Jun 182014

—–Original Message—–

From: JoAnne Sent: May-22-14

Subject: Re: Mandatory Labour Force Survey

Hello Sandra,

I came across your contact information after doing much research on this Labour Force Survey which I have recently been contacted to do. 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.

I read the Statistics Act and cannot see anywhere that states that it is mandatory. I have read numerous blogs, posts etc. and some people say it is mandatory , some say it isn’t. I’m certainly not prepared to go to jail over this but I am fired up about the invasion of my privacy from Stats Canada and this Survey.

Can you give me any firm answer on the legal/law that would require mandatory participation in this survey, Or perhaps guide me as to where I can get council on this matter?

Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank You in advance,


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On May 22, 2014, Sandra Finley wrote:

Hi JoAnne,

I believe the situation to be this:

  • StatsCan SAYS the Labour Force Survey is mandatory.
  • But nowhere does the actual legislation say that it is mandatory. You are right on this point.
  • It has never been challenged in the Courts, so there is no case law which interprets the Statistics Act on “surveys”.
  • Personally, I am of the view that the Courts would be very hard pressed to interpret the Stats Act to say that surveys are mandatory. I believe that the Act is specific. Surveys are voluntary.
  • StatsCan is supposed to be ruled by the Legislation. They cannot just decree that surveys are mandatory. The Law prevails.
  • As far as I know, NO ONE has ever been charged for failure to fill in a survey. I believe the reason for that is this: if StatsCan wants to charge someone, they have to refer the case to the Justice Dept. The Justice Dept prosecutors are the ones who would then issue the summons to court. But I doubt they would ever do that — because the Law says that surveys are voluntary.

I think your best bet, if StatsCan continues to demand that you fill out the survey is to tell them: I will fill out the survey AFTER you show me in the Statistics Act where it says that surveys are mandatory.  Tell them: you are governed by the Stats Act.

Good luck with it JoAnne!


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From: JoAnne Sent: May-24-14  To: Sandra Finley

Subject: Re: Mandatory Labour Force Survey

Hello Sandra,

Thank You so much for your response and the good information and advice. I received a visit this morning from the Stats Canada Rep who has been trying to get me to fill out the Labour Force Survey. As per your advice I told her the reason I was declining was because I had read The Statistics Act which I am governed by and see no amendments on Mandatory Surveys.

She said that the letter they sent states that it does and of course I said again that I’m not governed by the letter I’m governed by the Act itself and that it didn’t. She said that the survey was mandatory according to section 8 in the Act and basically responded exactly as it is stated on their website which I posted below

  • Statistics Canada must collect and compile statistics on various subjects. These subjects are identified in Section 22 of the Act. The Labour Force Survey is authorized by paragraph 22 (h) – Labour and Employment.
  • Section 8 permits the minister responsible for Statistics Canada to order that participation in a survey be on a voluntary basis. No such order has been signed for the Labour Force Survey, therefore, participation is mandatory.
  • Section 31 sets out penalties for providing false answers or for refusing to participate in a mandatory survey.

Is this just wording they are playing with or is there validity to this so called “order”?

She has told me that she is sending me a copy of the Statistic Act saying that there are 2 mandatory household surveys and the LFS was one of them. I said, send me a copy of the Act showing this amendment then. She said also the Stats Canada would be contacting me to inform me of the fact that it is the law and the penalties imposed if you decline to participate.

I do not intimidate easily, however I want to be sure I know what I’m talking about. Are you familiar with the “Order” that can mandate people to do the survey.

I thank You for you time and help. I am getting more and more annoyed with this Rep from Stats Can, as she has called my house repeatedly and knocked on my door twice in the span of a week and a half. I would like to put this to rest but feel I will have a fight on my hands. Any continued help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You once again,


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On May 25, 2014,  “Sandra Finley” wrote:

Hi again JoAnne,

First your question, I want to be sure I know what I’m talking about. Are you familiar with the “Order” that can mandate people to do the survey.

Statscan is talking about an Order-in-Council. (Section 8 of the Statistics Act, titled “Voluntary Surveys” – The Minister may, by order, authorize the obtaining (of information) …)

Orders-in-council are an abbreviated way of getting things done. The Government doesn’t have to go through Parliament for EVERYthing. In some instances, the Cabinet can issue an “Order-in-Council” (in council with the Queen or the Queen’s Representative, the Gov-Gen, who has to sign the Order before it comes into effect).

