Jun 292016

UPDATE:  I rolled-into-one  the arguments to address each point that refutes StatsCan’s claims that specified surveys are mandatory.  And filled in the gaps so the argument is as water-tight (under the Law) as I can make it.   See  2016-07-01  StatsCan Website: Surveys are Mandatory then Voluntary then Mandatory.

See the Comments below.    JPB asks a question re methodology (2016-07-23)  – – I added it to the above comprehensive posting (Mandatory then Voluntary).    /Sandra

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Should we celebrate?

Canadians have been struggling with StatsCan’s appetite for personal information.  For almost a decade there has been a steady stream of information- seekers arriving on this blog.   The heaviest traffic by far is on  Are StatsCan “surveys” mandatory?

JoAnne is representative:

I was furious to learn of the nature of personal information that I would be required to provide.   I am inclined towards not doing it but have a letter from Stats Canada saying it is mandatory by law.

The discussion with JoAnne elaborates on the situation and JoAnne’s options in the face of StatsCan’s threats which have no base in Law (surveys are voluntary):    2014-05-26 Census, Surveys & Lockheed Martin. More concise argument? (conversation with JoAnne)

All those years, and all the Canadians who stood their ground, insisting on the Rule of Law – –  I think we might together have finally convinced StatsCan that the Rule of Law WILL BE UPHELD by citizens, if no one else!    (Ref:   Democracy: Significance of the Rule of Law )

This  from a Reddit posting:

I ended up contacting a lawyer and advised Stats Can that we were seeking legal action

Stats Can sent us a letter a couple of weeks later confirming that the Labour Force Survey is voluntary . . .

(See  StatsCan Surveys: Has anyone successfully sued StatsCan for harassment?  from exchange on Reddit)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I cannot find a general statement on the StatsCan website that tells citizens:   surveys are voluntary.

However,  I did find information pages on four different surveys being conducted in 2016 that inform about the Voluntary status, listed below.

I found two surveys being done in 2016 that show “mandatory”.    One of them is the Labour Force Survey (LFS).   BUT,

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  1. Survey of Household Spending


Survey participation:   voluntary

Date modified: 2016-05-13

2.  Longitudinal and International Study of Adults


A Statistics Canada interviewer with an official photo ID card will visit your home to carry out the interview. All members of your household aged 15 and older will be selected to participate. Data collection will be conducted by the computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) method.

Survey participation: voluntary

Date modified:   2016-04-28

3.  Households and the Environment Survey (HES)


Survey participation: voluntary

Date modified:  2016-04-28

4.  Travel Survey of Residents of Canada


Survey participation: Voluntary

Date modified: 2016-06-07


  5 Responses to “2016-06-29 Democracy, the Rule of Law. Victory over StatsCan surveys?”

  1. Please visit this stats Can webpage

    It outlines their view of legality of various surveys. Along with the Census of Population and the Agricultural census,it still says we are “required” to participate in the Labour Force Survey, Business surveys, Agricultural Surveys………..”pursuant to the Statistics Act.”

    Then it says “For other Stats Canada surveys, participation is voluntary.”

    Within the last 6 months or less, Stats Canada has reformatted their website. There was a section in the former format that clearly stated “All surveys are voluntary.”

    • Steve,

      I constructed a TIMELINE using your input, and made a separate posting.

      See http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=16871

      ALSO, in the past there are a couple of points I have not addressed on the question of Surveys – – mandatory or voluntary? I filled in those gaps in the previous info, which means that some info is repeated. But a more complete package of info is in one place, along with the TimeLine. Sorry for the part that is nauseating repetition!


  2. Wow i like . . Statscan is attempting to . . Mandatory get me to comply or else . . .this info will be very useful . . I would like to keep in touch as im done with them walking on of my . Our charters . . I was goin to attempt to fight alone but im glad im not the only one fed up .

  3. My reading of the Act tells me that the Labour Survey is voluntary and that penalties do not apply to a citizen’s non-compliance with voluntary surveys.

    But there is another angle that you might want to look into. How is 100% compliance even justified on a technical basis? It seems to me that surveys will always have levels of refusal and that this is not ruionous to results. I do not think there is a statistical basis for pursuing Total Compliance.

    Okay, the survey may be significant and useful. But it hardly means that compliance must be mandatory for it to fulfill its usefulness. I think that moving from significant and useful to Total Compliance is a non sequitor, it does not logically follow. Besides, the margin of improved usefulness between Total Compliance and partial compliance might be very difficult to quantify — and even at that, voluntary compliance might be high enough without the attempts at coercion but StatsCan cannot with certainty know because it has not been tried.

    So I would suggest contacting some non-government staticians who do surveys and see if very significant decisions are made based on Acceptable Compliance levels rather than the otherwise impossible Total Compliance that StatsCan implicitly concludes is essential to performing their statutory responsiblities.


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