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Confidentiality: Your right

Statistics Canada attaches the highest importance to protecting the confidentiality of your census information.

By law, Statistics Canada must protect the confidentiality of the information you provide on its surveys and censuses. All Statistics Canada employees must take an oath of secrecy, and are subject to fines and/or imprisonment should they reveal identifiable information derived from the census. Any possible breach of the confidentiality of census returns is an exceedingly serious matter which would be investigated immediately and thoroughly and be subject to the full force of the Statistics Act.

Only Statistics Canada employees working directly with the census ever see completed census forms, and this is on a need-to-know basis.

Confidential 2006 Census data never leave the premises of Statistics Canada. Your personal census information cannot be given to anyone outside Statistics Canada without your consent.

In order to preserve the confidentiality of respondents, no information is released from the census in a form that would identify individual respondents. Detailed census data are never released for geographic areas with a population of less than 40 people — 250 people in the case of income data.

Statistics Canada also ensures that respondents understand what is involved when they are asked for access to their personal records. In the 2006 Census, two new questions ask for respondents' permission to access their income tax files and to release their personal information after 92 years. Without permission from each respondent, Statistics Canada will neither access income tax records nor provide files for release in 92 years. Questions left blank will be viewed as a "no" response.

The Statistics Act protects the confidentiality of respondents' information.

Security of your information

The security of your information is of paramount importance to Statistics Canada. Census data are stored on Statistics Canada systems that are isolated from any other network. External connections such as telephone dial-in services are not available to Statistics Canada's systems where confidential data are stored: therefore, it is impossible to break into Statistics Canada's databases.

In addition, Statistics Canada has controlled access to its premises so that only persons with the appropriate security clearance and who have taken the oath of secrecy may enter facilities housing confidential data. Any private sector employees who may require entrance to these premises are escorted at all times by a Statistics Canada employee.

Contracts

Contract staff are never in possession of confidential data. Contract staff are only allowed escorted access to Statistics Canada's secure facilities if they have been cleared by security and sworn-in, under the Statistics Act. They are accompanied by a Statistics Canada employee at all times during their visit to any secure facility. Contract employees are not allowed to bring in or take out any electronic devices such as a laptop, CD-ROM, memory stick, etc.

Processing of census returns

The processing of individual census returns is undertaken by employees of Statistics Canada. NO private sector employees are involved in the processing of 2006 Census questionnaires or any other census information.