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1961 census counts Canadians

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When a neighbour knocks on the door in June 1961, she might not be looking to chat over a cup of tea. Rather, she might be employed by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics to record your census data, including sensitive information like your religion and your income. In this in-depth profile of the 1961 census from CBC Newsmagazine, most people on the street say they're not concerned about the census questions. But a B.C. chicken farmer steadfastly refuses to answer the census and says he's willing to pay the fine. 
• The first Canadian census, undertaken in 1871, asked 211 questions, though not everyone had to answer all of them.

• The 1921 census was the first to be conducted by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, which had been created in 1918. Before that, the federal Ministry of Agriculture and then the Ministry of Trade and Commerce were responsible for it.

• Until 1966 Canadians had to answer the census questions during an interview by a local enumerator hired for the purpose. But in 1971 the system was overhauled so that census forms could be filled out in privacy at home. The forms could then be mailed in (in large urban areas) or sealed for pickup by the enumerator (in rural areas).

• In 1971 the Dominion Bureau of Statistics changed its name to Statistics Canada. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: June 11, 1961
Guest(s): Hotti Agnes, George Hees, O.A. Lemieux, Alex Metcalfe
Host: Norman DePoe
Duration: 14:25

Last updated: May 16, 2013

Page consulted on June 12, 2014

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