Census horror stories: Canadians vent about multiple calls from Statistics Canada

Click to play video 'Canadians says Statistics Canada is harassing them over census' Canadians says Statistics Canada is harassing them over census
WATCH: Filling out the census is an important civic duty. But some Canadians say they completed the forms only to be harassed continually by Statistics Canada. Mike Drolet reports – Jul 5, 2016

Many Canadians are complaining about how Statistics Canada handled this year’s mandatory census after apparently being asked multiple times to complete the survey despite having already submitted the forms.

On Tuesday, Global News reported that many Canadians have been bothered, harassed and even threatened with a fine or a jail-term by census collectors even after they said they completed their civic duty.

“I just keep getting calls,” Calgary’s Kirsten Lander told Global News. “They’re calling me from different numbers in different provinces. Now, the messages are getting more urgent and not as polite. It feels like they’re kind of predatory. It feels like I’ve done something wrong and I haven’t. It feels I’ve been hunted.”

READ MORE: Canadians claim Statistics Canada harassing them after completing census

Global News spoke to people from three different provinces, all of which shared similar encounters. After our report, many took to social media to share their tale of dealing with census collectors.

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Dave Mantin, of Saint John, N.B., said his household received calls on a daily basis, with various census-related questions.

“They have called us daily since we filled it out with all kinds of questions about or work, health and our children and then call back and ask to speak to the oppsite spouse and ask almost the same questions,” Mantin said. “They have called us from official phone numbers, private numbers and long distance numbers and call repeatedly leaving the same message and filling up the answering service so no other calls can be taken before its cleared.”

“I filled out the long form census, got my confirmation number and yet I too have received the calls from the government,” Anton Watson commented. “It is simply incompetent by our federal government and an unacceptable level of harassment.”

Some viewers said they just gave up on being harassed and filled out a second form.

“I completed mine the same day I picked it up because they forgot to deliver it to my house. I got 6 calls and two drive ups saying I didn’t complete mine on the last drive up I re did it and told them thus had better be the end of the census because my patience is running out!” Janice Ruddell-DeCap commented.

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“I’ve had 7 people come by after I finished the census and mailed it in. Even had someone refill it out with my husband and the next day another census person was at my door,” Heather Sumchik Redmond commented.

“This happened! I did my census and received about 5 aggressive letters after that and 2 really really aggressive voicemails. Ending up doing it twice to be left alone!” Jadah Aslateei wrote.

On Tuesday, Spokesperson Marc Hamel told Global News Statistics Canada employees are trained to be polite. “They’re not to threaten the respondents in any shape or form.”

The agency listed three problems its facing:

Every household gets a census, including cottages. Some may believe they don’t have to fill out a second form but all Statistics Canada wants is a note saying no full time resident lives at that address.

A number of Alberta municipalities are conducting census’ of their own which could lead to confusion.

Putting the census in the envelope the wrong way can lead to lost documents.

A few of our readers had suggestions about the handling of the census.

“Here’s a novel idea why not go back to the old fashion way of doing the census, door to door. It may cost a bit more but I don’t think so in the long run it really would and it certainly wouldn’t take so long either. Sometimes if it aint broke don’t fix it,” Gloria Shessel wrote.

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“That is fine ..set a date when you are available and then have them come and fill it out and video it and always take pictures of your census or other forms filled out !!!” Judy Harrison commented.

Do you have video of a bad experience with Statistics Canada after completing your census? Contact Global News with the form below.

Note: We may use your response in this or other stories. While we may contact you to follow up we won’t publish your contact info.

with files from Mike Drolet and Vincent Matak