um but but frankly as soon as you fill out that um uh you know fill out that that form uh anonymized records are how um we treat it after that point. So there are all sorts of statistical techniques that kind of separate the identifier from your personal information and then there's a whole governance uh system around you know when those things can uh you know uh come together um and so we work with you know privacy commissioners, we work with um uh uh you know Canadians to make sure that those um uh you know those those procedures and processes remain robust Ben: Absolutely like our bias is admin data we've mostly worked with admin data in our career at StatCan but you know uh i was on rotation at the in the SDLE production unit, in special surveys for example Cristine: What does that stand for? Ben: So i'm uh social data linkage environment, i'm i'm very intimately aware of how careful and how many processes there are in place for what it means to like look at sensitive data and how we separate that sort of personal identifier data from anything analytical and any sort of disclosure Cristine: So it's like you you give a person a unique key that doesn't say their name anymore so it's no longer about the person, it becomes a data point for the purposes of using in broader statistics Ben: And i'm not even sure how much we can talk about it because people will think this sounds dramatic but we literally take an oath when you work in Statistics Canada Cristine: Yep Ben: That is a lifetime oath even if you no longer work there Cristine: Sign a contract Ben: uphold the confidentiality of the of the work you do so you know shout out to Richard Trudeau and the SDLE team Anil: Yeah no look it is i mean from the time that you walk into you know in your in the quote-unquote old days when you walked into the building but you know but literally from the time you sign on uh to Statistics Canada um it's the thing that separates us from you know so many others you know that your primary sort of purpose is to protect that privacy and confidentiality and then we have you know as was mentioned um for all sorts of processes and procedures and it's something that we've been doing for a hundred years now so it's not something that we've got a pretty good track record Ben: It's not your first rodeo right Anil: Yeah so you know we've got a pretty good track record of saying okay how do we take that individual information convert it into consumable you know information and knowledge that everybody benefits from uh and still protect that privacy and confidentiality it's something that we take absolutely seriously and it's something that we have actually you know put processes and procedures and technologies in place Cristine: So this year in particular has been a very challenging year for everyone uh but just in terms of conducting the census How has covid19 impacted how the census is going to be conducted and why or do we have to do it this year given that there is a pandemic and are there precautions we're taking are we doing things differently? Anil: Yeah um you know so let me just parse that out because there's a few questions in there um you know why this year well first of all it's a constitutional requirement to do a census every five years um and and and you know frankly we're ready um you know we have uh things in place we've been working at this for um at least uh uh you know a couple of years i mean the census planning takes seven years but you know um since the since the emergence of the pandemic we started to adapt the census and so we feel really really confident that we can conduct a safe census keep our employees safe, keep canadians safe um so that's a the first thing so it's a level of investment that we've made it's a requirement to do it and we feel comfortable um that we've got things well in hand to be able to do that um and two i would say the data are never been more required so i mean it is a fact of what's happening right now we need to capture it we need to know what's going on because we're going to need to know how we're coming out of this thing and you know who knows sort of what the future holds but knowing what's going on right now uh encoded in that data uh is gonna you know under help us understand uh better recovery efforts and and and where we need to go so the census takes on a whole new meaning uh at this stage so it's not just operations for operational sakes but it's really about you know the insights and the data that that are there because we're going to need it. Students are going to need to know you know what are my prospects going forward? What are those things that you know uh have have changed life uh you know forever or for you know uh a a short time where the new jobs of the future and you know what's the role of automation what's the role of digital what's the um you know um what is this doing to our fertility rates what what what's happening to immigration and our growth rates um you know what like you mentioned earlier you know our our health care system you know um and and our education system and and um so you know transfers that we talked about earlier as well so this period is is is uh uh you know it's a huge disruption no but you know it's a very tragic situation that we're going through but i think the data that comes out of this uh is going to be invaluable uh for us to you know chart our our future um and so we can't miss this period we can't miss not you know taking a picture at this time of what's going on in Canada um and so we can do it safely we're prepared um you know arguably world leaders in terms of how we do the census now just think about you know uh in the last census, just about you know uh 70% of Canadians filled out the questionnaire online so you know the envelope arrives in your in your mailbox just like any everything else uh you know arrives these days um you you know you pick it you go to your you know you go to your uh tablet or or your smartphone or your computer in your pajamas you know put in the code, safely in your home and you know if you got the short form five seven minutes got the long form for your household maybe a half an hour um you hit send uh you get your confirmation code you're done um so it can be done safely and we expect you know 80 plus percent of Canadians to you know do it online uh and then you know for those that need some help a paper questionnaire is available uh and even a telephone uh call if needed um so we made it easy we made it safe and and you know we're and even if somebody does have to come to your door to remind you they're not going to enter your premises they're going to be at a safe distance they've got the you know the the masks and they've got the procedures to keep uh you know keep themselves and you safe so really you know we've we've removed all the the obstacles um that you know um uh you know could be there and we can we can make sure that we can do it safely um and uh that data as i said has never been more needed than now Ben: Totally so i'm i'm totally convinced you're kicking an open door i'm excited to do my census now but maybe i want to set the mood you know light some candles, throw on some tunes Cristine: Candles, Ben? Ben: I don't know Anil: We've even got census tunes for you while you fill it out [Laughter] Ben: It's a little intimate but yeah like i know StatsCan is doing this fun thing where they've made some playlists right for people to listen to while completing their census forms. Do you want to give us some of your personal favorites uh some music to listen to while uh completing your census? [Laughter] Anil: um you know i i always most most of your listeners won't even remember but you know i i remember the John Denver tune right um uh you light up my senses so anyways um anyway so you you figure out whatever your favorite tune is go to your yeah see i figured, it's cool Cristine: it's not Avril Lavigne? [Laughter] Ben: Even that's a dated reference Cristine: Shania Twain? Anil: Whatever your favorite artist is, your favorite rapper your favorite you know whoever you want to listen to have them in the background and and uh you know make sure that you either do it yourself or encourage your parents to fill it out uh and and just make sure that you don't get left out um so you know have some fun with it and uh you know have some have a conversation about um you know what's what's being asked go to the website believe it or not the number one uh source of uh of people that come to our website students. I know they're usually looking for data to put into their you know papers or whatever but i'm telling you this next generation is very literate they understand the value of data um and i think um uh you know the demographic that you appeal to can make a huge difference in making sure that we're all counted so do not underestimate um you know the the the willingness and the uh value uh that uh the the the youth place uh in data and making sure that uh uh they're counted Ben: Absolutely when people tell me like what like other language they should learn my go-to answer is like you know like a coding language these days honestly it opens up so many career paths to know how to uh interrogate manipulate data these days That's great. So i'm i'm just going to tell you personally i'm going to listen to the Tragically Hip i feel like they are my canadi- there are a lot of amazing Canadian bands but when i think of what Canadian music sounds like that's who i think of there's my bias uh my subjective answer there. But i was

