Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of individuals—whether you are respondents to one of our surveys, clients who are purchasing a product or service or users of our website.
All personal information created, held or collected by Statistics Canada is protected by the Privacy Act and by the Statistics Act in the case of respondents to our surveys. This means that you will be either asked for permission to collect your information or advised of the authority for such collection.
What happens when there is a privacy breach?
A privacy breach is the loss of, unauthorized access to, or disclosure of, personal information. This can occur as a result of the theft or loss of information or data storage equipment, or the improper or unauthorized collection, use, disclosure, access, storage or disposal of information, including misdirected correspondence. When Statistics Canada discovers or is made aware of a breach, we take immediate action, in compliance with the Directive on Privacy Practices and Guidelines for Privacy Breaches established by the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Statistics Canada's commitment to keeping the confidentiality of the information obtained from the Canadian public is enshrined in the Statistics Act and the Agency's various policies and practices related to data collection, analysis and dissemination activities as well as the Privacy Act.
All information provided to Statistics Canada through surveys, the census or any other source is confidential. Statistics Canada does not release any information that identifies an individual or group without prior consent. Similarly, no other government institution has the right to see the answers given in confidence to Statistics Canada without this consent.
Because of its unique mandate as the national statistical agency in collecting personal information solely for statistical and research purposes, Statistics Canada has prepared privacy impact assessments that address privacy issues associated with its survey activities.
One aspect of the statistical work undertaken by the Agency could involve record linkage projects that bring together information about individual respondents for research purposes. This is a recognized source of valuable statistical information but must serve a public good. To address the potentially privacy-intrusive nature of this type of research, Statistics Canada not only has a directive in place but practices a well-defined review and approval process for all microdata linkages.
Collection of information on minors
From time to time, Statistics Canada collects information on minors, a practice that presents unique challenges in terms of striking a balance between individual privacy and public welfare. While the collection of information from children can be sensitive, this information fills an important public policy void: reliable data on younger demographics is crucial to the development of sound policy that supports the delivery of important services to vulnerable segments of the population.
As with information from other respondents, information on minors is protected by the Privacy Act and by the Statistics Act. Under the Privacy Act, a parent/guardian may request access to a minor's personal information, on his or her behalf. Statistics Canada, prior to collecting information from minors, determines which types of information could potentially cause harm to a child; this information is never released under any circumstance.
Statistics Canada is fully committed to protecting the confidentiality of the personal information provided by our clients who purchase products or services. This information is used only to support our relationship with you as a client of Statistics Canada.
More information: Protecting your privacy as a client
Third-Party Social Media
Statistics Canada is using social media to provide access to relevant, accurate and timely statistical information and to foster engagement, cooperation and information-sharing among people who use statistical information. Social media accounts are public and are not hosted on Government of Canada servers. Statistics Canada uses Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Users who choose to interact with Statistics Canada via those social media should read the terms of service and privacy policies of these third-party service providers and those of any applications you use to access them. You may have to change your language preference in order to see the information in English.
Personal information that you provide to the Government of Canada via social media accounts is subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. This information is collected to capture conversations (e.g. questions and answers, comments, "likes", retweets) between you and Statistics Canada. It may be used to respond to inquiries, or for statistical, evaluation and reporting purposes. Comments posted that violate Canadian law will be deleted and disclosed to law enforcement authorities. Comments that violate our Social media rules of engagement could also be deleted. The personal information is included in Personal Information Outreach Activities (PSU 938).
Visitors to the Statistics Canada website
Safeguarding your personal information
The Statistics Canada website does not automatically gather any specific personal information from you, such as your name, phone number or email address. We would only obtain this type of information if you supply it by sending us an email or registering in a secure portion of the site. The information that is received and stored is safeguarded to prevent unauthorized disclosure.
The nature of the Internet is such that Web servers automatically collect certain information about a visit to a website, including the visitor's Internet Protocol (IP) address. IP addresses are unique numbers assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISP) to all devices used to access the Internet. Web servers automatically log the IP addresses of visitors to their sites. The IP address, on its own, does not identify an individual. However, in certain circumstances, such as with the co-operation of an ISP for example, it could be used to identify an individual using the site. For this reason, the Government of Canada considers the IP address to be personal information, particularly when combined with other data automatically collected when visitor requests a Web page such as the page or pages visited, date and time of the visit.
