Canadian Cancer Registry - Privacy impact assessment summary


The Canadian Cancer Registry is an administrative survey that collects information on cancer incidence in Canada. A collaborative effort between the thirteen Canadian provincial and territorial cancer registries and Statistics Canada, the registry has been developed to provide Canadian incidence and survival information required for cancer control from a standardized, patient-oriented, updateable database. Its holdings are used for statistical purposes only.


A privacy impact assessment for the Canadian Cancer Registry was conducted to determine if there were any privacy, confidentiality and security issues associated with the program, and if so, to make recommendations for their resolution or mitigation.


The provincial and territorial cancer registries provide data to Statistics Canada. Each registry supplies information for new cancer patients and new cancer tumours in a standard format. This privacy impact assessment examined possible privacy risks related to the receipt, processing and the return of information back to provincial and territorial cancer registries as well as the transmission of cancer microdata to other organizations.

While the method of transmittal of files to Statistics Canada is the responsibility of the cancer registries, the Agency encourages these organizations to follow Statistics Canada's standards for the transmittal of sensitive statistical information. This includes sending electronic data and images on encrypted or password-protected compact discs and sending any encryption keys or passwords separately. Use of bonded couriers is recommended also for the delivery of compact discs and paper copies of reports.

Upon receipt by Statistics Canada, all Canadian Cancer Registry information is provided the same level of security afforded to all information obtained under the authority of the Statistics Act. As well, the return of records to the registries and transmission of microdata to other organizations complies with Agency procedures for the protection of sensitive statistical information.


This assessment of the Canadian Cancer Registry did not identify any privacy risks that cannot be managed using existing safeguards.

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