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Census 2011 Jobs

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  • Sep 6th, 2011 12:54 pm
Member
User avatar
Apr 18, 2008
352 posts
3 upvotes
uglyfish wrote:
May 22nd, 2011 11:40 am
Hi I'm just posting to provide a portrait of what the enumerator position is like as I've been on the job for a bit now in one of the Eastern provinces.
I just want to make a note that everyone from Stats Canada is really nice but my mine gripe is with the nature of the enumerator job itself and since no
one has posted what the actual job is like i thought i should given that i know there is a lot of confusion prior to starting.

My area is pretty working-class minority area and I've met a lot of very nice folks however, the response rate is historically low. I've been told we must work a minimum of 20 hours a week and can go up to whatever we like as long as we are "productive". My issue is that "productivity" is measured solely in terms of how many forms are collected that we have helped a fill out for a resident. A lot of the time people:

A. look out the window and purposely ignore you
B. Say they already filled it out
C. They'll do it themselves later
D. Refuse to talk to you because you do not speak their mother tongue

So sometimes I find myself walking door-to-door for 3 hours straight being unable to collect any forms and I feel guilty because it looks to my Crew Leader that I am being "unproductive" (my CL never actually said anything but you can tell). "Productivity" does not take into account the people that I have visited who do end up filling out their census forms later. I'm sure at least for 3/4, they would not have filled out the forms were it not for the fact that I visited them.

Essentially, being "unproductive" (not being able to collect any forms) kind of puts its on cap on how many hours you can work because if you're working 4 hours without getting a form you may feel inhibited to clock in any more hours at risk of looking like a total slob who isn't doing any work (unless you're not self-concious).

It's not because I'm not "ambitious" or hardworking....the moment people open the door they decide whether they want to talk you or not and will make up any excuse not to complete the form ("oh I'm about to go out/ eating/ blah blah) despite the fact it literally takes 30 seconds to enumerate a single person.

I wish the CL's would know how hard it is to get a response as many of them have never enumerated before. It's a struggle to clock in 20 hours and to be "productive". Again, it might depend on what type of area you live in but this is my experience and I've never felt as much anxiety to begin a job each day having to balance being "productive" while trying to meet 20 hours a week (with a 2nd job).

As for safety, it's not as dangerous as I thought (again depends on the area) but the only thing that has happened to me really is an old lady constantly harassing me to stay away from her area and threatening to call the cops for trespassing (I can't be prosecuted because I have to right to collect infor under the Statistics Act :p).

Also even if you have a landline, you have to block your number (unless you want people calling you back) which IRONICALLY discourages people from picking up the phone forcing you to go door to door after 3 failed call attempts. And for most of my assignments, no number is provided anyways.
Final note, beware of dogs, paranoid old people, wear sunscreen, bring water/ snacks and prepared to go home empty-handed after a few hours and worry about looking unproductive despite the fact that you went door-to door in the sun/ rain trying your hardest and only clocking in a couple hours each day, while trying to reach 20 hours for the week.

This is my own opinion/ experience in my own area. As I've said my CL and the people I've met on the job are super nice but its mostly the nature and inherent contradictions within the enumerator job itself that is frustrating and makes it a form of precarious labor (similar to taxi-driving). The pay is by the honor system essentially and I'm very honest and I do not want to look unproductive so I limit my hours if I can't get any forms.

And for those thinking about falsifying a respondent's form, do not risk it because that household may end up mailing it in eventually and they'll see that the household did it twice with two completely different sets of info and they'll catch on to you LOL (people always ask me why i don't do that).

-Cheers

LOL.. Thanks for the heads-up/info.

If you don't mind me asking, which part of Toronto are you enumerating...? Or is it a completely different province/region?
Member
User avatar
Feb 18, 2011
365 posts
5 upvotes
Does Stats Canada pay for transit use as well? I don't have access to a car, so I'll be taking transit around the city. It wouldn't be fair to reimburse me at 55 cents/km because the TTC is $3 each way.

And to uglyfish, thanks for sharing your experiences. It does seem very hit and miss. My area is pretty good, but I haven't been assigned to a specific neighbourhood yet. I'm hoping it's around where I live. The very first thing I'm going to say when people answer their doors is "I'm sorry to bother you", because I understand people don't want to be bothered at home.
Newbie
May 21, 2011
3 posts
5 upvotes
TORONTO
With regards to travel expense, as someone mentioned due to our Conservative Harper government and in the past with false expense claims Census is making the effort to assign enumerators to areas where one does not have to use a car or TTC. Therefore, in all likelihood you will be walking in your area where you live. UNLESS you are assigned to another area in the future when your immediate area is "closed".

