So far, roughly two out of every three Canadian households required to fill out the census have actually done so.
Kwong Wong, the assistant director of the 2016 census for B.C. and Yukon, said as of this week, 9.2 million of the 15 million Canadian households contacted have done the survey.
On May 18, the agency sent out written questionnaires to households in rural areas and households with post office boxes that have not responded.
In those areas, Wong said the issue is usually lack of internet access to fill out the census online.
On June 1, census staffers will start directly contacting non-responders, either by phone or in person by knocking on their door.
He said other common reasons for failing to fill out the census include simply forgetting to get around to it, or being away on holidays.
Or not getting the letter at all, which is what happened to Abbotsford resident Hedda Cochran.
When Cochran didn’t get her 2016 census form, she assumed it was the fault of the post office.
She’d been living at the same address in Abbotsford for several years, long enough to have been through four previous census surveys.
It wasn’t until her next-door neighbour received a reminder letter about the census from Statistics Canada that Cochran realized something had gone wrong.
The address was missing the house number.
“This never happened before,” Cochran said. “It was always the correct address.”
It appears there was an error in a municipal map (now fixed) that Statistics Canada used to prepare its mailing list.
Cochran phoned the census help line (1-855-700-2016) to have a questionnaire sent to the correct address.
Cochran said she was put in touch with the local census supervisor, who promised to visit her house to confirm the address with a copy of the census, and assist her with filling it out.
If people haven’t seen a census letter by now, Cochran says they ought to phone the help line.
“People shouldn’t shrug it off and say, ‘I didn’t get a form, so I won’t bother.’
“I used to work for municipal government and I know how important census data is. All government programs rely on census data.”
Wong commended Cochran for her “diligence” in contacting the help line when she didn’t get her census letter and said anyone else who hasn’t seen a letter about the census should do the same.
“That is the proper way,” Wong told The News.