From the internet:

Many orders in council are notices of appointments. Other “orders” are regulations or legislative orders in relation to and authorized by an existing act of parliament (like Section 8 of the Stats Act).

Federal Orders in council have to be announced in the Canada Gazette.

The Privy Council Office, which provides bureaucratic support to the Prime Minister and cabinet, maintains an online database of federal orders in council which can be used to search for orders in council issued since 1990.


From your notes, StatsCan says

  • Section 8 permits the minister responsible for Statistics Canada to order that participation in a survey be on a voluntary basis. No such order has been signed for the Labour Force Survey, therefore, participation is mandatory.

StatsCan has announced this. It is their interpretation.

It is a very contentious interpretation of Section 8. It has not been subject to interpretation by a Court of Law. AND it does not stand up to scrutiny.



StatsCan is saying that these words from the Statistics Act (Sec 8, Voluntary Surveys)

where such information is requested section 31 does not apply in respect of a refusal or neglect to furnish the information.


you have to fill in the survey and if you don’t you can be prosecuted, fined and sent to jail

(Section 31 is the sanctions, fine and jail, if you are guilty of non-compliance with a Census.)

That is a ludicrous interpretation of the words. It is simply not what they say.

Section 8 ( “Voluntary Surveys”) says: where “such information” – – i.e. a survey – – is requested THE SANCTIONS DO NOT APPLY.

If the sanctions do not apply, surveys are voluntary. Which is ALSO what the rest of the wording in Section 8 says.

StatsCan is out-to-lunch. Their interpretation is self-serving.

And dangerous when Lockheed Martin Corp (American surveillance) is involved. The data base on Canadians at StatsCan is growing rapidly. We have a Charter Right to Privacy of personal information. Anyone who believes that their personal information is secure in the StatsCan data base is extremely gullible (reference Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald disclosures regarding American surveillance and “back-door” access to data bases, plus the articulated statements that Americans (the NSA, FBI, DofD) want access to ALL the data on Canadians).

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Some further thoughts, which you probably don’t need:

StatsCan makes the point:

They have the authority. Agreed – – yes, the Act gives them authority. Section 22: the Chief Statistician shall, under the direction of the Minister, collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistics in relation to (labour and employment) 

No problem there. But note that the granting of authority does not give them the right to override the Laws. They still have to do their work WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE LAW.

Already discussed:

The title of Section 8 is “Voluntary Surveys”. And the details say quite the opposite of what StatsCan is saying.

Section 8 says two things:

  1. if a survey is to be mandatory, the Minister has to make it mandatory. (no order in council appears in the Canada Gazette to make the Labour Force Survey mandatory)
  2. even if it is “mandated”, quite specifically THE SANCTIONS FOR NON-COMPLIANCE DO NOT APPLY IN THE CASE OF SURVEYS: where such information is requested section 31 does not apply in respect of a refusal or neglect to furnish the information.

INSERT ADDITIONAL,  Feb 2016:  From posting   http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=16207

RE:    former Chief Statistician agrees with the premise of your second reason (Charter Right to Privacy). He states that while the mandatory collection of personal information is in violation of the charter right, however it is a ‘legitimate violation of the right’ (the idea that rights may be rescinded for a social good) because it is a recognized necessity as outlined in the statistics act.


Yes, the Government may rescind the rights of an individual.  However,

  1. The Statistics Act does not give the Government the authority to do that.  StatsCan cannot just declare that this is so.
  2. In order to override the Charter Right of an individual, the Government has to pass the “Oakes Test“.

If StatsCan wishes to take away Canadians’ Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information, it would have to make an application to the Court to do so, supplying the Court with the arguments to satisfy the Oakes Test.   It has not done that.   So the Charter Right stands.


Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 8 Privacy – Case Law: The Queen Vs Plant protects a “biographical core of personal information” from the state. Oakes Test to override.

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Some things that might be helpful to understanding,

I cannot imagine that the Justice Dept would ever agree to proceed with prosecutions under the Statistics Act over non-compliance with surveys. HOWEVER! Stranger things have happened.

If they ever decided to prosecute in relation to surveys, it would be the usual – – the justice system is not meant for ordinary citizens. It is almost impossible to win without legal counsel and that is expensive. It is also very difficult to find a lawyer who has specialized experience in this realm. A run-of-the-day lawyer would have a large amount of extra work in order for them to grasp the lay of the minefield on this issue. So, the Govt gets its way, in spite of what the Laws say.


in my experience you really can jump off the StatsCan railroading at any time. They want you to comply with whatever it is that they want. I was repeatedly offered, first by StatsCan and then again, repeatedly by the Justice Dept – – fill in the form and they will go away. They want to keep dissent muffled. They are accustomed to people caving in to their coercion (it is understandable that people cave in).

