City of Prince Albert taking steps to capture population numbers in 2021 Census
PRINCE ALBERT -- The City of Prince Albert has made a promotional video and contest to encourage people to fill out the 2021 Census of Population conducted by the Government of Canada.
The city’s mayor, Greg Dionne believes Prince Albert’s population has been under-reported in past census counts and it’s led to the city losing out on the proper funding required to service their population. Dionne says it's affected funding transfers from the federal government such as the gas tax for road repairs.
“If we miss a hundred people, and we get $5,000 a person, we just lost $500,000. And the only way we can recover that is by putting it back on taxes,” said Dionne.
According to the reporting of the last census in 2016, the City of Prince Albert’s population was estimated at 35,926.
The mayor estimates the number of people who did not report living in Prince Albert was in the thousands.
Data collected by the Ministry of Health shows there were 45,568 people with e-Health records with a Prince Albert address – but the ministry says the Saskatchewan Health Coverage Report is not a population census and should not be used as such.
Dionne says Prince Albert's population typically increases in the summer and he also sees an increase when people move to the city to allow their children to attend school.
“We are known for our transient population, when the weather warms up, our population booms, so it’s important they get counted,” said Dionne.
Statistics Canada says the information collected by the census is used by governments to plan services. The information is converted into statistics that governments use to make decisions about employment, education, health care and economic development.
“So that’s why we encourage people to get counted because you are valuable,” said Dionne.
The city’s campaign slogan is, This is Census Year, make sure you are counted.”
Several city councillors participated in the promotional video.
The 2021 Census of Population notice was delivered to 90 per cent of homes on May 3. The notice included a code to access the online survey. For those without Internet access, they can request a paper form by calling a toll-free number provided on the form.
“You should be proud of your city and help us get the right finances because I believe if we deserve a dime we should get a dime,” said Dionne.
Geoff Bowlby, national director general with Statistics Canada, said people need to be counted in the community where they live in at the time of the census.
“The data are used for some very important purposes such as the transfer of funds from the federal government to the provincial and territorial governments. We have other important purposes, for the location of hospitals, schools and possible public transit routes,” says Bowlby.