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Whistler is becoming a headache for Census Canada. Census day was May 14, but census takers are still working on Whistler. Two major concerns locally are the rate of returns from Whistler residents is slow and determining the occupancy status of dwellings on May 14 has proved challenging, to say the least. "We have had some reports that a number of young people temporarily living in Whistler have not completed questionnaires because they think that they will be included on their parents’ census form back home in another province," regional communications manager Valerie Barrett said. "In fact, everyone currently residing in this area should count themselves in here." Another potential situation is that many young people share accommodation and expect that someone else in the household may have counted them in, or they many not want to be included on a "group" form. In the latter case, a single questionnaire, known as form 3, may be requested by calling the Census Help Line at 1-800-670-3388. Census information is the basis on which transfer payments are made by the federal government to the province, and by the province to the municipality. Thelma Johnstone, executive director of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, said: "It’s critical that we get good information for Whistler. Without it, this community will not be able to address the needs of the people who live, work and play here. Businesses rely on census data as a basis for planning and determining marketing strategies." The 1991 census put Whistler’s population at 4,459, an increase of 120 per cent over the 1986 census. An unofficial census done by the municipality’s Planning Department last year pegged the local population at about 6,800. Businesses, associations and local government all rely on census information to keep up with changes in the community.

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