Fighting misinformation

Statistics Canada is dedicated to protecting you from misinformation and disinformation about the 2021 Census, from false or fraudulent information to scamming attempts.

Have you seen or heard something about the 2021 Census that doesn't sound quite right, or that raises concerns? Let us know right away by contacting the 2021 Census misinformation watch team.

Misinformation watch

Stay informed of any ongoing misinformation or scamming attempts related to the 2021 Census.

No, the online census questionnaire will not be taken down shortly.

It is rumoured that the "Start questionnaire" button will be removed from the census website very soon. This is false.

The online census questionnaire will remain available to everyone for the entire duration of the census. It will only be removed once collection efforts have finished, which will not happen until at least July 30, 2021. Still, we encourage you to complete your online questionnaire as soon as possible.

Yes, Statistics Canada could contact you via phone, email or text message

It is rumoured that Statistics Canada will never contact respondents via phone, email or text message. This is false.

As part of the 2021 Census, Statistics Canada is calling households that have not yet completed their census questionnaire, and could send them email and text reminders. The text message short code that is used by Statistics Canada to reach respondents is "236732", and that message includes a link to the census website (www.census.gc.ca).

If you are not sure of the validity of a call, email or text message, please call 1-855-340-2021. Text "STOP" to no longer receive text messages about the census—please note that we cannot reply to text messages.

No, Statistics Canada isn't tied to a US weapons manufacturer

A disinformation website alleges that Statistics Canada has outsourced the Canadian census software and data processing equipment to a subsidiary of US weapons maker. This is false.

All 2021 Census systems were developed in-house, in collaboration with Shared Services Canada, as was the case for the previous census back in 2016.

Yes, Statistics Canada will provide personal safety equipment to census employees working in the field

It is rumoured that Statistics Canada will not provide masks to census employees who need to visit dwellings in person to help respondents complete their census questionnaire. This is false.

If a Statistics Canada census employee needs to be sent in person to a dwelling, the employee will be required to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer (provided by Statistics Canada), as well as maintain proper physical distancing, in accordance with guidelines from public health authorities.

Inaccurate information about free accommodation for census workers

An article alleges that "free accommodation" will be provided to individuals staffed in any 2021 Census Recruitment Clerk positions. This is false.

The accommodations that are being referred to in the job poster are for accommodative needs (i.e. ergonomic equipment, work schedule, etc.). Candidates should not expect any free accommodation when applying for census jobs.

Get the facts straight

I received a phone call from the number 1-833-720-2021. Is it a legitimate Statistics Canada phone number?

Yes. This phone number belongs to the Collection Support Unit (CSU). CSU operators call households to follow up with respondents who have not completed their questionnaire. You may also see the Census Help Line number (1-855-340-2021) on a card left on your doorstep by an enumerator. You can call the Census Help Line if you are not sure of the validity of a call, email or text message or need other assistance.

Do respondents have to let census employees from Statistics Canada into their home?

No. In the current context of COVID-19, Statistics Canada is committed to ensuring at all times the safety of Canadians, including both respondents and those working for the 2021 Census. As a result, census employees will not be entering the homes of respondents.

Can hackers or other unauthorized people access my census information?

No. Statistics Canada takes every precaution to protect your information, including sophisticated security procedures, techniques, software and hardware:

  • Encryption technologies enhance the privacy of the information passing between your browser and Statistics Canada's servers so that access to data cannot be compromised.
  • Census data are processed and stored on a highly restricted internal network and cannot be accessed by anyone who has not taken the oath of secrecy.
  • Data submitted to Statistics Canada's web servers are encrypted before being stored, and they remain encrypted until they are transferred to the high-security internal network.
Can I make sure that the person contacting me really is a Statistics Canada employee?

Yes. Every census employee will have an identification card that features the Statistics Canada identifier, along with their name, employee number and photo. When they contact you on the phone, census employees will identify themselves clearly.

If you are still unsure about the legitimacy of the person contacting you, you can always verify a census employee's identity by contacting the Census Help Line at 1-855-340-2021. Operators are available as of May 3, 2021.

Is there a way to guarantee that the census website is legitimate?

Yes. When completing your census questionnaire, look for these features:

  • The site URL in the browser address bar should end with ".gc.ca".
  • On the census website, as of May 3, 2021, you will be presented with a Start questionnaire button. Once you select this button, you will notice the URL in the browser address bar changes to https://surveys-enquetes.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/en/login-connexion/open-ouvrir.
  • The security certificate is provided by Entrust and clearly identifies Statistics Canada as the owner of the site.
Will Statistics Canada ask for my social insurance number or credit card information?

No. During the 2021 Census, Statistics Canada will never ask you for:

  • your social insurance number
  • your bank or credit card account numbers
  • money or donations of any kind
  • anything on behalf of a political party.

If someone claiming to be from Statistics Canada contacts you and asks for one of the above-listed things, it is a scam. Do not cooperate and contact the 2021 Census misinformation watch team immediately.

For more information about your security online and the privacy of your personal information, please visit the Security and privacy FAQ.

Report suspicious information

Have you seen or heard something about the 2021 Census that doesn't sound quite right, or that raises concerns? Let us know by contacting the 2021 Census misinformation watch team. Then, help set the record straight to make sure everyone has the right information about the census!

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