Skip to main content

Statistics Canada offices in Ottawa.

Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Federal Court has agreed to expedite hearings on a requested injunction to stop the Harper government's plan to scrap the mandatory long form census.

On Wednesday morning, the court said it will accelerate proceedings and hear arguments on Sept. 27 and 28 by a francophone group opposed to the Conservative government's census change.

The group, the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada, has been trying to stop the Harper government's census reform, which includes plans to move to a new voluntary survey that statisticians warn will produce a less reliable picture of Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

The federation has argued that Ottawa's move violates the Official Languages Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It has warned that without reliable data about francophone numbers in Canada, the ability to accurately deliver government services in French could suffer.

Federal government lawyers had argued a September hearing would leave them insufficient time to prepare their defence.

In a Wednesday order, the dismissed this, saying an accelerated hearing wouldn't hurt the government and ruled that the francophone applicants have proven the need for a speedy decision.

Ottawa has already begun sending the voluntary long form census to the printer.

"They have demonstrated that the proceedings are urgent, that they will become moot, and that the applicants will lose the opportunity to validly put forth their case if the demand is not met and ruled upon in the appropriate schedule," the court said in its order.

Report an error
About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.