Live chat on Statistics Canada's website - Privacy impact assessment summary


To improve Statistics Canada's services and communicate directly with data users and survey respondents, a new live chat feature has been added to the agency's website.


Anyone can anonymously submit a question to Statistics Canada via live chat.


Statistics Canada's live chat feature does not collect any personal information and users are asked to not provide such information; however, since some users could still choose to provide personal information, a PIA was done to determine whether this was cause for concern in terms of privacy, confidentiality and security and, if so, to make recommendations to resolve and mitigate these issues.

Identifying and categorizing risk areas

The PIA also identifies the risk areas and categorizes the level of potential risk (with level 1 representing the lowest level of potential risk and level 4 the highest) associated with collecting and using personal information through this feature.

Personal information of participants:

  • Type of program or activity—Level 1: Program or activity that does not require a decision about an identifiable individual.
  • Type of personal information in question and context—Level 1: Only non-context-sensitive personal information collected directly from the individual or provided with their consent for disclosure under an authorized program.
  • Participation of partners and private sector in the program or activity—Level 1: Within the institution.
  • Duration of the program or activity—Level 3: Long-term program.
  • Program population—N/A: No personal information is used in the program. Personal information that could voluntarily be provided by users will not be used for any administrative or other purposes.
  • Transmission of personal information—Level 2: The personal information is used in a system that is connected to at least one other system.
  • Technology and protection of privacy: A new live chat feature is now available on the website. Adding the software behind it called for modifications to the IT systems. However, the software will not be used for data collection.
  • Privacy breach: Users will be asked to not provide any personal information. If such information is provided, it will not be used and will be destroyed after three months. Therefore, the risk of personal information being disclosed without proper authorization is very low and the impact on the individual would be low.


This assessment of the live chat feature on the Statistics Canada website did not identify any privacy risks that cannot be managed using existing safeguards.

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