Be counted. It matters.
It doesn't seem really important, but the City of Humboldt is encouraging residents to think a little differently about the federal census and the new National Household Survey (NHS) this year.
The city is promoting awareness of the census and the new NHS, which takes place in May. The information previously collected by the long-form census questionnaire will be collected as part of the new voluntary National Household Survey.
"These will have an effect on the funding the city receives," explained Mayor Malcolm Eaton. "We need to make sure citizens know how important this is to us."
Every five years, Statistics Canada conducts a census, which starts May 2 this year.
According to Statistics Canada, census information is important for communities to help them plan for services such as schools, day cares, police services and fire protection. The NHS is used to plan family services, housing, roads and transportation, and skills training for employment.
As well, population data from the census is used to allocate transfer payments from the federal government to the provinces and from the provinces to the municipalities.
Those federal and provincial programs which are calculated on a per capita basis require an accurate and updated population count to ensure that municipalities receive the correct amount.
Based on the data collected in the 2006 census, Humboldt had a population of 4,998, which meant the city received $309,392 in funding from the New Deal for Cities and Communities, federal gas tax funding for environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure, in 2010.
However, based on population data provided by the provincial Ministry of Health, Humboldt's population in 2010 was 5,940, which means the city should have received nearly $30,000 more.
The same kind of discrepancy shows up in the revenue sharing program for urban municipalities. The larger population, if taken into account in the funding formula for 2010, would have seen the city receive just over $176,000.
While the numbers may not look that big, that kind of money is important to the city, said Mayor Malcolm Eaton. It would allow the city to pay for some infrastructure projects instead of borrowing money to pay for them, he explained.