really impressed with the uh i was looking at the playlist right before this someone did a really good job of putting together like some really good Canadian music Cristine: Yeah, shoutout Ben: Yeah whoever did that good job Anil: We have so many Canadian icons right and uh so uh you know whether it's Gordon Lightfoot whether it's uh you know The Tragically Hip whoever you like put it on but remember do the census it's important for you and your future Ben: Awesome, hey we appreciate your time so much we know you're a super busy guy you know the census is literally we're recording this just a few days before this is going live this is probably the craziest time of every five years if there's anything we didn't touch on that you want to address the kind of things the media doesn't touch on that you wish they asked you more if you have anything to add totally feel free but if not we just really appreciate your time Anil: No it's the other way around really Thank you for taking the time uh to share you know what might on the surface think is a bit of a nerdy topic and um you know you might think well what does that have to do with me uh well i hope through this uh short dialogue uh you know people understand that it has everything uh to do with them uh and they may not realize it um either today but uh you know the future is about data and knowledge and evidence and so um be part of it um it's uh it's really uh really important and i appreciate again what you do both at statistics canada um and uh thank you for for having me on on your podcast as well thank you Cristine: Before we let you go though, we we have to ask because i know our viewers are going to want to know Have you seen any of my videos? And which ones? Anil: You know i saw i saw a clip of it once because you remember you had sent me an email at one point um a a couple of years ago introducing yourself so i saw a little clip and i talked to my kids and they said do you know anything of course we know she works there?! So yeah so yeah your your reputation precedes you so it's cool work Ben: Thank you so much for the kind words Cristine: yeah Ben: i'm going to add it to my epr Cristine: yeah is this our performance review? Anil: you know i wish i i i wish i would do yours personally but i'm sure somebody will um but regardless thank you thank you both Ben: thank you so much we really appreciate it, good luck with everything Anil: Thank you Ben: Amazing, do your census people Cristine: Fill out your form Anil: Melt yourself in, count yourself in Ben: Well that was interesting, i think right? Like maybe i'm just a big nerd but i enjoyed that conversation a lot Cristine: I'm still... that was my boss Ben: No, we're colleagues Cristine: Colleagues yes that's what he said Ben: We're in the stat can family Cristine: Yes sure Ben: All right i hope you guys enjoyed that episode. If you want more information on the census Cristine: Yeah like if you're Canadian and you're in a household, you're going to fill it out or maybe your parents are going to fill it out we'll put some links down below, the statistics canada links so you can find out more information but basically you should be getting something in the mail at some point and then you follow instructions from there so yeah that's kind of cool we're gonna fill it out Ben: You could even follow Statistics Canada on social media Cristine: Sometimes they post memes Ben: Stats mems? Cristine I saw they posted a meme the other day on twitter about uh justin timberlake and they were like when is the census coming out "it's gonna be May" i laughed Ben: Amazing Cristine: yeah Ben: All right apologies to Ryan Reynolds, we were gonna have him on but we uh ran out of time sorry about that Ryan Cristine: I kind of wish though Ben: You're a fan of the green lantern? Cristine: All right everyone, happy taco Tuesday hope you enjoyed this one Ben: happy census Cristine: happy census month and thank you so much for watching! Ben: See y'all later Cristine: Bye! [Music] [Music] you

2021-05-06 22:25

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