Policy on Official Release

The protection of sensitive data is of the utmost importance to Statistics Canada; it is a fundamental value that is deeply ingrained within the agency's culture, as is the commitment to providing Canadians with equitable and timely access to data and analysis. This aligns with the mandate to publish statistics about Canada's economy and society, as required by the Statistics Act.

Providing limited access to advance release information is an important part of the agency's practices for a number of reasons, including

  • improving the quality of data and analysis
  • ensuring the security of data
  • keeping senior officials and ministers informed in a timely manner.

This policy is updated regularly to ensure its continued relevance.

1.0 Effective date

1.1 This policy took effect on May 15, 2013. It was updated on June 21, 2021.

2.0 Application

2.1 This policy applies to Statistics Canada employees and authorized external recipients who manage the official release of new datasets, analytical products and information products based on new datasets; it excludes the following:

  • tabulations from previously released datasets
  • administrative data collected by Statistics Canada
  • data linkages created from datasets that have already been officially released
  • microdata files of aggregate statistics that have been officially released
  • results of tests, pilot surveys, working papers, feasibility studies and analytical reports on methods used, subject to the restrictions of the Statistics Act
  • presentations or publication of analysis or preliminary research findings that are based on previously released datasets.

2.2 This policy applies to all new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, created by Statistics Canada. It is consistent with the provisions of the Statistics Act and does not restrict the authority of the Chief Statistician.

2.3 This policy applies the terms and conditions for providing new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, to a third party prior to a public release in one of Statistics Canada's official release vehicles.

2.4 This policy applies to the coordinated release of new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, with other departments, agencies and organizations.

2.5 The Chief Statistician may grant exemptions from this policy, subject to Canadian law and Government of Canada policies.

3.0 Policy objectives and expected results

3.1 The purpose of this policy is to outline the conditions for making statistical products produced by Statistics Canada accessible to Canadians in an equitable and timely manner, in line with the agency's responsibility to publish statistical information, as mandated in the Statistics Act.

3.2 To meet this objective, the policy sets out provisions to:

3.2.1 ensure that all new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, are released through an announcement in one of the agency's official release vehicles, such as The Daily

3.2.2 ensure that all new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, are secure and protected until their official release in one of the official release vehicles

3.2.3 ensure that all new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, are not shared outside Statistics Canada prior to their official release, except under strict terms and conditions.

3.3 The expected results of this policy are as follows:

3.3.1 provide equitable access to all of Statistics Canada's new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets

3.3.2 limit advance access to official releases by third parties, thereby mitigating the risk of inequitable access to information

3.3.3 provide an accountable, secure framework for giving access to official releases.

4.0 Policy statement

4.1 Official Release

4.1.1 Statistics Canada's policy is to release all new datasets as well as analytical products and information products based on newdata sets in its official release vehicles, such as The Daily, before they are shared externally, with limited exceptions.

4.1.2 The Communications Branch provides a calendar for upcoming releases and works with subject-matter areas to ensure the accuracy and accessibility of official releases.

4.2 Advance release of data

4.2.1 Statistics Canada shares some information with external partners prior to its official release for specific considerations, such as validation and briefing, and the advance release of sensitive data.

4.2.2 Advance release for the purpose of data validation: When deemed necessary to ensure that data are of good quality, the agency may ask qualified individuals and organizations to validate the data collected and processed prior to their official release. For example, subject-matter experts outside Statistics Canada can validate the agency's data and contribute to improving their quality and accuracy.

4.2.3 Advance release for the purpose of briefing: Statistics Canada may also share new data, as well as analytical products and information products based on new data, for briefing purposes in advance of a release with the following types of organizations:

  • Sponsor organizations: These are organizations that help Statistics Canada produce and publish the data through funding (such as through a letter of agreement or memorandum of understanding), methodological support or shared statistical program governance. These organizations include cost-recovery clients.
  • Organizations that provide administrative data: These are organizations that provide administrative data that Statistics Canada uses to produce and publish statistics.
  • Organizations that are part of shared governance agreements: The agency may share data with organizations that are part of an official shared governance agreement specifically established for the sharing of these data. These are organizations that have a shared agreement with Statistics Canada approved by the Chief Statistician on the recommendation of the Strategic Management Committee. For example, interdepartmental committees responsible for producing data may be granted access to advance data.

