Protecting your privacy

Statistics Canada places the highest priority on protecting your privacy, as well as maintaining the confidentiality and security of completed questionnaires. Your answers are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act and are kept strictly confidential.

Only Statistics Canada employees with a need to know and whose job requires them to work with the questionnaires see individual completed questionnaires—and they all are subject to the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act. All Statistics Canada employees take an oath of secrecy, which is in effect for life—even after employment has ended.

No one outside Statistics Canada has access to any individual information obtained through the census. Private contractors do not have access to confidential data, and no information that could be used to identify respondents will ever be provided to other departments or agencies.

Security of the online questionnaire

Statistics Canada takes the protection of confidential information provided online seriously. A secure login process and strong encryption are key elements in helping to prevent anyone from obtaining access to census information.

To protect the security of personal information on the Internet, Statistics Canada incorporated the following safeguards:

  • Strong encryption technologies to ensure security of data passing between respondents' computers and Statistics Canada's web servers.
  • Encryption methods based on Transport Layer Security (TLS), which guarantee that access to data cannot be compromised.
  • Encryption of data submitted to the web servers before being stored, as well as ongoing encryption until data are transferred to the high security internal network.
  • Processing and storage of census data on a high-security internal network.
  • Powerful firewalls, intrusion detection and stringent access control procedures to limit access to back-end systems and databases.

Confidentiality of completed questionnaires

Stringent instructions and procedures have been implemented to ensure that confidentiality of census data (including the completed questionnaires) is maintained at all times. This requirement extends to all secure locations, including the private residences of employees.

All employees are sworn to secrecy when they are hired. The Statistics Act states that employees are liable to fines of up to $1,000 and/or jail terms of up to six months if they reveal personal information.

For more information on how Statistics Canada protects your confidentiality, security and privacy, please visit the Security and privacy FAQ.

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