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How Canadians Felt About Their Census in 1961

Statistics Canada’s website crashed this week as residents rushed to fill out a mandatory form. Fifty-five years ago, Canadians were a little more skeptical.
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There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this year’s census in Canada, it seems. Statistics Canada’s website crashed for a full 45 minutes this week as Canadians rushed to fill out their mandatory forms.

Mandatory again, that is. Canada’s long-form census, known as the National Household Survey, was made optional by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative government back in 2010. As a result, participation in the NHS plummeted from 93.5 percent in 2006, to 68.6 percent four years later. “Voluntary surveys are simply a waste of money,” Munir Sheikh, Statistics Canada’s chief statistician who resigned over the switch, told CityLab last year. “[They] cannot provide you the kind of accurate information that you need to make your policy decisions.”