September 23, 2016

StatsCan co-op students, a “warehouse person” among those with access to personal census data

Andrew LawtonRebel Commentator

Like many other Canadians, I was forced to fill out the long form census earlier this year, which entailed disclosing to the government details like whether my home is in need of repair and even mental illness history.

Statistics Canada has long maintained that the information is integral to public policy, and that personal privacy is always respected with the results. Months ago, the Rebel filed an Access to Information request with the government to find out how many civil servants have access to individual census responses. The response said only that access was on a “need to know basis” and that employees must take an Oath or Affirmation of Office and Secrecy.

The department also told us that there are four employees in the pension search division who have access to the “non-anonymized” data, as well as 150 database maintenance workers who may or may not be able to see individual responses.

They didn’t want to answer the question.

This week however, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains signed off on the response to a request from Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, who asked the government for the number of employees who are able to view individual census data—and their job titles.

The response, tabled earlier this week in the House of Commons, said that 90 employees can see individual census responses, reiterating the “need-to-know basis” for accessing data. Some of the positions were obvious: statistical clerks, database administrator, census data dissemination consultant.

Some were more precarious, however: four co-op students have access to the data, as well as a “warehouse person” and a “shipping & receiving coordinator.”

It stands to reason that paper responses would need to be stored somewhere, but it’s pretty easy to store boxes without looking at their contents. Especially when the department has established that a “need to know” is paramount before authorization to read what you and I were forced to tell the government is handed out.

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commented 2016-09-24 09:51:45 -0400
FYI my local census taker broke the ‘oath for life’ quite easily when she spoke to my neighbours for some of my information and her superior with pencil in hand was trying to force me to comply by demanding answers and filling it out for me. Both scenarios are against the law. Besides, the government has so many disclaimers, and clauses in the legalese of the act to cover their behinds that in effect they can (under certain circumstances) legally do whatever the heck they want to obtain and share our information. Read the entire Stats act and try to tell me different.
commented 2016-09-24 09:24:16 -0400
I have always said the whole thing should be voluntary. There are lots of people with Christine’s attitude, that the government can count on for their personal information to gain an overview, if that is the purpose.
Canada is still a free country, and I don’t expect to be threatened by jail time and fines in my free country, if I don’t give over personal information to the government which is clearly none of their business to know.
Voluntary or completely anonymous is the way it needs to be or a very large number (and growing) of Canadians will continue to refuse to comply. The fact that the paper is sloppily stored and the online census and survey’s are on databases in the States is an extra layer of concern. Anyone who thinks this information won’t be used and abused by the government and ‘others’ is much more trusting than I.
commented 2016-09-24 03:02:06 -0400
Warehouse people would have been the intake people for the thousands upon thousands of paper copies completed by those who refused to or could not do online. Sucks to be them. I highly doubt these warehouse people had time in the 2 month Census window to comb through papers. And like they said everyone took the oath for life. And for everyone who thinks your life is so interesting, it’s not, nobody cares.
commented 2016-09-24 02:13:14 -0400
Watch Justin get the Stats act changed. Right now if you read the act, section 8 is your lawful excuse for not complying to anything but the population and if it applies the agriculture census questions. The rest which is the household survey is voluntary, I forget in which section that is written, but I would suggest a thorough study of the act before you decide you have to comply to the next one that comes along. There is actually a lot of information online about legal avoidance. Justin told us it was ALL mandatory, however that threat is in conflict with what the act as it stands now, actually states. I filled out the population question of how many people in my household, and nothing else on the long form. They haven’t come to take me to jail yet, however they do have two years to decide to call someone to court for compliance.
commented 2016-09-23 16:34:32 -0400
Dallas – just keep shredding them whens they come in and refuse to talk to anyone who migt come to the door.

If forced to fill it out – then lie through your teeth.

I personally know more than 20 people who do this.
commented 2016-09-23 15:49:49 -0400
State media this year reported how thrilled Stats Can was regarding the “enthusiastic” Canadian response rate to the damn intrusive long-form census. 97.8% or some damn thing!

Since I was forced to personally fill the thing out under threat of state violence against me, the whole triumphant reporting spin made me retch. This is Canada, but the propaganda is worthy of something I would have expected from North Korea. It’s getting really difficult to remain proud of this country.
commented 2016-09-23 14:16:54 -0400
Of course they can’t be trusted. I just saw Snowden last night and chances are allot more people know more about us than we are aware of despite the promises, despite who is in power.
commented 2016-09-23 14:12:34 -0400
“StatsCan co-op students, a “warehouse person” among those with access to personal census data”

And that is why I chuckle when asked – “Do I trust them?”

Absolutely not

I do my best to avoid providing them and any other government agency with anything

If I end up having to give them anything I lie through my teeth

I also have gone away from plastic and use cash nearly exclusively.

I trust no one in government any more.

For the most part they are thugs – and untrustworthy ones at that.