It honestly doesn't matter how nice or polite you are to certain people; some are just very distrustful of the government and giving information to a complete stranger. The training manual says to tell them you took an oath of secrecy and how Stats Canada does not share information with any other government agency but if you're from a country with a corrupt government it will be very hard to believe a complete stranger.

I know I've doing a lot of complaining but here are some pro-active tips (and I strongly urge others to contribute any helpful hints as well):

-do field visits in the weekday evenings; contrary to what some people say, on weekends most people are not home OR do not want to be bothered
-field visits during weekday during the early afternoon are not bad either, you'll tend to get mothers with their children who tend to be more compliant
-if you do not get a response from a house after a couple visits, give it about a couple days before doing a final visit (and writing them off)
-TRY and explain to a person if will take only a few seconds and that their very easy (and non-intrusive); this only works about 25% of the time but it has helped me convert a few refusals.
-Do not persist if the person does not want to fill it out; just ask when would be a better time to come back (because when you do come back they'll feel obligated to fill out the form since they don't want to look like liars or people who break their word)
-DO not be overwhelmed with what they teach you in training; its all very simple in practice and most of what's taught is very repetitive and some of the stuff will most likely never apply to you
-if your not getting forms in the field, take a couple hours break and then try and go out again
-(pending on your area) many houses have multiple units (i.e. second floor, basement, back entrance unit) that are hard/ impossible to access; so if you actually manage to talk to one person in that house dont forget to ask them if they know how to get a hold of the other tenants in the house.

-Participate in these types of forums because you will not have any co-workers to be in contact with and your CL will only talk to you briefly every couple days. So post information and ask for help and provide each other with solutions to practical problems. Your CL is unlikely to know the intricacies of enumerating so their advice may be of little (practical) help.

-You will have good days where everyone you meet is friendly and even invite you into their home to have Canada Dry and you collect many forms. And then you'll have bad days where people ignore you, give you the business for "harassing" them and collect zero forms with rain.
-As you move down your assignment list it will get harder because the people you couldn't reach in the beginning are unlikely to be reached later or wish to be bothered to do the census (it's kind of like a selection effect).
-Apparently a good rate is 2 forms per hour but we're told that only applies in the suburbs where the enumerator has to drive in-between houses to visit. No definite figure was placed on a productive figure and I guess some enumerators will use the ambiguity to their advantage until they decide what is a "productive". I've done days where I've gotten maybe 3 forms/hr to 0.3 forms per hour to absolute zero.

-Finally, do not quit your day job or expect this job to provide full-time hours because it won't; unless your area is huge and everyone is compliant (haha yea right!) Yes you do get to create your own hours but as i described in my other post, your creative control is severely restricted and entirely contingent upon how "productive" you are. Your CL can deny your pay claim (it probably does not occur often) and can dismiss you from your job basically without reason, so if your unproductive and logging in many hours per day... well I wouldn't recommend it. But then again, most CL's govern with their own discretion and pending on how hard their superior is coming down on them for approving the pay claims of unproductive enumerators I imagine.

Again, I could be totally off-base and I do not claim what I say is generalizable to everyone else's situation. Good luck and support your fellow enumerators!
Sr. Member
Feb 3, 2007
679 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
Every city is probably different, but anyone know on average, how big is the area/number of households a single enumerator is responsible with? If the work area is within walking distance in order to save transit fee, wouldn't they need to hire even more people to cover more areas?

Also, is the schedule made by the CL or is the enumerator supposed to work on their own schedule then submit for approval?

Anyone in the toronto area received a call from their CL regarding training next week yet?
Member
May 12, 2008
267 posts
28 upvotes
Ryvius wrote:
May 22nd, 2011 10:38 pm
Every city is probably different, but anyone know on average, how big is the area/number of households a single enumerator is responsible with? If the work area is within walking distance in order to save transit fee, wouldn't they need to hire even more people to cover more areas?

Also, is the schedule made by the CL or is the enumerator supposed to work on their own schedule then submit for approval?

Anyone in the toronto area received a call from their CL regarding training next week yet?

Yeah received a call & met with my CL. I was given a booklet to read through which counts as 2 hrs of paid work.
Member
User avatar
Feb 18, 2011
365 posts
5 upvotes
It's been two weeks since I was hired. I haven't heard anything from my CL. Maybe I should give them a call?
Member
May 12, 2008
267 posts
28 upvotes
Marcanadian wrote:
May 22nd, 2011 11:38 pm
It's been two weeks since I was hired. I haven't heard anything from my CL. Maybe I should give them a call?

