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When the Dominion Bureau of Statistics came into being with the passing of the Statistics Act of 1918, Robert H. Coats was named as the first Dominion Statistician, and given the daunting task of forming the new bureau.
"Statistics wear a dry-as-dust and repellant look to many," Mr. Coats said. "The statistics of a nation are, in point of fact, the quantitative expression of the character and activities of the people and, hence, are of the most profound significance."
When John Baldwin, the StatCan productivity expert, stands before a crowd to talk about productivity, he is always aware that it means two distinct things to people in the audience.
To most, productivity has the connotation of working harder. Soon after the turn of the twentieth century, as assembly lines arrived to produce cars and appliances, productivity became synonymous with hard, tedious work in the popular imagination. Think Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times as the little guy caught in the industrial machine.