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Statistics Canada was established to ensure that Canadians have access to a trusted source of statistics on Canada to meet their highest priority needs.

The Agency's mandate derives primarily from the Statistics Act. The act requires that Statistics Canada collect, compile, analyze and publish statistical information on the economic, social, and general conditions of the country and its people. It also requires that Statistics Canada conduct a census of population and a census of agriculture every fifth year, and that the Agency protect the confidentiality of the information with which it is entrusted.

Statistics Canada is also mandated to co-ordinate and lead the national statistical system.