4.2.4 Advance release of sensitive data authorized by the Chief Statistician on the advice of the Clerk of the Privy Council

Sensitive data, as designated and approved by the Strategic Management Committee, include key economic indicators and releases.

The Chief Statistician is responsible for authorizing an organization’s advance access to sensitive data, on the advice of the Clerk of the Privy Council; no more than two individuals within an organization are provided with access to sensitive data, unless authorized by the Chief Statistician.

4.3 Security measures

4.3.1 The agency has established a rigorous formal protocol for the advance sharing of information with third-party organizations to ensure the data's security.

4.3.2 Data are shared only on a "need to know" basis. That is, it is deemed that the intended recipient must have advance access to the dataset to perform their official duties.

4.3.3 The following are key steps in the advance release of sensitive data:

  • The deputy head of an organization, department or agency makes a formal request to the Chief Statistician with a justification outlining how advance access to sensitive data is in the interests of Canadians.
  • Subject-matter experts within the agency review the request and make a recommendation to their senior management, which includes a justification that describes
    • how the advance release benefits Canadian interests
    • o how the advance release benefits the operations of the federal government or of provincial, territorial or municipal governments
    • how the advance release is essential for briefing purposes.
  • The Director General of Communications provides a validation of submissions for advance release.
  • The Assistant Chief Statistician of the subject-matter area and the Assistant Chief Statistician of Strategic Engagement make recommendations on the advance release of sensitive data for consideration by the Strategic Management Committee and authorization by the Chief Statistician.
  • The Chief Statistician, on the advice of the Clerk of the Privy Council, makes a decision concerning approval. Advance release agreements authorized by the Chief Statistician are valid for a period of 12 months, starting on the date that the Chief Statistician signs the authorization.
  • If the advance release request is approved, the receiving organization must undertake to appoint a liaison officer to work with agency representatives to
    • provide signed Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms from all individuals who may have advance access to data
    • ensure that all individuals who may have advance access to data are briefed on the protocols and the need to maintain data security
    • ensure that security provisions are adhered to within their organization.

See Appendix A: List of sensitive datasets.
See Appendix B: Procedures for advance release of sensitive data.
See Appendix C: Procedures for advance release for validation or information purposes.
See Appendix D: Procedures for advance release under a shared governance agreement.

4.4 Need-to-know considerations

4.4.1 Organizations must agree to restrict access to advance information only to those who need to know to perform their duties during the time before release and provide appropriate justification. Furthermore, individuals must have been briefed on data security and have signed an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form.

4.4.2 The Communications Branch is responsible for maintaining the security of all records, including Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms, related to third party access to data before official release.

4.4.3 In the case of sensitive data, the Communications Branch must provide the Chief Statistician with a list of all the agreements with participating organizations and the name and position title of each individual who will have access to sensitive data, as well as update the Chief Statistician with respect to changes to agreements.

4.4.4 In certain situations, microdata files or confidential aggregates from which datasets are obtained may be shared with an external recipient as part of an advance release agreement, as long as one of the following conditions is met:

  • • a data sharing agreement under Section 11 or 12 of the Statistics Act is in effect (as per the Directive on Data Sharing)
  • a discretionary disclosure order under Subsection 17(2) of the Statistics Act is in effect (as per the Directive on Discretionary Disclosure).

4.4.5 All sharing of advance datasets is through authorized channels approved by the Chief Statistician.

4.4.6 Organizations that access sensitive data prior to official release must also undertake to conduct annual reviews to ensure compliance and maintain up-to-date records (e.g., staffing changes) and to conduct an annual review to ensure compliance. Organizations must also commit to conducting a fulsome investigation in the event of a real or suspected breach of this policy. If founded, receiving organizations commit to implementing appropriate corrective measures in a timely manner, where warranted.

4.4.7 Any breach of the advance release process is considered a breach of this policy, and Statistics Canada senior management, including the Chief Security Officer and the Strategic Management Committee, must be informed of the breach. Senior management will be responsible for determining the appropriate course of action, which could include revoking advance release agreements with individuals or organizations. See Section 6 for more detail.

5.0 Requirements

5.1 The Chief Statistician is responsible for

5.1.1 performing the final step of the institutional review for all content proposed for publication in any of Statistics Canada's official release vehicles

5.1.2 consulting with the Clerk of the Privy Council before deciding upon advance release requests for sensitive data.

5.2 The Office of the Chief Statistician is responsible for

5.2.1 providing the Communications Branch with all documentation related to advance releases for record-keeping.

