Accountability under the Statistics Act

The Statistics Act makes provisions for transparent decisions on statistical matters, such as the requirement to publish in advance mandatory requests for information from Canadians. In this spirit of transparency, Statistics Canada is also committed to making more information available about the use of its authority under the Act, such as entering into data sharing agreements.

Mandatory requests for information

Under the Act, the Chief Statistician has the authority to approve the collection of information on a mandatory basis. Information may be collected directly from respondents by conducting mandatory surveys or indirectly by obtaining documents and records already held by government departments and other organizations.

Mandatory surveys

This approach to survey collection is adopted only when thorough analysis by Statistics Canada demonstrates that mandatory survey participation is the best means to attain the quality and precision levels required to provide Canadians with accurate measures of the state of the country's economy and society.

New mandatory surveys – 2020:

A complete of list of mandatory surveys is also available.

Administrative data

The use of administrative data allows Statistics Canada to improve data quality and meet new and ongoing statistical needs, while reducing data collection costs and the response burden on Canadians. Statistics Canada will request access to information collected by other departments and organizations strictly to produce official statistics. Administrative data requests for information are updated as required. For additional information, visit Administrative data.

Other surveys and statistical programs

Statistics Canada conducts over 350 surveys and statistical programs on an ongoing basis to measure and report on the state of Canada's economy and society. Under the Statistics Act, new statistical surveys are voluntary unless otherwise decided as per the provisions described above.

Data sharing

To reduce the burden on respondents by avoiding the duplication of surveys by different organizations, Statistics Canada sometimes enters into sharing agreements with federal or provincial government departments, and with other organizations. Statistics Canada has active agreements with a little over 100 organizations.

Whenever this is done, Statistics Canada must inform respondents, at the time of collection, if a data sharing agreement applies to the information they provide and with which organization their information will be shared. When sharing of information is done under Section 12 of the Statistics Act, in most situations, respondents have the right to refuse that Statistics Canada share their information with another organization.

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.

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