My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘Canadian’

The Canadian Census…

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

I will be visiting Canada this summer and I plan to spend some time in Ottawa discussing the Canadian 2011 Census and writing a more detailed report about Canada’s census operations. Though not as controversial as America’s 2010 Census, for a place that is normally so placid and non-controversial, there are some major issues that have emerged for the 2011 Census that being discussed by the National Post. Recently, it was determined that in this bi-lingual nation, the 2006 census was marred because many francophones intentionally wrote that they did not speak English (a lie) so that francophone institutions would receive more funding. And now, a long-form/short-form battle over privacy issues is heating up:

Industry Minister Tony Clement stands by his government’s controversial decision to overhaul Canada’s 2011 census without public consultation or prior notice, saying the issue didn’t warrant any more attention than it was given.

“This has received the amount of publicity that it deserves for the issue that it is dealing with. This is an issue about the census that is taking place a year from now,” said Clement, who oversees Statistics Canada. “I don’t accept the fact that every time you make a change on every matter of government business, you have to shout it from every rooftop.”

The consultation process involved speaking to MPs who’d heard from constituents complaining that the mandatory long-form census was intrusive and Statistics Canada could be “heavy-handed” about ensuring compliance with the threat of fines and jail time, he said in an interview with Canwest News Service. The Conservatives asked the statistical agency to suggest alternatives, Clement says, and from those options, his government chose to eradicate the mandatory long questionnaire and shift those questions to an optional survey.

“We’ve made plans to make sure that the data collected is valuable data and is legitimate data, and that’s the right balance in our society,” he says. “You try to limit the amount of state coercion that you have, you try to limit the intrusiveness of government activities, and that’s the balance that we’ve struck.”

Previously, 80 per cent of Canadian households completed a short census form with eight basic questions and 20 per cent received a long questionnaire with 53 additional questions on issues such as ethnicity, education, employment, income, housing and disability. Both were mandatory, but for the 2011 census, the long questionnaire has been replaced with a voluntary National Household Survey that will be distributed to one in three households.

Lockheed Martin & The 2010 Census

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Last week, a report came out that a Canadian man, Todd Stelmach, was fined $300 for failing to participate in Canada’s 2006 Census. His reason for avoiding the surveys: His religious and antiwar beliefs made it such that he couldn’t support Lockheed Martin, the American defense technology firm that was contracted by the Canadian government to provide the services responsible for the Census.

American anti-war advocates are most likely unaware that Lockheed Martin has a contract to “develop and deploy the Decennial Response Integration System (DRIS) to carry out the 2010 Census. The Lockheed Martin Team was selected by the U.S. Census Bureau last year (2005) o implement the most technically advanced Census in the history of the United States.” Who awarded Lockheed Martin this contract? Was it a no-bid contract? What other firms sought to provide the 2010 Census with its necessary technology?

Here’s Lockheed Martin’s description of the Census services that they have provided for governments around the world:

The Lockheed Martin Census Business Practice team is a premier international provider of integrated census data collection, processing and analysis solutions. More than 10 years of unmatched experience, resources, methods, systems and commitment ensure that our census solutions are flexible, secure, accurate and cost effective.

Our Census Business Practice successes include the U.S. 2000 Census, the United Kingdom’s 2001 Census, and Canada’s 2006 Census, which was the first census in North America that allowed citizens nationwide the choice to submit their census via a secure Internet solution. The team is currently supporting the U.S. Census Bureau with the Decennial Response Integration System for the 2010 Census.

In the United States, the Corporation supported the Census 2000 with the Data Capture System (DCS). The U.S. Census 2000 was the largest, most sophisticated – and most accurate – census undertaken; encompassing 120 million forms with 98 percent accuracy. It represented the first census to use scanned optical character recognition (OCR) technology to process the handwritten forms.

For the 2001 UK Census, Lockheed Martin’s team provided data capture and coding services, including form printing, dress rehearsal services and census services for nearly 30 million forms with an accuracy rate of better than 99 percent.

Lockheed Martin provided hardware and software integration for Statistics Canada’s dress rehearsal and full 2006 census, including the first successful use of the secure Internet channel.

In every census we support, Lockheed Martin’s team strives to:

• Provide the general public with multiple, easy-to-use and secure methods of response.
• Help census authorities collect and capture the data accurately and completely.
• Employ robust processes and tools to ensure complete protection of individuals’ personal information.

Lockheed Martin’s Census Business Practice represents technology expertise that make census taking highly accurate, more automated and efficient, and easier for citizens as well as for governments to use.