A door to Canada's past has slammed shut, leaving future Canadians with very little information about their own families and the country's history, in a move the government says was prompted by privacy concerns.

Statistics Canada has quietly made major changes to the country's census in time for the upcoming round of national sampling in 2011. The long census questionnaire that provided information on a broad range on such topics as ethnicity, education, employment, income, housing and disability has been eliminated. Instead, those questions will be asked on a new, voluntary National Household Survey (NHS) and the results will never be released, in contrast with the treasure trove of census data that currently becomes public after 92 years.

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