5.3 The Strategic Management Committee is responsible for

5.3.1 conducting an annual review of advance release agreements and all shared governance agreements

5.3.2 recommending to the Chief Statistician the designation of shared governance (with partner organizations through a recognized governance structure) upon the recommendation of an assistant chief statistician

5.3.3 reviewing and approving the list of economic indicators and releases classified as sensitive

5.3.4 determining appropriate agency actions if an external organization or individual fails to follow the conditions set by the agency for accessing data in advance of official release; these requirements are outlined for internal reference across the agency in the Policy on Official Release.

5.4 Internal Audit Division is responsible for

5.4.1 performing audits, reviews or advisory engagements included in its multi-year Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan, and upon request from senior management when required

5.4.2 reviewing, assessing and advising agency senior management with respect to the results of audits, reviews or compliance assessments undertaken by recipient organizations, related to their compliance with the Policy on Official Release.

5.5 Directors are responsible for

Official release announcements

5.5.1 ensuring that new datasets, as well as analytical products and information products based on new datasets, are published in one of the agency's official release vehicles, such as The Daily

5.5.2 ensuring that official releases with analytical content are approved by the Assistant Chief Statistician of the subject-matter area prior to publication and providing the Communications Branch with a copy of the approval

5.5.3 ensuring that official releases for economic indicators and those of an analytical nature are reviewed by the Chief Statistician prior to publication; official releases of an analytical nature include information that sheds new light on a topic, is relevant to a current issue or informs public policy debate

5.5.4 ensuring that analysts writing major releases have received training in writing for official release

5.5.5 ensuring that a media contact or spokesperson is provided in both official languages for each release and that this person has obtained formal media training, as required under the Directive on Media Relations

5.5.6 ensuring that the media contact is available until 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the day of production, the day of release and the following business day

Advance release for purposes of data validation and briefing

5.5.7 determining where benefits warrant the advance release of data to external organizations for the purposes of data validation

5.5.8 ensuring that protected information is securely transmitted when shared outside the agency

5.5.9 ensuring that all external recipients who access advance information have signed the Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form

5.5.10 incorporating the conditions governing advance release into agreements for cost-recovery surveys and monitoring the compliance of the survey sponsor

5.5.11 establishing a reasonable period of time to carry out analytical and other activities between the provision of data to sponsors of cost-recovery surveys and their official release by Statistics Canada

5.5.12 requesting authorization through the Communications Branch to provide information prior to official release, as per section 4.2 of the Policy on Official Release, by completing the Advance Release Submission form and conducting the advance release in conformity with agency procedures

5.5.13 reviewing the advance releases and their recipients annually to ensure only those with a clear work-related need have access to advance releases

5.5.14 providing all advance release-related documentation to the Communications Branch for record-keeping

5.5.15 conducting advance release of data for the purposes of data validation and briefing according to Appendix C

Shared governance agreements

5.5.16 proposing the recognition of collaborative programs in a shared governance agreement to their director general, who will make a recommendation to the field's assistant chief statistician on the status and membership of collaborative programs

5.5.17 as part of shared governance agreements, conducting advance release of data intended for official release according to Appendix D

Advance release of sensitive data authorized by the Chief Statistician on the advice of the Clerk of the Privy Council

5.5.18 requesting a new authorization through the Office of the Chief Statistician

5.5.19 ensuring that protected information is securely transmitted when provided outside the agency (as described in the Directive on the Transmission of Protected Information)

5.5.20 ensuring that all external recipients who access advance information have signed the Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form

5.5.21 prior to each release, confirming the names of the recipients of advance information with recipient organizations to ensure only those with a clear work-related need to know have access to advance information

5.5.22 providing all advance release-related documentation to the Communications Branch for record-keeping

5.5.23 conducting advance release of sensitive aggregate data according to Appendix B.

