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Other options - the fun part


There are several other options and events that may apply in connection with the Canada Census

  • You may like to have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, while you are completing your census form. Careful not to spill! But if you do, don't worry--your form can still be processed manually instead of by the Lockheed Martin scanning software system.

  • You may like to add one of your kid's stickers on your census form. Try not to completely cover over the large bar-codes at the top of the first page of your census form--the barcode which ( if you insert the census form, ahem, correctly in the envelope) shows through the transparent window of the mailing envelope. Then your return cannot be scanned enroute by Canada Post and sent to StatsCan even before your census return envelope is opened.

  • The Lockheed Martin-designed scanning system looks for distinct individual letters, and then proceeds to analyse each letter and then forms a word. Their system gets confused by handwriting, where your pen does not leave the page while forming an entire word. So perhaps you are more comfortable handwriting than printing your responses.

  • When writing words or numbers within the census form boxes, you could turn the page upside down and then handwrite (not print) your answers.

  • On multiple choice answers, you could "X" several options, then handwrite (not print) "this one" beside your actual answer. Here's an example.

  • Another way, for variety, to handle multiple choice answers, is not to mark an "X" in ANY of the circles, but instead simply handwrite (not print) near the question "Choice number three", if your answer is the third option of those presented.

  • Perhaps there is an artist hidden within you. You could take a pair of scissors and make two-inch cuts into the census form all around the edge, making a most attractive fringe that not only enhances the appearance of your census form, but also makes it difficult to feed into the Lockheed Martin-developed scanning system.

  • You may have a preferred way of folding correspondence, perhaps accordion-like, that you revert to absent mindedly by habit. If you are into origami, you can create an intricate masterpiece with the census form.

  • You may have lost the mailing envelope with the see-through barcode window that the Census provided, but not the forms themselves. You might opt to use your own envelope to mail in your form. Perhaps the envelope is a different size and shape than the standard census reply one, and windowless too.[suggested by a viewer] When you mail in your form in your own odd-sized envelope, it won't be postage-prepaid. No problem. Simply address your envelope to The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, House of Commons, Ottawa Ont., K1A 0A6. Now it can be sent postage-free! Champagne is the minister responsible for Statistics Canada.

  • [suggested by a viewer] Numbers can be written as simple arithmetic expressions. Example: (10-6) persons in household; (25-6 September, 1839+100); (89+5-1) Sunshine Street, Apartment (1607+2.000000--note the decimal point) This is understandable to humans, but probably not to the Lockheed Martin developed scanners.

  • A smaller barcode appears at the bottom of each individual page of the census form. This is used to keep the pages in order if corrections or adjustments are needed. If each of these barcodes is blackened out with a graphite pencil or is covered by a colourful kid's sticker, it is much more time-consuming to process the pages.

  • The 2011 census had 8 pages all folded into one large sheet. Very awkward for filling in on a small cluttered desk. So perhaps you may wish to take your scissors and cut the unwieldy form into smaller pages--using an irregular zig-zag cut instead of a smooth contunuous cut. You could then reassemble the pages, with the barcodes covered over, in random order before putting them in the return envelope.

  • You might give indirect, rather than the obvious direct write-in answers. For example, you are asked, Occupation? Instead of giving a direct answer, "dentist", you would handwrite "I drill and fill inside people's mouths" Or, instead of "plumber", you would say "I locate and stop water leaks in the home". Hey, this can be fun! And it because your response does not match any pre-programmed choice, human coder intervention and interpretation is needed, slowing the process down.
  • [suggested by a viewer] You might place your completed census in the envelope and set it aside. A few days later, you see it, and forgetfully mistake it for junk mail. You crumple it up into a small ball and stomp on it a few times before you realize that it's the census. Oh well, straighten it out and mail it in. If the Lockheed Martin developed software can't handle it, real live Canadian data-entry employees can.

  • [suggested by a viewer] Your non-dominant hand could use a little extra practice. If you are right-handed, fill out your census form using your left hand. And vice-versa

  • [suggested by a viewer] You could wait for a day when it is pouring rain, and take a nice leisurely walk to the post office to mail in your census return, soaking wet but intact. As a helpful service to our viewers, CountMeOut presents for your convenience a link to Environment Canada, where you can obtain a 5-day weather forecast for your region, to assist in planning your census outing.

  • [suggested by cat-owning viewer] Get your cats involved in completing your census form. Click here for all the hilarious details

  • [suggested by a viewer] Some of your answers may be written on little post-it notes which are affixed, sideways of course, to your census return.

  • [suggested by a viewer] Part E Question 3, Date of Birth, says if exact date unknown, enter best estimate. Since you have no first-hand recollection of you exact birth date, you could print the words "best estimate" in the date box, as per instructions---get it?.

  • [suggested by a viewer] The barcodes on the pages probably contain magnetic ink, so blackening them out with a marker may not be effective. A graphite pencil sould be used instead, or the barcodes carefully torn off the pages and inserted loosely in the return envelope.

  • [suggested by a viewer]You could change the order of the persons you enter in the columns of Step E from the order of persons you entered in Step B

  • [suggested by a viewer] In Step B: You might leave Person 2 column blank. Skip to Person 3 column. Include dog; relation: Other--Pet.

  • [suggested by a viewer] For Step A, Question 2 --Phone Number: You could unplug your phone(s), and then truthfully write in the phone number boxes "NONE FUNCTIONING RIGHT NOW"

  • [suggested by a viewer] What could be more Canadian than maple syrup! You might substitute 100% pure maple syrup for coffee or hot chocolate as previously described. Sweet!
  • [suggested by a viewer] Use Google Translator to translate your responses into Swahili or some other exotic language.

  • And finally, here for you to enjoy is the wacky top ten non-cooperation list sent to us by the aptly-named Devious D.

  • View our YouTube video showing how to apply minimum cooperation to the Census form

Click on Contact Us, and let us know if you think of other helpful options. We continue to be amazed and delighted how creative our viewers can be thinking up zany new minimum cooperation options!

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