I received the census long form which no longer exists. My reasons for not complying began because of the out-sourcing to Lockheed Martin Corp. But I have read enough about the rise to power of the Nazis to know that we are getting into dangerous territory with detailed files on citizens, Not to mention other worrisome things that are happening. We are getting further and further away from democracy.

It is a bit like a game of poker. You are calling their bluff. (Or not, if they decide that they are omnipotent and screw the law.)  I repeat that I do not know of anyone who has been charged because of non-compliance with a survey. Many, many have been threatened, the same as you are being threatened. But StatsCan has not followed through. I am sure that people I have shared information with, as I am doing with you now, would have gotten back to me if charges had been laid.

I would recommend that you try to step back regularly to assess where you’re at with them.

And note: if there is any chance that they will follow through on their threats, they will not choose to issue a summons to appear in court to YOU specifically, IF you have not given them hard evidence that they can use in Court.

The person they would use to testify against you would be the StatsCan worker. That worker will be keeping notes on what you say. And would use those notes in a Court hearing. But as I say, if you do not give them the words they would need, they won’t try to make a case against you. It is basically YOU who would have to incriminate yourself (except that you would not be incriminating yourself, because you have not broken the law).

You have told them that you read the Act and don’t see where surveys are mandatory. They have advised you that they will bring the information to you.

Once that is done, – – let’s say this is the Census now, which IS mandatory – – If you never say “I am not going to fill in the form”, they don’t have the “evidence” they would need to present to a judge.  If you say “Look I’m busy at the moment, leave it with me – – I need to read it and get my head around it” they don’t have anything useable in Court. If you know who’s at the door and don’t answer it, they have nothing to go on. And so on.

Also, they have not brought charges against anyone who has submitted a form (census), but filled it with minimal or nonsense answers. There are thousands of people who have done that.

Maybe I only make things LESS CLEAR by supplying these further details.

Personally, I think you can stand firm and nothing will happen. StatsCan’s position vis-a-vis Surveys  cannot be defended. They would, or should, be thrown out of any Court.

Best wishes JoAnne.

Please feel free to get back if you have further questions I might be able to answer.


P.S. As you may know, George Orwell’s small book, “Animal Farm”, is an excellent illustration of how democracy fails. “Memory” of the way things are supposed to function is lost. The people who understood, who knew, were cynics. They had a responsibility to stand up, to speak up, but they did not. They were the only ones who COULD HAVE changed the course, the slide into fascism (government by corporate interests).

Citizens do have to engage in their democracy if it is going to survive. And they have to do it with intelligence. What you are doing is great! Educate the StatsCan worker. (I feel badly for them. They probably need the money, and I strongly suspect that they are on some sort of a quota and reward system – – not a salaried job.) /S

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From: JoAnne  Sent: May-26-14 To: Sandra Finley Subject: Re: Mandatory Labour Force Survey

Sandra, thank you for ALL of the information you provided. I read it over several times and we actually had an in depth conversation about it over dinner last night with our guests. As I expected, you confirmed what I thought about Stats Can putting their own special twist on the interpretation of the Act. The information you provided me with has given me the confidence to stand my ground. I will take your advice and mind my P’s & Q’s so as not to incriminate myself even though what I really want to do is make a video montage of her visits to my home from our security cameras and post it on YouTube and see how she likes her privacy being invaded. That’s my anger speaking of course, and I will definitely be cautious how I proceed. If there should be anything that arises from her last visit ( which I am anticipating) I will let you know where things are at.

I thank you once again for your response and all of the very valuable information you provided. I so agree with your concerns on where democracy is heading in this country, in fact it’s more than a little scary.



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Sandra to JoAnne:

StatsCan keeps repeating the lies.

We have to keep repeating the truth of what the Law says. Keep the memory of our Rights alive.

The conversations with friends are EXTREMELY important.






  11 Responses to “2014-05-26 Census, Surveys & Lockheed Martin. More concise argument? (conversation with JoAnne)”

  1. If Stats Can are trying to say that surveys other than a census are Manadatory like a Census is, where does it say that? It doesn’t. If a citizen has to ante up for court costs to strike these demons down, it could break him. Stats Can have become the Ministry of Information, most likely guided by the americans. It appears discouraging this kind of behaviour will have to start with the appropriate treatment being given to stats can field workers. They need an incentive not to come to work.