5.6 Communications Branch is responsible for

5.6.1 overseeing the application of this policy, advising subject-matter areas and senior management on the interpretation of the policy, and reporting to the Strategic Management Committee on any emerging questions regarding its application

5.6.2 managing the scheduling of official releases and preparing, in coordination with subject-matter divisions, the annual calendar of release dates for major economic indicators, and weekly announcements of upcoming releases

5.6.3 referring any submissions for advance release that involve special circumstances not covered by the principles in this policy, or that do not conform to policy requirements, to the Strategic Management Committee for a recommendation to the Chief Statistician

5.6.4 maintaining a register of all advance releases, including the approval documentation, and ensuring all signatures are up to date

5.6.5 reporting on the advance release register annually to the Strategic Management Committee after confirming its accuracy with divisional directors

5.6.6 maintaining a register of all external organizations and the names and position titles of individuals within those organizations who are approved for access to advance information, including the justification for their access

5.6.7 reviewing and approving the list of external recipients of advance release agreements, and validating the justification for their access based on the need to know

5.6.8 maintaining a register of all Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms signed by individuals approved for advance access to data and ensuring signatures are up to date

5.6.9 ensuring all advance release-related registers are maintained in a corporate repository

5.6.10 monitoring periodically that subject-matter areas are adhering to the policy

5.6.11 advising the Strategic Management Committee on all aspects of official release

5.6.12 informing the Chief Statistician of the agreements with participating organizations and the name and position title of each individual who will have access to sensitive data, as well as updating the Chief Statistician with respect to changes to agreements

5.6.13 providing media training to media contacts and spokespersons who will be briefing media on the day of release

5.6.14 providing training on writing for official release vehicles.

5.7 The Digital Solutions Field is responsible for

5.7.1 monitoring access by external recipients to protected information on its information technology infrastructure (e.g., electronic transfer file system, Virtual Data Lab) to ensure that only authorized individuals are accessing protected information

5.7.2 providing reports to the Communications Branch and subject-matter areas as needed.

5.8 Organizations receiving advance information from Statistics Canada are responsible for

5.8.1 safeguarding protected information by ensuring that participating individuals are properly briefed and share the information only with those who have signed an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form and who are on the list submitted by the organization

5.8.2 limiting access to as few employees as possible, based on the need-to-know principle, and providing Statistics Canada with a complete list of all recipients who have access, including their name and position title and the justification for their access

5.8.3 confirming compliance with the conditions governing advance release agreements, including acknowledging the consequences of non-compliance

5.8.4 conducting a fulsome investigation into real or suspected breaches of this policy within their organization, and implementing appropriate corrective measures where warranted

5.8.5 informing Statistics Canada of employees who are not in compliance with the requirements of the Policy on Official Release

5.8.6 acknowledging receipt of advance information

5.8.7 destroying any protected information within their possession once the review or briefing is complete, prior to official release, and confirming the destruction to Statistics Canada.

5.9 Individuals receiving advance release information from Statistics Canada are responsible for

5.9.1 signing an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form

5.9.2 confirming compliance with the conditions governing advance release agreements, including acknowledging the consequences of non-compliance

5.9.3 acknowledging receipt of advance information

5.9.4 sharing the information only with those who have signed an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form and who are on the list submitted by the organization

5.9.5 destroying the protected information once the review or briefing is completed, prior to official release, and confirming destruction with Statistics Canada

5.9.6 complying with Statistics Canada requirements for transmitting protected information, as outlined in the agency's Directive on the Transmission of Protected Information, when sharing information with authorized people.

6.0 Consequences of non-compliance

6.1 The Chief Statistician

6.1.1 The Chief Statistician is responsible for determining the appropriate consequence in cases of non-compliance.

6.2 Statistics Canada employees

6.2.1 Consequences of non-compliance with this policy for Statistics Canada employees may include disciplinary measures and may include prosecution as described in sections 30 and 34 of the Statistics Act.

6.3 External organizations and individuals

6.3.1 Consequences of non-compliance with this policy for individuals and organizations receiving protected information prior to official release may include up to the termination of all active advance release agreements for a given individual or organization.

7.0 References

7.1 Relevant legislation

Statistics Act
Access to Information Act

7.2 Related policies

Policy on Government Security
IT Security Policy
Policy on Communications and Federal Identity
Policy on Highlights of Publications
Policy on Information Management
Policy on Microdata Access
Policy on Microdata Release
Policy on Peer and Institutional Review

7.3 Related directives

Directive on the Security of Sensitive Statistical Information
Directive on Corrections to Daily Releases and Statistical Products
Directive on Data Sharing
Directive on Discretionary Disclosure
Directive on the Management of Aggregate Statistics
Directive on the Management of Statistical Microdata Files
Directive on the Transmission of Protected Information
Directive on Obtaining Administrative Data under the Statistics Act
Directive on Media Relations

8.0 Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy to the Director General of the Communications Branch.

