Genetic code or postal code—which is more important to your health?

Census 2016

May 09, 2016
Genetic code or postal code—which is more important to your health?

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is a proud community supporter of the 2016 Census. The Census takes place in May and it’s mandatory for every resident of Canada to participate. You can learn more about it at: census.gc.ca.

Why the Census is important for health

Accurate statistics are important to determine the health needs of communities and to identify the conditions having the greatest influence on the health of people, such as income, housing, education and employment. Census data helps us understand where we are at and where we need to focus efforts in reducing health inequities.

“Census data is the most important planning tool used by a number of different sectors in understanding the populations they serve, but particularly in our case for understanding the most vulnerable and at-risk populations, such as single parents, low income households, or ethnic groups,” said Dr. Jat Sandhu, regional director of public health surveillance at VCH.

"Given that postal code has more influence on health and well-being than one’s genetic code, census data helps us understand the socioeconomic environment from which our patient population arises and consider disparities in health outcomes that may result."

Census data is also used to guide other surveys to ensure appropriate representativeness of our communities, like My Health My Community a survey VCH and Fraser Health conducted.

What if you’re in a health care facility?

Anyone living at a health facility, like a residential care facility, must be counted in the census. Statistics Canada staff are working with VCH staff to ensure people living at our facilities participate.

Questions about the 2016 Census?

Call the Census Help Line (CHL) at 1.855.700.2016 (Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., or Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).