Moosomin asks Statistics Canada to review census numbers again, in light of World-Spectator reporting

March 13, 2023, 7:53 am
Kevin Weedmark

An aerial picture of Moosomin taken by Kevin Weedmark

The town of Moosomin is asking Statistics Canada, which has already revised Moosomin’s 2021 census population upward by 4.3 per cent, to take a look at the number again.

The town sent a letter to StatsCan in early March thanking them for revising the number upward once, but asking for another look in light of reporting by the World-Spectator. Statistics Canada responded saying it “will review the additional information provided with the Census review team and provide further response.”

“Council does appreciate the January 17 email from Statistics Canada indicating that the Published and Revised Counts for 2021 has resulted in an increase in population from 2.657 to 2.774,” the town wrote. “However at their regular meeting of February 8, 2023, Council further discussed this matter and still believe the census count is in error.”

“In reviewing the facts uncovered by the World-Spectator and the Plain and Valley newspapers, there are many inaccuracies that have been identified in the census reporting, and council feel that another review is warranted even so far as to perform another physical recount,” the town said in its letter.

“Therefore, council does respectfully request that Statistics Canada review the attached portions of the newspapers to respond to the inaccuracies identified, and advise if another physical count will indeed be undertaken.”

When the 2021 census numbers were released in early 2022, the World-Spectator investigated as Moosomin had gone from the highest growth rate in rural Saskatchewan between the 2011 and 2016 censuses to losing population over the next five years before the 2021 census.

The World-Spectator heard from multiple readers who said they had not been included in the census.

One resident of a Moosomin seniors’ residence said no one in the residence received the household codes needed to fill out the census, even though they contact Statistics Canada several times about the error, and were told they would receive codes, but they never did.

The World-Spectator compared the number of households reported by Statistics Canada with the number of households shown by utility connections in Moosomin and other local communities.

In 100 per cent of the communities examined, Statistics Canada had incorrect and low numbers of households, off by as much as 34 per cent from known household numbers.

In addition to an incorrect number of households, the census showed large numbers of vacant homes in local communities, hundreds in some cases and almost 300 in the case of Esterhazy.

Following that reporting in early 2022, council asked for the number to be reviewed.

The town followed up with Statistics Canada over several months.

Earlier this year, Statistics Canada reviewed the numbers, and concluded that it was in error.

It increased Moosomin’s official population upward by 4.3 per cent, which will mean $100,000 more for Moosomin in provincial revenue sharing alone.

Since then, more people have come forward and said that they and their neighbours were never counted in the 2021 census. At the January meeting of the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce, a resident mentioned they had never been included in the census and no one on their block had been. “Neither was I,” said Mayor Larry Tomlinson, who lives a couple of blocks away.

The World-Spectator looked further into the 2021 numbers and found for example:

• The 2021 census shows zero people 100 and over in Moosomin, while the Sask Health numbers show three as of 2021. Those three people are known to a lot of Moosomin residents.

• The census showed 280 Filipinos in Moosomin under visible minorities, and zero under any other category, (no Koreans, no Hondurans, no south Asians) but a total of 335 visible minorities. But is also reported only 160 people with a Filipino ethnic background.

• Stats Can showed Moosomin with 2,557 people in Moosomin in 1986, 35 years ago, when entire sections of town were undeveloped, when there were no condos and fewer apartments. And its initial figures for 2021 showed 2,657, an increase of 100 people in 35 years. Over those years, the Stats Canada figure started deviating from the health counts more and more. As the town grew, that was reflected in the health counts but not the StatsCan counts. The initial 2021 count was 646 people or 19.5 per cent less than the health card count.