Cautionary notes

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This report contains the results of population projections rather than forecasts. This is an important nuance, because we expect forecasts to tell us what the future will most probably be, whereas projections instead tell us what would happen if the assumptions and scenarios chosen were to prove correct. In this sense, making projections is a prospective exercise whose purpose is much more to support the planning of public policies and nourish public debate than to predict the future.

Also, these projections were made with the specific objective of providing an insight into what the ethnocultural makeup of the Canadian population might be between now and 2031. Methods, assumptions and scenarios were chosen with a view to achieving this objective. For this reason, the projections presented here may differ from other series of projections generated to meet other objectives by means of different methods, scenarios and assumptions.

Despite the wealth of information contained in Demosim, the number of variables projected remains relatively limited. This is due not only to the framework determined by the objectives of the project, but also to the limitations inherent in the starting population, which contains only information that can be obtained from the Census of Population.1 As a result, it was not possible, when estimating parameters, to include all variables that the literature recognizes as explaining the demographic behaviours simulated by Demosim, since variables can be taken into account only if they are themselves projected.

Also, the projections contained in this report were created using various data sources, each with its own limitations. While the data sources were selected and used with a view to obtaining the most reliable and robust parameters possible, it goes without saying that coverage of the target populations can vary from one source to another, and that parameters estimated on the basis of a sample survey are subject to variability due to sampling error. In other words, the population projections described here include several sources of uncertainty related to the source data. Although generally quite low, some variability is also associated with the Monte Carlo process used to calculate waiting times in the simulation model. For these reasons, and so as not to give a false impression of accuracy, the results have been rounded to the nearest thousandth.

Also, it is worth noting that the results relating to religious denomination must be interpreted with additional caution: these were produced on the basis of the 2001 Census rather than the 2006 Census, since the question on religion is asked in decennial censuses only (see Box 1).

A final point is that the projections presented in this document were developed and analysed using various concepts as they exist today. Most of these concepts are based on those used by the Census of Canada or defined by various Canadian laws, notably the Employment Equity Act in the case of visible minority groups. Possibly, as the demographic situation changes and as ethnocultural diversity increases, the concepts themselves are destined to change. Thus, it is possible that the very notion of ethnocultural diversity will evolve in the coming decades in Canada as elsewhere, under the influence of migratory exchanges between countries and the intermingling between the immigrant population and the host population. These ongoing changes, combined with the planning needs, underline the great importance of regularly updating projections of the ethnocultural diversity of the Canadian population.


Notes

  1. Unless, of course, the information is imputed into the database.
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