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 only on a need-to-know basis.
In order to preserve the confidentiality of respondents, no information is released from the census in a form that would identify individual respondents. Statistics Canada also ensures that respondents understand what is involved when they are asked for access to their personal records. In the 2011 Census for example, a question is asked for respondents' permission to release their personal information after 92 years. Without permission from the respondent, Statistics Canada does not provide files for eventual release in 92 years. Questions left blank are 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.
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 that may require entrance to these premises are escorted at all times by a Statistics Canada employee.
Processing of census returns
The processing of individual census returns will be undertaken by employees of Statistics Canada. No private sector employees will be involved in the processing of census questionnaires or any other census information.
Internet security - completing your questionnaire online
Statistics Canada takes the protection of confidential information provided online very seriously. A secure login process and strong encryption are key elements in helping to prevent anyone from eavesdropping or tampering with your census information when you complete and send it online.
To protect the security of your personal information when you are using the Internet, Statistics Canada has incorporated the following safeguards:
- We use strong bi-directional encryption technologies based on Secure Socket Layer (SSL v3.0) to ensure end-to-end security of data passing between your PC and our web server.
- Census data are processed and stored on a high security internal network that will not permit access to any outside link and cannot be accessed by any person or organization outside of Statistics Canada.
- Data submitted to our web servers are encrypted before being stored and remain encrypted until they are transferred to the high security internal network.
- We use powerful firewalls, intrusion detection and stringent access control procedures to limit access to back-end systems and databases. Census employees who have proper authorization and who have affirmed an oath of secrecy can access census data but only from secure Statistics Canada locations.
The online census questionnaire employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. This software receives and records the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer that has contacted our website and the date and time of the visit. No attempt is made to link these addresses with the identity of individuals visiting our site unless an attempt to damage and/or gain unauthorized access to the site has been detected.
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