That may help. If it's any indication, I called the person above my CL (district supervisor?) and left a message on his voicemail, and received my first call from my CL later the same day.
Newbie
Mar 22, 2010
21 posts
4 upvotes
Vancouver
I second the fact that YOU SHOULD NOT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB. LOL This is more of a job where, if your bored at home and want to go for a walk... No joke.
They've told us that we should be available for 20 hours a week. Well surely, I find it rather difficult to even complete 20 hours. I complete a list of 50 homes in about 2 hours.. (go to 50 homes)
I was told that the average was 3 forms per hour. Some days are much easier and some days I just make it.
As crazy as it sounds. People are actually home on weekdays in the afternoon. Which I find I get the most response from. Weekends and Friday's are HORRIBLE. Rainy days are wonderful since a lot of people are home, but it's a pain.
I've completed 3 full assignments (150 homes).. and was told that it's okay to go back for more than 3 visits.. which I find difficult. Obviously, if their not gonna answer you and you know their behind the door on the third visit. Their not gonna be answering you the 4th or 5th time you come.
There have been days where I've spent an hour enumerating and feel like it's such a waste of time.. It's honestly an hour commute for me there an back, if i'm lucky by bus. Which is such a waste of time. So, don't expect to make much from this job.

Also, Do you guys clock in your hours when you go hand in your completed 2A's to your CL?
Newbie
Oct 15, 2008
12 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
kindred_99 wrote:
May 21st, 2011 10:06 am
They are extremely disorganized. We were given a list of (most) of our enumerators a few days ago. They haven't filled all positions yet. We were originally told that we would have spares who would be told that they were spares when they were hired. It turns out that they failed to tell them this when they were hired. Some supervisors informed them this when talking to them only to be later told that there wouldn't be any spares at all and that everyone would be full enumerators. If you were told you were a spare the person that communicated the info might not be up to date (thought it might be different depending on the region).

I got hired as a on-call enumerator too even though I got 1 question wrong on the written test, did well on my phone interview and had both of my references checked (because 1 was away so they contacted the other but then he came back in time and responded). What is this bullsh1t... seriously I applied for this in Jan and they dragged me through for 5months only to offer me a backup position lol?

Would it be possible to tell my crew leader my situation and ask to work full time?
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2007
698 posts
239 upvotes
at least you got a call. i applied in jan, wrote the test in april, and i havent heard anything back. my references havent been contacted yet either.
Jr. Member
Jan 3, 2010
174 posts
3 upvotes
I did my test and phone interview and references were contacted. I have not heard anything back from them yet (St Clair Location). Is it safe to say that I have not been hired as an enumerator?
Newbie
May 19, 2011
5 posts
1 upvote
BURNABY
smitty9999 wrote:
May 24th, 2011 12:00 pm
at least you got a call. i applied in jan, wrote the test in april, and i havent heard anything back. my references havent been contacted yet either.
Same old; same old. As I wrote in an earlier post, I was advised by a census employee that the applications of those who applied very early on were "buried and forgotten".
Member
May 12, 2008
267 posts
28 upvotes
raps_baller wrote:
May 24th, 2011 12:21 pm
I did my test and phone interview and references were contacted. I have not heard anything back from them yet (St Clair Location). Is it safe to say that I have not been hired as an enumerator?

My CL had told me how there were 700 applicants in my area alone for about 12 positions. Though ppl got weeded out along the way (test, telephone interview, reference & police check), I was told that there were still many qualified applications without a job offer. Sucks, I know.
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2007
698 posts
239 upvotes
BCJerry wrote:
May 24th, 2011 12:41 pm
Same old; same old. As I wrote in an earlier post, I was advised by a census employee that the applications of those who applied very early on were "buried and forgotten".

yup i read that. i didnt have a call back number though, so it looks like im SOL. personally, i think its because I dont fit the demographics of my neighbourhood.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 6, 2006
3712 posts
396 upvotes
Toronto
Believe it or not they are still hiring people this week, up to and including Friday. These are for positions that begin training on Monday and Tuesday, with field work beginning Wednesday. Training attendance is mandatory as they don't leave any buffer room in between training and the beginning of actual work. I am not sure who set these schedules and who determines the hiring process but it seems to be a problem in many, if not all parts of the country. People are being strung along for months, hired and given almost no notice for positions that will last a couple of months at best. There is mass confusion and disorganization at every level.
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