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StatsCan Labour Force Survey--What's Going On?

We are regularly receiving reports that Statistics Canada is bullying citizens into participating in ongoing Labour Force Survey (LFS). Selected households are asked for their personal employment information several times over a period of many months.

Citizens are being told by StatsCan that they have randomly been selected, and must participate. It is not voluntary.

From what we can determine, the Labour Force Survey used to be voluntary. But last year, very, very quietly, some small word changes were added to the Statistics Act. We are not lawyers, but these small changes now seem to make the LFS, in fact, mandatory, not voluntary.

So our viewers are adjusting how they handle requests or demands from Statistics Canada to participate in the Labour Forces Survey.

Like the Census itself, many viewers feel it is not a good idea to outright refuse answering LFS questions. They employ tactics other than outright refusal. Here are some suggestions we have received:

Because the LFS is directed at a named person, not an address, never give your name. if you are asked "Are you Ms. Jones?" Your reply could be, "I might or might not be Ms. Jones" or, "I might be Ms. Jones or I might be a visitor here"

One suggestion we have heard is to use the avoidance strategy. Buy a cheap telephone answering machine to screen incoming phone calls. Don't answer the door to unknown persons, especially anyone carrying a clipboard or portfolio. Don't answer any StatsCan e-mail messages. StatsCan will be persistent, but after awhile, they may give up and decide to harass someone else.

The delay strategy, which some viewers have adopted is not to refuse outright, but to answer the survey slowly-- very slowly. First visit, you answer one question (not your name). Then you politely say that your are busy, and call back next week. Next week you answer one or two more questions, then you say that now is not convenient to continue. Come back next week. Etc etc. In this way you have not outright refused to participate. Maybe StatsCan will give up.

If you have other suggestions on how to respond to StatsCan, please let us know.

Don't be surprised if StatsCan resorts to bully tactics. This letter has been been sent out to persons who resisted participating. At first the letter tries to pursuade citizens to participate, but near the end the gloves come off and citizens are told that participation is compulsory. As an aside, we find the assurances of confidentiality in this letter rather amusing as it was the StatsCan Edmonton office which was responsible for a serious security breach after the 2006 Census. Personal employment records including wages and SIN numbers of Census workers turned up in a used filing cabinet sold at an Edmonton auction house!


 

 

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