Appendices

Appendix A: List of sensitive datasets

For the purposes of the Policy on Official Release, the following data have been identified as sensitive data:

  • Canada's balance of international payments
  • Canadian international merchandise trade
  • the Consumer Price Index
  • gross domestic product by industry
  • the Monthly Survey of Manufacturing
  • gross domestic product, income and expenditures
  • the Labour Force Survey
  • labour productivity, hourly compensation and unit labour cost
  • national balance sheet and financial flow accounts
  • retail trade.

At the discretion of the Chief Statistician, new datasets may be added or exceptions made to this list.

Appendix B: Procedures for advance release of sensitive data

Subject-matter areas must

  1. obtain a comprehensive list of all employees within the receiving organizations who will access advance data, prior to the sharing of these data, every time advance information is shared; this list must contain
    • the name of all employees
    • the position title of all employees
    • the justification for advance access for all employees
  2. submit the list of all employees accessing advance information within the receiving organization to the Communications Branch, which will use the need-to-know basis to validate the list
  3. ensure that all recipients within the receiving organizations each have a valid Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form; forms must be up to date (forms are valid for a period of 12 months) and must be signed by
    • the external recipient
    • a subject-matter representative from Statistics Canada.
  4. submit copies of all signed Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms to the Communications Branch for record-keeping
  5. use the information technology system approved by the Chief Statistician to share advance information
  6. ensure that all advance information shared with external clients bears the "protected" watermark
  7. communicate the conditions governing the advance release of information, including consequences of non-compliance, to every individual accessing advance information every time advance information is shared
  8. obtain an acknowledgement from all receiving individuals that they are aware of the conditions governing the advance release information and understand the consequences of non-compliance
  9. track access to advance information by external recipients and keep this tracking documentation for a period of 12 months
  10. meet with organization, department or agency liaison officers to review documentation needs and usage annually
  11. share the information with the receiving organization no earlier than 6:30 a.m. Eastern standard time on the day of official release, unless authorized by the Chief Statistician (this condition does not apply to cost-recovery clients).

Receiving organizations must

  1. agree to restrict access to the advance information to only those people who have been approved and who have signed an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form
  2. use the electronic information technology system approved by Statistics Canada for sharing advance information
  3. provide Statistics Canada with copies of the signed Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms
  4. provide the comprehensive list of authorized employees to Statistics Canada before every advance release, including the name and position title of all participants, their contact information, and the justification for their access, for validation by the agency; access may be refused to some employees on a case-by-case basis
  5. have the deputy head name a liaison officer responsible for:
    • providing monthly updates and confirmations of the list of authorized employees to Statistics Canada for validation and ensuring that all employees on the list have a need to know
    • overseeing the overall dissemination process and communicating with Statistics Canada any observed vulnerabilities or instances of non-compliance
    • coordinating the department's annual assessment of compliance with the policy
    • ensuring that all employees who access advance information have been briefed by a designated official from Statistics Canada on the conditions for accessing that information and consequences of non-compliance with the policy
  6. prior to the first advance release, establish a formal security briefing process to ensure that all employees who access advance information are briefed on the conditions of the policy
    • hold annual briefings in collaboration with Statistics Canada and ensure that all new employees who sign an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form also receive a briefing.
    • provide Statistics Canada with records of the briefing and attendance
  7. prior to the first advance release, establish an annual internal assessment of compliance with policy requirements, based on criteria provided by Statistics Canada, to be managed by the organization's liaison officers, as follows:
    • use the criteria for this assessment provided by Statistics Canada
    • have the deputy head be responsible for validating and submitting the assessment results to Statistics Canada
    • report annually to Statistics Canada on the results and implementation of corrective measures related to the internal assessment
  8. implement measures to ensure compliance with Statistics Canada's terms and conditions for advance access to data.

Reporting non-compliance

Any cases of sensitive advance information being shared with external participants in a way that does not comply with the policy will be considered a breach of this policy and must be reported to the Assistant Chief Statistician in the relevant subject-matter area.

In cases where the external organization or individual does not comply with the conditions of the Policy on Official Release, the breach must be reported to the Chief Statistician.

Individuals or organizations that do not comply with the conditions set above will be subject to the consequences outlined in Section 6 of this policy.