How your information is used
Information on individual website visitors is used by Statistics Canada employees who need to know the information in order to respond to your request or to ensure the security of this system. We only share the information you give us with another government department if your inquiry relates to that department. We do not use the information to create individually identifiable profiles, nor do we disclose this information to anyone outside the federal government.
Electronic transmission of sensitive personal information
Unless specifically noted otherwise, neither electronic systems nor email are secure information transmission methods. It is not recommended that sensitive personal information be transmitted electronically.
The website is equipped with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to ensure a secure connection between the server and an SSL-compatible browser. SSL protocol provides a safe passage for transmitting and authenticating data by encrypting the information. Data cannot be compromised when SSL is in use. This is the most secure form of encryption commonly available in North America.
Network traffic monitoring
Statistics Canada employs software programs to monitor network traffic, and to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. These programs are also used to gather anonymous information such as statistics to improve the functionality of our site. These software programs receive and record the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer that has contacted our websites, the date and time of the visit and the pages visited. We make no attempt to link these addresses with the identity of individuals visiting our site unless an attempt to damage the site has been detected. The programs are never used to gather specific personal information such as your name, your phone number or your e-mail address.
Your privacy is protected
Your personal information is protected by the Privacy Act and will only be disclosed as permitted by that Act.
Statistics Canada occasionally uses session cookies to track how our visitors use this site, determine sites previously visited or facilitate the use of secure portions of this site. Information from the cookies is compiled for statistical analysis on traffic patterns and is used to assess and improve the efficiency of the website. A cookie is a file that may be placed on your hard drive without your knowledge by a website to allow it to monitor your use of the site.
The cookies we use do not allow Statistics Canada to identify individuals. Our use of session cookies ensures your online privacy and security. Here's why:
- The contents of our session cookies are not linked, shared or associated in any way with personal information that you may have supplied to us or made available elsewhere.
- Our cookies can only be "read" by Statistics Canada servers, meaning that you cannot be tracked or profiled using our cookie when you surf across multiple sites on the Web.
Statistics Canada's website primarily uses session cookies, which automatically expire at the end of the user session. Occasionally we use persistent cookies to facilitate the use of secure portions of the website and to conduct on-line surveys to improve the website. Persistent cookies have pre-determined expiry dates.
Visiting our website with cookies disabled will have no significant impact on your browsing experience. You can set your browser to detect and reject cookies. Please consult your browser's Help Menu for instructions.
Web analytics is the collection, analysis, measurement, and reporting of data about Web traffic and visits for purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage. For the purpose of performing web analytics, certain types of information are tracked during visits to Statistics Canada's website. For the purposes of the Privacy Act, this information is treated as personal information.
Statistics Canada uses Adobe Analytics and log file analysis to improve its web site. When your computer or other device requests a Statistics Canada Web page, information is collected for the purpose of web analytics. The type of information collected includes, but is not limited to:
- IP address of the device that has contacted the Statistics Canada' website (which is not stored or retained in a format that can be used to identify a visitor)
- type of browser used
- type of operating system used
- the date and time of the visit
- pages visited and documents downloaded
Statistics Canada uses log file analysis internally. The information is not disclosed to an external third party service provider.
Web analytics is carried out using services from the third-party service provider Adobe Systems Inc. (Adobe Analytics). This service provider is based in the United States of America (USA), which means that the personal information collected is transmitted outside of Canada and may be subject to USA laws, including the USA Patriot Act. In addition, Adobe operates servers in other countries on which the web analytics data may be processed. Consequently, the data may be subject to the governing legislation of the country where it is processed. For Adobe Analytics, the Government of Canada has specified that personal information can only be stored on servers in Canada, the United States, the European Union, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.
For more information about the privacy policies of this service provider, please visit the following link:
To track visits to Statistics Canada for web analytics, Adobe Analytics requires the use of digital markers ("cookies"). If you wish, you may opt out of having your visit tracked by:
- downloading and installing a browser add-on from Adobe prevents your visit data from being used.
To further protect information about visitors to Statistics Canada' website, Adobe Analytics uses a feature that hides part or all of the IP address of a visitor before it is stored.
Questions/comments on privacy
Questions or comments on the privacy practices at Statistics Canada may be directed to:
Departmental Privacy Officer
R.H. Coats Building, 2nd floor
100 Tunney's Pasture Driveway
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0T6
You may request access to your personal information being held by Statistics Canada by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-951-4967.
If you are not satisfied with Statistics Canada's response to your privacy concern, you may wish to contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by e-mail at: email@example.com, by telephone at 1-800-282-1376 or visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner website.