Need a source? Canadian Census Debate

New survey shows Canadians' overwhelming support for access to personal information

TORONTO, July 22 /CNW/ - In the midst of ongoing debate over the state of Canada's national census, a new online survey of more than 1,000 Canadians conducted by Zoomerang(1), on behalf of Ancestry.ca, reveals that despite government claims about privacy concerns, Canadians are overwhelmingly in favour of access to the kind of information that could soon become obsolete if the Federal Government follows through on its proposed changes to the census.

Almost 80 per cent of Canadians answered yes when asked if 100 years from now they would want their descendants to be able to access personal information about them, such as where they worked, where they lived, who they lived with, etc. A staggering 85 per cent claimed to want to be able to access the same kind of personal information about ancestors that lived more than 100 years ago.

Further, almost half of all Canadians feel that the 92 years the government currently waits before releasing the personal information about census respondents is either too long or just about the right amount of time. Only nine per cent feel it is not long enough.

The survey also shows that a shocking 57 per cent of Canadians currently cannot trace their family history back more than 100 years. That means most people don't know anything about the generation after their grandparents. With the potential to lose so much important family history information in future years as a result of the proposed changes to the census, there is a great likelihood that this number will become more alarming in the next century.

Ancestry.ca Managing Director Karen Peterson is available to discuss the survey results, what the proposed new census means for Canadians and what future generations will lose from this decision.

"The impact of the proposed change to the census is twofold. First, you'll be effectively wiping the names of millions of Canadians from the history books. Second, from a practical standpoint, if the census becomes voluntary it diminishes the usefulness of the data as it is no longer an accurate or complete snapshot of the Canadian demographic." says Peterson.

ABOUT ANCESTRY.CA

Officially Canada's leading website for family history resources, Ancestry.ca has 126 million Canadian records in such collections as the complete Historical Canadian Censuses from 1851 to 1916, Ontario and British Columbia vital records from as early as 1813, Quebec vital Records (The Drouin Collection), Canadian Passenger Lists and U.S. / Canada Border Crossings.

Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains five billion records. To date more than 17 million family trees have been created and 1.7 billion names and 35 million photographs and stories uploaded. (Figures current as of June 1, 2010)

The Ancestry global network of family history websites - www.ancestry.ca in Canada, www.ancestry.com in the US, www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.de in Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.fr in France, www.ancestry.se in Sweden and www.jiapu.com in China.

(1) Zoomerang national survey of 1,037 Canadians conducted between May 6-10, 2010. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

SOURCE Ancestry.ca

For further information: For further information: To arrange an interview with Karen or for additional information, please contact: Jeri Brown, Rachel Thexton, Media Profile, 416-504-8464, 604-609-6153, jeri.brown@mediaprofile.com, rachel.thexton@mediaprofile.com

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