Appendix C: Procedures for advance release for validation or information purposes

Subject-matter areas must

  1. obtain a comprehensive list of all employees within the receiving organizations who will access advance data, prior to the sharing of these data, every time advance information is shared; this list must contain
    • the name of all employees
    • the position title of all employees
    • the justification for advance access for all employees
  2. submit the list of all employees accessing advance information within the receiving organization to the Communications Branch, which will use a need-to-know basis to validate the list
  3. ensure that all recipients within the receiving organizations have a valid Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form; forms must be up to date (forms are valid for a period of 12 months) and must be signed by
    • the external recipient
    • a subject-matter representative from Statistics Canada
  4. submit copies of all signed Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms to Communications Branch for record-keeping
  5. use the information technology system approved by the Chief Statistician to share advance information
  6. ensure that all advance information shared with external clients bears the "protected" watermark
  7. communicate the conditions governing the advance release of information, including consequences of non-compliance, to every individual accessing advance information every time advance information is shared
  8. obtain an acknowledgement from all receiving individuals that they are aware of the conditions governing the advance release information and understand the consequences of non-compliance
  9. track access to advance information by external recipients and keep this tracking documentation for a period of 12 months
  10. meet with organization or department to review documentation needs and usage annually.

Receiving organizations must

  1. agree to restrict access to the advance information to only those people who have been approved and who have signed an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form
  2. use the electronic information technology system approved by Statistics Canada for sharing advance information
  3. provide Statistics Canada with copies of the signed Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms
  4. provide the comprehensive list of authorized employees to Statistics Canada before every advance release, including the name and position of all participants, their contact information, as well as the justification for their access, for validation by the agency; access may be refused to some employees on a case-by-case basis
  5. prior to the first advance release, establish a formal security briefing process to ensure that all employees who access advance information are briefed on the conditions of the policy
    • hold annual briefings in collaboration with Statistics Canada and ensure that all new employees who sign an Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form also receive a briefing
    • provide Statistics Canada with records of the briefing and attendance
  6. prior to the first advance release, establish an annual internal assessment of compliance with policy requirements, based on criteria provided by Statistics Canada, to be managed by the organization's liaison officers, as follows:
    • use the criteria for this assessment provided by Statistics Canada
    • have the deputy head be responsible for validating and submitting the assessment results to Statistics Canada
    • report annually to Statistics Canada on the results and implementation of corrective measures related to the internal assessment
  7. implement measures to ensure compliance with Statistics Canada's terms and conditions for advance access to data.

Reporting non-compliance

Any cases of advance information being shared with external participants in a way that does not comply with the policy will be considered a breach of this policy and must be reported to the Assistant Chief Statistician in the relevant subject-matter area.

In cases where the external organization or individual does not comply with the conditions of the Policy on Official Release, the breach must be reported to the Chief Statistician.

Individuals or organizations that do not comply with the conditions set above will be subject to the consequences outlined in Section 6 of this policy.

Appendix D: Procedures for advance release under shared governance agreement

  1. A Shared Governance Structure Recognition Submission form must be prepared for a formal collaborative program that has been designated by the Strategic Management Committee as a recognized shared governance structure with partner organizations.
  2. When a collaborative program with a shared governance structure is recognized and approved, the program, the approval date and other information are posted on Statistics Canada's Internal Communications Network.
  3. When a shared governance agreement exists, and when protected information is shared before official release with the partner organization, it is not necessary to complete an Advance Release Submission form if the following conditions are met:
    • The list of data or products shared has been detailed in the shared governance agreement (in the form or in an appendix).
      • The external members of the shared governance agreement each have a signed and valid Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information form.
  4. When a shared governance agreement exists, and when protected information is shared before official release with the partner organization, but the conditions above are not met, an Advance Release Submission form must be completed.
  5. Although a Shared Governance Structure Recognition Submission has no expiry date, the signed Acknowledgement of Security Requirements for Protected Information forms for shared governance agreements are valid for a period of 12 months from the date of the recipient's signature. They must be forwarded to the Director General of the Communications Branch.

Reporting non-compliance

Any cases of advance information being shared with external participants in a way that does not comply with the policy will be considered a breach of this policy and must be reported to the Assistant Chief Statistician in the relevant subject-matter area.

In cases where the external organization or individual does not comply with the conditions of the Policy on Official Release, the breach must be reported to the Chief Statistician.

Individuals or organizations that do not comply with the conditions set above will be subject to the consequences outlined in Section 6 of this policy.