  2. Hello Harvey,

    RE your statement: ” . start with the appropriate treatment being given to stats can field workers. They need an incentive not to come to work.”

    I highly recommend that Canadians use the appearance of a StatsCan worker at their door as an opportunity to engage in conversation. Find out what the worker actually knows. What are the terms of their employment? Do they use the Internet, if so, have they read what the Statistics Act says, as compared with what StatsCan “teaches” them?

    The Canadian ideals of “Peace, order and good governance” are worthy. But they are dependent upon us exchanging information. It’s the only way, as far as I know, to reach understanding between people, and to get to know each other a little.

    Democracy is dependent upon our ability to have conversations and thereby respect for each other. Every one of us citizens has a responsibility to help build the fabric of our democracy.

    StatsCan workers are “trained” to do their job. They believe what they are told. Why would they not? They are working for the Government. The Government would not deceive them.

    However, not everything they are told is legitimate. The training instills the false idea that surveys are mandatory under the Law. Furthermore, most of them have no idea about the involvement of Lockheed Martin Corp in the data base on Canadians at StatsCan. Most would not have any idea about what Lockheed Martin does in the world.

    Most of the StatsCan field workers are just trying to earn a buck. I suspect that they are not on salary but are paid according to the number of completed forms they bring in. They are probably frustrated – all they want to do is a job; they do not expect a lot of hassle. An attempt to have a respectful conversation and a few laughs, might make everyone feel better! It will make Canada stronger.


  3. Just received a phone call from Stats Can about my Farm Finical Suryey which I received in the mail a month ago a filed it under the kitchen sink. I told them I misplaced it they checked on my address, which was correct, and asked if I wanted to do the survey over the phone. I said no send me another copy I will look it over. Stats Can worker said not to mail in this copy they would phone me and go over it with me on the phone, that is quicker for them she said.
    Do I really have to fill out this census??

    Thanks Darcy

    • Hi Darcy,

      I am sorry for taking so long to reply. I missed the notice of your “Comment” until just today.
      My first reaction was “oh dear, a Census of Agriculture”.

      But you received a Farm“Survey” which is a different matter entirely.
      No, you do not have to participate in the Survey, whether it is by filling it in yourself, or over the phone. Surveys are voluntary.

      If you have time, please scroll down to the last of the “Comments” on the posting “Are StatsCan “surveys” mandatory?” (http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=3110). My reply to some of the Questions asked by Steve (not the same Steve as below on this posting) might be helpful to you. (It’s a detailed reply.)


  4. Can someone please advise if you, or anyone you know, has ever been hounded (multipe phone messages, multiple attemtped contact at residence) in regard to the Survey of Household Spending? They require a personal visitin your home (unless you have special circumstances that would make it impossible, which are not outlined), they can ask if you will let them record a portion of the session, they ask for tremendously detailed expenditures information, and they start off with does or has anyone else currently, or recently,lives in your residence with you, temporarily and are they now away at school, or elsewhere, and they ask for that person or those persons’ last names (no sure how that relates to the reporting of household expenditures). There is also an extremely detailed and long list of questions regarding all types of income (their agents have the option to give us the option to authorize them to access our tax returns through Revenue Canada, if we wish to shorten that portoin of the interview. And apparently they can also ask you to participate in a DIARY of expenditures, which requires periodic ongoing updates. Their 2012 supposed revised form is 109 pages (as posted in a link on the Stats Cda. site I didn’t memorize)

    • Thank-you for detailing what the Household Spending Survey requires, Steve. Including information that has nothing to do with your Expenditures. You will have received my responses to the questions you posed on the “Are Surveys Mandatory?” page. Detailed, lengthy. After I read this input from you, I have greater confidence that what I wrote as “The Objective” of all this contains truth.

      Oh dear! more people should read your questions and the replies. BUt they are way down at the bottom of a long list of comments and replies by people. When I have time maybe I can find a way to make the information easier to find.


  5. Since April 2014 Statistics Canada has been phoning us every single month. We are talking about 8 months! I feel they are stalking us and stressing us out. Every month they lie telling me that this is the last time they are collecting information that by the way are always the same questions. I found this survey an invasion to our privacy. And, I feel a never end curse.I went on line and found that the period of time the survey is collecting your information is 6 months. Why are they still calling me ? What can I do to stop them snooping in our family life?!

  6. Hi Annette,

    Keeping in mind that this can only be a guess on my part:

    StatsCan workers and managers need to keep data flowing in to the data base. That is what they are paid to do.

