Dec 212016

This Act to Amend the Stats Act has been in the works:

The official announcement from StatsCan Media Relations is below.  For details, go to the above; the article by Kevin Libin provides critique.

As I understand at this point, roughly,  the intention is:  there will be a file on everyone, constructed from existing Government documents.   So, a merger of existing data from all and various departments.  Supplemented by information from mandatory long form censuses t0 fill in the gaps in the data they want, but don’t have.    (In a past decade in Canada, a Privacy Commissioner ordered the destruction of such a data base – – I need to find the record of that.)

The theme repeated for your benefit is that StatsCan will be “independent” of political interference.   Umm  . . . maybe it’s not political interference but  “Five Eye” interference that I’m concerned about?    2016-03-18 Does Lockheed Martin Corp have a role in the 2016 Census?  (or in StatsCan Surveys and future Censuses?)

There is no mention of the Charter Right to Privacy of personal information.   I think the sanctions for non-compliance would still have to be the work of the Justice Department;  this very independent body (StatsCan) would not be that independent.

A no-brainer,  the indefensible use of the threat of jail-time will be removed.   BUT:  how large will the fines for non-compliance be?   I don’t know.

Frankly speaking,  “the plan” for StatsCan seems naïve.  I cannot imagine that business interests, let alone citizens, are going to go along with the heightened powers.

I am curious – – what do you think?   (“Comments” below.)

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From: Statistics Canada makes a shrewd power grabwhile it can, by Kevin Libin,  National Post, July 26

Plus, it (StatsCan) apparently lies.  When StatsCan tweeted on May 3 that Canadians were responding to the census in “such high numbers” that its website was “overwhelmed by the enthusiasm”  and crashed — making headlines across Canada — it wasn’t true.   The CBC later found out through access to information documents that computer traffic was lower than expected, and the crash was due to design flaws.  . . . 

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RE:   Navdeep Bains, Minister Responsible, from the promo below:   Earlier this year, Canadians demonstrated their commitment to the Census Program by enabling Statistics Canada to carry out the most successful census in Canadian history.

Maybe there was a time when people would believe such assertions?

For newcomers, the track record of StatsCan’s credibility on compliance rates (lying under oath) is included in the posting:

2016-03-18 Does Lockheed Martin Corp have a role in the 2016 Census?

It was more than ten years ago, through public consultations on the “Government Directive on Regulating” (the GDR) that I, for one, told the Government:   you have to stop doing these things that undermine public trust.

Has anything ever been achieved by people who don’t trust each other?

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ANNOUNCEMENT:    An Act to Amend the Statistics Act

Ottawa, December 7, 2016—The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today made the following statement:

“Our government believes that for a national statistical agency to be credible, there must be a high degree of professional independence.

“That is why I am pleased to announce that I have introduced a bill that proposes to reinforce Statistics Canada’s independence through legislative amendments to the Statistics Act.

“The proposed amendments would strengthen Statistics Canada’s independence by clearly defining the responsibilities of the Minister and those of the Chief Statistician; increasing transparency around decisions and directives about Statistics Canada made by the government; appointing the Chief Statistician to a renewable term of not more than five years; creating the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council to reinforce the independence, relevance and transparency of the national statistical system; and removing the threat of imprisonment for those who refuse to respond to mandatory surveys.

“This bill, once passed, will ensure that there will be no political interference in the collection of statistics in general, and the census in particular.

“This bill will entrench Statistics Canada’s independence into law, ensuring that Canadians can continue to rely on the integrity and accuracy of the data produced by their national statistical agency.

“Canadians understand that high-quality and impartial data are necessary for planning critical services that all Canadians rely on, including housing, schooling, public transportation and skills training for employment.

“Earlier this year, Canadians demonstrated their commitment to the Census Program by enabling Statistics Canada to carry out the most successful census in Canadian history.

“I am proud of our government’s decisions to reinstate the mandatory long-form census and to introduce this bill. These actions will ensure that Canada’s national statistical system remains strong.

“More than ever, the government is committed to evidence-based decision making and to making available the data that organizations and governments need in order to make informed decisions.”

Follow Minister Bains on social media.
Twitter: @MinisterISED

For further information (media only), please contact:

Philip Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Related products   (from the Government website)

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