Appendix E: Definitions

Administrative data refer to information that is collected by other organizations and departments for their own purposes, and is sought, at the micro or aggregate level, by Statistics Canada in respect of objects of the Statistics Act.

Analytical products for release include a wide range of texts (and associated graphics, tables and other quantitative results), such as those that are intended to be accessible to a broad audience, those focusing on a single dataset or data series, and those intended for a scholarly audience and include more complex methods and reasoning and make extensive reference to the broader research literature.

Briefing includes the sharing of information with an external partner to allow that partner to

  • brief its senior management, including the deputy minister and the minister (in the case of government departments)
  • prepare communication materials, such as questions and answers, media lines, ministerial statements, press releases, social media campaigns, and letters to stakeholders
  • publish Statistics Canada's data (either in a publication or on a website) at the same time as the agency.

Business day means any day from Monday to Friday, with the exception of statutory holidays. The Daily is not published from December 25 to January 2.

Confidential aggregates mean information that could directly or indirectly identify a person, business or organization.

Data validation is the review of data to ensure their accuracy and quality. Individuals who are not employees (or who are not deemed employees) of Statistics Canada and who can help Statistics Canada validate data can have access to those data prior to official release, according to procedures outlined in the policy. In such cases, subject-matter divisions are responsible for proving that the individuals in question are qualified and in a position to validate the data, and that their feedback will help Statistics Canada improve the accuracy and quality of the data.

Dataset means non-confidential aggregated data or microdata, or statistical aggregates obtained from microdata, an administrative file or a combination of both. A dataset is new if it is from a newly instituted statistical program, or if it is from a previously unreleased iteration of an existing statistical program. New datasets exclude the following:

  • tabulations from previously released datasets
  • administrative data collected by Statistics Canada
  • data linkages created from datasets that have already been officially released
  • microdata files of aggregate statistics that have been officially released
  • results of tests, pilot surveys, working papers, feasibility studies and analytical reports on methods used, subject to the restrictions of the Statistics Act
  • presentations or publication of analysis or preliminary research findings that are based on previously released datasets.

Daily text refers to the summary intended for publication in The Daily to communicate significant findings of potential interest to Canadians.

Final dataset means that the dataset is considered ready for official release.

In confidence is to be interpreted as prohibiting communication to a third party of any information related to the statistical findings.

Information products are the compilation of results from Statistics Canada activities, including non-confidential data files, databases, public use microdata files, tables (including Common Output Data Repository tables), graphs and maps. Information products usually require a catalogue number and can be made available in either print or electronic media. There are two categories of information products: those based on new, not-yet-released data, and those based on previously released data.

Sensitive data, as designated and approved by the Chief Statistician, include key economic indicators and releases. The Strategic Management Committee recommends the list of releases classified as sensitive to the Chief Statistician.

Media contacts are professional staff delegated by senior management and identified to the Communications Branch, to provide explanations and interpretations of statistics.

Microdata file means a structured file containing confidential information for individual people, businesses or organizations.

Need to know, according to the Standard on Security Screening, is a criterion used by the custodian(s) of sensitive information, assets or facilities to establish, prior to disclosure or providing access, that the intended recipient must have access to perform their official duties.

Official release vehicles are dissemination channels that have been approved by the Chief Statistician as official for the purposes of communicating new data products to Canadians. These channels are easily accessible and visible and ensure equitable access to the agency's statistical products. The Daily is one of Statistics Canada's official release vehicles.

Real-time data are statistics that are made ready for publication almost as soon as they are collected. Crowdsourcing is an example of such data.

Secure transmission means ensuring that the protected information is transmitted in a format that can be accessed only by the designated individuals of the selected organization.

A shared governance agreement is a formal agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of a collaboration between Statistics Canada and other organizations for the collection and production of statistics.

Spokespersons are individuals designated by the Chief Statistician to respond on behalf of the agency to media enquiries on cross-cutting or program issues.

The Daily is one of Statistics Canada's official release vehicles. It comprises one or more announcements called releases, which can be major or minor. Major releases usually contain important information for the Canadian public and provide a national, regional or industrial perspective. They generally include tables and charts to support the information described in the text. Minor releases usually focus on a particular industry or subject and provide a brief overview of the data. They may include tables and charts to support the information described in the text.

Validation dataset means that the dataset is not yet final and, as such, is not considered ready for release. Data verification is still ongoing.

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