    It is not easy to do their work: some citizens are difficult to work with because the citizens object (for good reason) to what StatsCan is doing. So when they find someone (you, in this case!) who will provide them with data, they keep coming back for more. It is easier and more pleasant for them than knocking on another door, where they might receive a less-than-friendly reception. (We all like to be happy doing our work.)

    What can you do? First, understand where you stand. It is okay to disappoint them. They are asking you for information related to a “survey”. Surveys are voluntary.

    Second, and this is just what you would do generally in the world, when you need to draw boundaries.
    In order to stop them, all you have to do is “change”. Then they will be forced to change. Instead of doing as they request or demand, it is perfectly okay for you to tell them: I do not wish to participate. They will then have to stop asking you for information.

    Do not be afraid. And do not worry about something that they have not done. But – – you can be prepared. They MIGHT offer reasons why they NEED you to fill in the survey. Just be a broken record – – “I do not wish to participate”. OR, you could tell them: bring me a copy of the Statistics Act and show me where it says that surveys are mandatory. Until then, I do not wish to participate. Thank-you.

  7. Sandra, THANK YOU for helping confirm for us all that us having our eyes and ears open DOES matter and DOES make a difference, you are an angel for a lot of us. Last week a 20yr old girl from statscan was at my door and I told her I wasn’t giving her any information, the govt knows enough about me and she tried to continue asking me things and I just shut the door. Today however a 60yr old man was at the door and with a big huge smile introduced himself and started asking me to answer his survey, I told him I was not interested and that the govt knows enough about us all, the door was open only about 6 inches and he jammed his foot up against it in the middle of the doorway and got a very evil look on his face, he said”you HAVE to do this survey, it IS mandatory”, I said “get your fucking foot out of my door, what you are doing right now is break and enter” and I pushed with all my might slamming the door and locking it while he continued to rant and rave on the other side……..New World Order people, we all need to STAND UP and hold onto the rights we still have left.

  8. You should report this to the police and to your MP and MPP.
    If it happens again, if you can do it, try to at least get his or her name by asking for his or her ID BEFORE you shut the door in his or her face.

    I would also suggest you send a letter about this to your local newspaper editor – directly to the editor, and to the major newspaper in your region.

    I would also suggest you visit the Stats Canada website and read up on surveys and you will see that there is a statement saying that surveys are voluntary. Why not print that, and include the actual website address of the page on which the statement appears, and make copies to include with any letters or emails to your government officials, newspapers, etc, and especially to hand to any more Stats Canada intruders.

  9. Some links you might find helpful.

    StatsCan’s recommended changes to the Statistics Act

    The text confirms that “Statistics Canada has never requested prosecution for provision of false information.”

    And that “Statistics Canada has only requested prosecution for refusal to participate in a Census of Population.”

    And that “With only one known exception, and in an exceptional context, the courts have never applied the jail term penalty.”

    It also includes new definitions for “census of population” that would enlarge the scope well beyond enumaration of populations.

    The following paragraphs confirm much of what you and others here have discussed regarding the difference between census and survey — mandatory and voluntary. Here is what is being recommended in changes to the statute:



    The wording on voluntary surveys as voluntary unless an order in council amends for a specific survey is not confusing in the current Act. But StatsCan has introduced confusion in its practices and seeks to rewrite the act to assert its practices and expand its authority and to abolish the meaning and the intent of the law. The recommendations are carefully worded so as to leave the impression that the law was misinterpreted, not by StatsCan but by citizens who expect the default is that their participation is voluntary. Of course, with changes to the law, StatsCan wants to reverse this so that the default is mandatory surveys unless StatsCan finds it inconvenient.

    Brian Lilley has a few pieces on these developments:

    Here is one which includes a petition:

    More here:

    Lilley’s emphasis is on the expanded scope of the census of population. Personally, I see no sound justification for the expansion under a mandatory survey. But that is something that Parliament can weigh against privacy and libery; but that must be in light of the principles of good government upon which the Canadian Constitution has any claim to our support.

    Whatever the supposed “public good”, intrusion by merely asking for info is antithetical to the premise that we are free citizens; intrusion by coercing compliance, rather than requesting cooperation, upends the basic principles of good governance. Neither my time nor my property (including private information) is owned by the government — not owned by my neighbours, either. Nor am I owned by the government.

    But unfortuantely our society has been conned into giving up way too much for way too little. At what price your liberty? That is the basic question.

    Anyway, I hope this information helps and that my opinion enlightens somewhat.

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