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How the Census works

In order to apply minimum cooperation, it is important to understand how the Census will be conducted. The following information is our best prediction based on the experience of the 2006 Census.

There were two major new procedures beginning in the 2006 Census. Both new procedures involved development by Lockheed Martin.

  • Census returns can be filed online using the internet. Statistics Canada will be encouraging this. They hope to get 20 percent of the census returns via the internet. We hope they don't.
  • Census returns submitted on paper will have the data optically read and scanned into the computer database, instead of manually keyed in.

Here's the squence of events we expect.

Starting May 2, citizens will be urged to go online and complete a census form on the internet. Statistics Canada will be pushing this new online option, which Lockheed Martin has been involved in developing. We strongly recommend against filing online. We recommend you opt for filling in the paper questionnaire, adding several minimum cooperation embellishments, and mailing it in.

Census letters, containing a personalized access code, are mailed out in early May. In rural areas, Census reps are knocking on doors, personally delivering the census form, and wanting to complete the form on the spot, then and there. You are perfectly entitled to take the forms and state that you will mail them in yourself, as your schedule permits. Make sure the rep gives you the postage-paid mail-in envelope

Another new element was added to the 2011 Census and has been expanded in 2016. In many cities, households were NOT mailed a Census form at all. Instead they received only a letter with an online filing access code, and a toll-free telephone number to call if a paper census form was desired instead of filing online. This extra step is obviously designed to discourage the filing of paper returns.

We strongly recommend that you resist the pressure to file online, and instead file a paper census return, filled in to minimum cooperation specifications. When you call to request a census form do NOT, repeat NOT, give your name, just your household address. If StatsCan insists that their computer requires a name, just say StatsCan can mail the form to Henry Householder at your address.

Bar-coded Census form to be mailed back on Census Day in a special envelope with a see-through window to display the bar-code.

A few weeks after Census Day, a pleasant reminder (probably by a personal visit) to file your Census form (the Census repesentative may want to complete the form for you on the spot at your home, or over the phone--but you have every right to opt for doing it yourself when convenient, and mailing it in--don't be pressured.

Repeat reminders for you to file your Census return; turning to nagging, turning to pressure, and finally turning to hair-raising threats of fines, jail, and eternal damnation.

Special software developed by weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin will track returns filed, by immediately reading bar-codes of arriving census returns, even before the envelopes are opened and processed. .

Returns filed on paper are electronically scanned by the Lockheed Martin scanning system. Returns unreadable in whole or part by the scanner (e.g. torn edges, inconsistent, misplaced, or faint lettering, upside-down answers, coffee spills, tears, stickers on the forms, stray markings, crumpled sheet etc.), must be separated for traditional human processing, which is slower and displeasing to Statistics Canada.



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