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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Enumeration 101

Garry Gaudet offers an insider's view of the training received by Canadian census enumerators in his Tyee article, "I'm No Census Taker." Step One: Learn the stilted doorstep pitch.

Bonjour! Good (morning, afternoon, evening) -- I'm _____, the enumerator for this area. I am here to leave you your questionnaire. Instructions are included to help you complete the questionnaire. You can complete your questionnaire online. Follow the instructions on the front of the form. If you are unable to find an answer to a question, phone the Census Help Line at the number to be found on the questionnaire. Please complete your questionnaire as of Census Day, May 16.

Our [crew leader] remarked that the opening "Bonjour" greeting is mandatory, but the other stuff can be ad-libbed a bit. My usual opening quickly evolved into "Bonjour! I'm here to bring you to your census…"
Later on, the training devolves into a Skull-and-Bones-type ritual:
During training, the [enumerator] recites and signs an oath of secrecy, ensuring that no personal information gleaned from contact with citizens may ever be passed to anyone in the remainder of your lifetime -- even should you observe a household grow-op or a bound and gagged kidnap victim through the window of a basement suite. [Link]

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