Privacy and confidentiality

We know your information is important to you. We have high standards for keeping your information private, secure and confidential.

Statistics Canada does not release any information that identifies an individual, household, business or agricultural operation without their consent, or as authorized by the Statistics Act. Final results are carefully screened before release to prevent published statistics from being used to derive information.

The Statistics Act contains very strict confidentiality provisions that protect collected information from unauthorized access. For example, agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the courts do not have access to individual survey responses.

Statistics Canada employees are responsible for ensuring the security of confidential information, and face severe penalties for any breach of confidentiality. Only employees who need to view confidential files as part of their duties are authorized to access them. Furthermore, a network of physical security systems and procedures protects confidential information against unauthorized outside access.

Data sharing agreements

To reduce duplication of collection and response burden, Statistics Canada may enter into a data sharing agreement with various government departments or with corporations for the sharing of information collected from survey respondents. Statistics Canada has active agreements with over 100 organizations.

For these collections, Statistics Canada is required by law to inform survey respondents at time of collection that the information is being collected on behalf of Statistics Canada and the department or corporation as the case may be. In cases where the survey respondent objects to the sharing of the information, Statistics Canada will not share the information.

Each organization receiving data from Statistics Canada has agreed to use the data for statistical purposes only and to comply with specific terms and conditions with regard to the access, confidentiality and security of the information they received. Refer to receiving organizations obligations and duties.

Microdata linkage

To reduce response burden and increase data quality and consistency, Statistics Canada may combine information collected from a survey with information from other surveys or administrative sources. In addition, Statistics Canada performs other linkages between different administrative files. Respondents are notified that their responses may be combined with other survey or administrative data. Moreover, Statistics Canada practices a well-defined review and approval process for all microdata linkages.

Administrative data

Administrative data are information collected by government agencies and/or private sector companies in support of their own operations. These data enable Statistics Canada to produce statistics and research to benefit Canada, while reducing response burden and costs, improving the efficiency of statistical operations as well as data quality and timeliness. All data obtained by Statistics Canada are used solely for statistical or research purposes.

Authorized disclosures

Statistics Canada is allowed to disclose identifiable information when the respondent has given written consent to release it. The Act also allows the Chief Statistician to authorize the disclosure of certain data related to companies and organizations, without the consent of the respondent, only in specific and limited situations.

Principles of privacy

Statistics Canada adheres to 10 privacy principles when collecting information. Statistics Canada has completed Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA), to assess and evaluate privacy, confidentiality or security risks associated with the collection, use or disclosure of personal information, and to develop measures intended to reduce and eliminate identified risks. For more information see Statistics Canada’s Directive on Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments.

Information collected under the Corporations Returns Act

In addition to its primary mandate under the Statistics Act, Statistics Canada is also responsible for administering the Corporations Returns Act, which was enacted to monitor the extent of foreign control of Canadian corporations. Information collected under the Corporations Returns Act is the only one in which Statistics Canada is authorized to release certain non-financial information on specific corporations.