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Census - Long Form

Canada’s long-form census is vital to the EFC.
It strengthens our moral voice and plays an essential role in our active defence of religious freedom in Canada. Please read on..

October, 2010

Dear Friend,

As you may have heard, right now there is great debate raging in Canada surrounding the future of the Canadian census. It’s been going on for months. At first thought you may question how this issue – whether Canada should keep the historic long-form model of census or adopt a less reliable form of data collection – would be of any significance to us as followers of Christ.

You might ask, “What in the world does the census have to do with how we are allowed to express our love and faith in Almighty God?”

The Scriptures note that, “…the little foxes are ruining the vineyard.” The idea being, sometimes it’s the small, seemingly insignificant things that can cause major destruction. I urge you to read the following information as it is in fact a significant issue we must contend with as Christians and therefore, an important issue for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Rick Hiemstra, Director of the EFC’s Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism, addresses the concern:

“The historical comparability of (the long form census) data – which is essential to gaining an understanding of social and religious trends in Canada – will be compromised because recent immigrants and minority groups, including religious minority groups, will be under represented. Demographic portraits of Canada will become less reliable, and the many charities, churches, governments, and ministry organizations that rely on these data will all be less effective in their efforts to serve Canadians. Furthermore, our ability to assess the evolution of the Canadian religious landscape – not to mention immigration, ethnicity and the like – will be compromised.  Without this ability various levels of governments will have inadequate responses to the needs of Canada’s religious communities.”

The outcome of the Canadian census decision could have serious and continuing consequences.

Census information is crucial to our ability to defend and uphold biblical principles across Canada. With data collected from previous Canadian long-form censuses, we have secured intervenor status at the Supreme Court in matters concerning, among others, cases involving abortion, child pornography and religious freedom in Canada.

Now, this valuable resource is being threatened by the Government of Canada’s plan to eliminate the mandatory long-form census.

Without accurate statistics found in long-form census results, the EFC’s voice runs the risk of losing its influence, perhaps even going unheard.

Recent census statistics show that 76 percent of Canadians self-identify as Christians – the Evangelical community itself, 12% of the population… and the popular vote.

The key statistics concerning spiritual identity and demographics allow us at the EFC to determine how to best represent the millions of Canadian evangelicals and how to pursue our social duty as Christians.

No Canadian has ever been jailed for refusal to complete the census. Statistics Canada rigorously guards Canadian privacy as required by law in order to preserve the trust and cooperation they receive from Canadians. The administration of the proposed change from the long form census will cost the federal government an estimated additional $35 million and leave provinces, municipalities, businesses and charities to find ways to make up for the lost data.

If the long form census disappears, federal, provincial and municipal governments and school boards will fund replacement data from taxpayers. Businesses and charities, like the EFC, will be forced to find and spend additional funds to research previously available information.

In many cases governments, businesses, and charities of all kinds, including churches, simply will not have the resources to recreate this lost data. The result will be poorer, more costly decision making – potentially costing us all tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, while diminishing our quality of life as Canadians.

We cannot and will not remain silent on behalf of the more than 4 million evangelicals across Canada. Are you in agreement? If so, we must act now.

Your gift will make sure that our efforts – to assess, defend and uphold your religious freedoms as God-fearing Canadians – are as strong as possible. Your most generous donation this month will make sure we have the necessary funds to appeal the decision to eliminate the long-form census.

Your donation will not only allow us to continue, but will also serve as encouragement, as we push forward on your behalf. We are most grateful for any amount you can send today.

Yes, Evangelicals use census information to understand how to serve their neighbours, but we also have a broader concern. God calls us to “seek the good of the city” as we live out our calling to “love our neighbour.” The census benefits all Canadians, but it is especially important for the poor, and the marginalized.

Without the EFC, those in opposition against the Kingdom of God in Canada may well go unopposed.

But we will not entertain such thoughts. Instead we will stand together on the promises of His Word, which states that when two or more are gathered in His name, He is there.

That’s why it’s vital we hear from you. The strength of our voices combined allows us to uphold Bible-based principles in Canada.

Please consider a gift to the EFC this month. Your donation today of any amount makes sure our efforts to uphold your religious freedoms are fully funded.

Please remain faithful in your support and remember to keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours. Our ability to serve others and to advance Kingdom principles in our nation is at stake.

Standing with you in His mighty name,

Don Hutchinson
Director, Centre for Faith and Public Life
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

P.S. You may wish to call us now with your donation at 1-866-302-3362. Perhaps you’ll even consider becoming a monthly supporter through our Partner in Faith program.

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