Glossary of Terms

Administrative purpose, in relation to the use of personal information about an individual, means the use of that information in a decision-making process that directly affects that individual.

Administrative data describes information collected by persons, organizations or departments of government for their own purposes and subsequently communicated to Statistics Canada for purposes of the Statistics Act.

Confidential information is a term used within Statistics Canada to describe information that is subject to the secrecy provisions of the Statistics Act either because it is directly identifiable, for example, by name, or, when stripped of identifiers, is held in a detail or geographical structure or format which still could permit specific respondents to be identified.

Confidentiality denotes an implied trust relationship between the person providing the information and the individual or organization collecting it.  This relationship is built on the assurance that the information will not be disclosed without the person's permission.

Microdata are files of records pertaining to individual respondent units.

Personal Identifiers are unique numbers (e.g., Social Insurance Number, Personal Health Number) assigned to individuals.

Personal Information means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form including age or date of birth, marital status, education, medical information, address, identifying number assigned to the individual.

Personal Information Banks (PIB) describe holdings of personal information about individuals held by federal government departments, where the personal information is organized and retrievable by a person's name or by an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned only to that person.

Privacy is the right to be left alone, to be free from interference and from intrusions. It includes the right of individuals to determine when, how and to what extent their information is shared with others. The collection of information from respondents by Statistics Canada is by its nature a privacy-intrusive activity.

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is a comprehensive process for determining the privacy, confidentiality and security risks associated with the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. It also defines the measures used to mitigate and, wherever possible, eliminate the identified risks. The PIA process ensures that measures intended to protect privacy and ensure the confidentiality and security of personal information are considered at the outset of any new program or service delivery initiative. A PIA also communicates to the public how their privacy is protected and their information kept confidential and secure from unauthorized access.

Public Use Microdata File means a non-identifiable data set containing characteristics pertaining to surveys units (e.g., individuals, households or businesses) that has been authorized for release to the public by the Statistics Canada Microdata Release Committee.

Record Linkage, for purposes of the Statistics Canada Directive on Record Linkage, is defined as the bringing together of two or more micro-records to form a composite record.

Respondent means a person, business or institution in respect of whom or in respect of whose activities any information is sought or provided pursuant to the Statistics Act.

Security is the means used by an organization like Statistics Canada to protect confidential information from unauthorized disclosure or access.

Sensitive Statistical Information consists of data obtained directly from respondents or from third parties in identifiable mode, under the authority of the Statistics Act. It also includes data holdings stripped of identifiers but held in a level of detail or geographical structure or format which could permit a direct relation to be established between such data holdings and identifiable units.

Statistical Aggregates are groupings of data relating to specific units of analysis (e.g., person, family, household, dwelling, farm, company, business, establishment, institution) arranged in a manner that prevents the identification of the individual units.

Statistical Master Files are electronic files containing micro-records from a survey or other statistical activity and which are used as the basic source from which statistical aggregates or public use microdata files are prepared. Micro-records are records containing information about individual respondents or units of observation (e.g., person, family, household, dwelling, farm, company, business, establishment, institution.)

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