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Canada Labour Survey

October 18, 2022

It may be a coincidence, but I am not sure. Some 20 or 30 years ago a second cousin of mine refused to complete the annual census form. She was prosecuted, went to court, and won, Statistics Canada appealed the decision and lost again, the reason being rumoured as due to a not bright enough lawyer. Before we moved out of our house, I received a letter from StatsCan saying as a householder I had been selected to participate in the Labour Force Survey and should expect a call, which never came, I later received a second later saying they could not trace me, so I called them and said I had moved. They then said in that case I was no longer relevant.

After being at my new address for a couple of months, I received another letter saying my address had been selected for the Labour Force Survey, and I should expect a visit or a call which never came. A week later I received another letter saying they had not heard from me, urging me to contact them, which I did with no success. A month later I received yet another letter complaining about the lack of contact, with a code number that had grown from 15 to 26 digits, whatever that means. which finally stirred me into further action. I phoned the number in the sort of threatening letter, and ultimately got through to a human being. She was, I should point out, at all times extremely polite for the 35 minutes we spent on the phone together! The problem appeared to be that we did not exist, at least apartment 309 did not exist, she tried to track us down using postal codes, civic addresses and other means known only to Statscan, but with no success. In the end she said she would have to turn the case over to her supervisor

About an hour later the phone rang again, her supervisor had “found my file”! Why had they been hiding it I wonder? Was it because of my second cousin? She then proceeded to ask me all the sort of silly questions you get asked on surveys to which I dutifully replied. As we finished she said there had been a popup on her computer and she had even more questions for me, which again I replied to. She then said that I would be surveyed monthly for the next few months and did I want to be phoned or use Email. I opted for the Email option; I may not always have 35 minutes to spare.

In conclusion I was impressed by the politeness and persistence of this young lady, it made a nice change from some of the calls you get.


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  1. Duncan permalink

    Second cousin to blame for sure

  2. Another great post, Tim. It reminds me of my MIL receiving a similar labour survey request/demand when she lived in our apt. How had to help her because her eyesight was poor. She was already in her 90s and it was a 10-year longitudinal survey. I remember one question was “when was the last time you worked?” Answer: 1928! When the census people tried to contact her near the end of the 10-year period, it took Howie longer than you to find the right person on the other end of the line so he could explain that she couldn’t complete the survey because she was dead! You young thing, you!!! There are reasons for random surveys, but not this random!

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