Residents reminded to complete their 2021 RMWB Census
It’s a few minutes of your time, but it’s a huge benefit for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). Residents are reminded to complete their 2021 RMWB census, which closes on June 30, 2021. According to a statement, as of April 30, 2021, the Municipality has counted 17,544 residents from 6,749 dwellings as part of the campaign, marking a 20.91 per cent completion rate among all dwellings in the region.
Kodjo Efu, Supervisor, Socio-Economic, Planning and Development for the RMWB encourages everyone to participate. He shares a few of the major reasons why the campaign is important.
“An accurate census count helps us understand the needs of our community and plan for the future of our region. Based on census information, the Municipality can responsibly allocate spending for vital municipal services, maintenance, and equipment, planning for disaster and emergency response services, libraries, affordable housing, long-term care facilities, parks, recreation as well as sports facilities, public transit, roadways and bridges, solid waste management and more.”
Efu adds the benefits are not only limited to our city but has external implications too.
“Census information helps develop indicators and growth projections useful to attract investors and developers. Population data collected through the census is among several pieces of information that businesses within and outside the region rely on when making investment decisions. For example, the distribution of the age group among the population is one of the most requested census demographic information. Business often wants to know the people represented in each age groups. We have supported various stakeholders in the region, like the Fort McMurray Airport, with population and demographic information from the municipal census,” noted Efu, who has been in Fort McMurray since 2013, and joined the Municipality over six years ago.
Apt for our town, or for any town for that matter, census is also critical in emergency preparedness planning, continues Efu.
“Knowing the current population and age distribution of a neighbourhood can help design evacuation routes. It can also help emergency responders accurately estimate the number of people they have to assist in case of an evacuation.”
As of the last census done in 2018, the current permanent population of our region was almost 75,000. However, Efu, notes, Statistics Canada recently estimated our “population at around 74,000 people, which is consistent with some estimates that we have conducted internally in the RMWB.”
During the 2018 census, the RMWB was able to make contact with all the dwellings. The online self-enumeration was 25% while 75% were enumerated through enumerators' door-to-door process.
“The census is the single region-wide data collection opportunity that exists in the region. The population and demographic information collected through this process are used in many ways, including developing neighbourhood profiles that can help monitor demographic change at a small neighbourhood level in the region. In the last census, we learned that a little over 11% of the region is comprised of newcomers and that nearly 60 percent of the population lives uptown.”
“Households in the region comprise 3.1 individuals on average. We also learned that between census 2015 and 2018, the senior people in the region (people aged 65 and over) had increased slightly. This suggests the senior population of the region is growing. It is important to keep an eye on these trends and probe further to determine how this trend is represented in each community and neighbourhood throughout the region. Information like that can only be drawn from the census,” explains Efu.
And, due to COVID the RMWB is trying to limit contact with residents, which is why it is even more important to use the online, and phone opportunities to complete the census.
“The census application has been refined over the years and is very easy to complete. For my family, it took 5-10 minutes to complete. It takes just a few moments to help out your region and be eligible for the fantastic prizes we have to offer. You have a chance to win one of five $500 gift cards to a local grocery store for completing their Census online,” Efu says.
The 2021 RMWB Census can be completed online at rmwb.ca/census. Residents will require their dwelling’s unique PIN that was mailed out at the beginning of April. If you’ve misplaced it, call Pulse at 780-743-7000 to secure your PIN.
Census 2021 by the Numbers as of April 30, 2021:
- Timberlea continues to lead the way in total dwellings counted. Thickwood is the next highest in total dwellings counted, having counted 1,326 of their 5,912 dwellings, or 22.4 per cent.
- Saline Creek (98.1 per cent), Fort Fitzgerald (81.8 per cent), Waterways (52.1 per cent), Beacon Hill (36.0 per cent), and Anzac (34.3 per cent) currently represent the four highest communities in terms of dwelling percentage completed.
- Draper (29.7 per cent), Janvier (27.0 per cent), and Saprae Creek Estates (25.9 per cent) have the next highest dwelling completion percentages, meaning eight of the 18 communities identified in the Municipal Census have passed the 25 per cent threshold.
- Lower Townsite has counted 609 of their 5,190 dwellings, or 11.7 per cent.