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NWT residents received a curious pamphlet in the mail last week: a personal message from finance minister Robert Mcleod, imploring the people of the NWT to fill out the 2016 census. Times are tough and the territorial government wants to ensure it wrings every last penny it can from its biggest moneymaker: the per capita federal financing formula that gives the NWT $35,000 in transfer payments for every beating heart that falls within the jurisdiction.

Up Here magazine has sensed the desperation in our leaders’ quotes and have some suggestions to help make this census season the most productive one yet.

- Have you recently made any drastic life changes (sobriety; new diet, workout regime or hobbies; break-up, etc.) and consider yourself to be a new man/woman? Please be sure to count your new AND old selves in the census.

- In your residence, do you regularly Skype with someone from outside the NWT? If the answer is yes, be sure to count that person in the census because sure, they’re pretty much a member of your household, right?

- If you have any friends who visited you once in Yellowknife and mused, however passingly—perhaps even under their breath—that they maybe could one day see themselves moving to Yellowknife, please be sure to count them in the census. 

- If you have reason to be believe a poltergeist is haunting your residence, please include him/her/ it in the census. If the poltergeist has any dependents, make sure to add them as well.

- If, in the past 12 months, you erected a snowman, dressed him up in a coat and hat so it appeared to be a reasonable facsimile of a human being, please do include him in the census.

- Does your child have an imaginary friend? If yes, please mark said friend in the census.

- If your pet cat or dog has a human-sounding name and you have taken a photo of your cat wearing a suit or PJs and/or your dog wearing glasses and a ball cap, please count them in the census.

- If you drew a fairly realistic picture of a person in the recent past, and you are still in possession of that image, please include it in the census.

- If you have extensive followers on social media with whom you regularly interact in lieu of conventional human interactions, please include each of these avatars in the census.

- If you or your spouse has ever pondered having children, but then decided not to because you’d both like to focus on your careers, but then there was that week where you weren’t consistent with birth control and you or your spouse’s menstrual cycle seemed off and you thought, ‘Oh no,’ but then it turned out you or your spouse was not actually pregnant, please include that hypothetical conception in the census.

- On that note, are you considering having a child? If it has reached the stage where it is a twinkle in its father’s eye, please count that twinkle as a member of your household in the census.

- Have you created a homunculus in your basement? The GNWT feels it is silly to have to tell you this, but please jot down on your census forms any homunculi you have created through some sick perversion of science, in your basement or elsewhere.

- Have two streetlights, positioned close by each other, ever caused you to temporarily have a double shadow? Those are two more household members. That is $70,000 the NWT needs. Please.