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First Session, Forty-second Parliament,
64-65-66 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016-2017
STATUTES OF CANADA 2017
An Act to amend the Statistics Act
His Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled “An Act to amend the Statistics Act”.
This enactment amends the Statistics Act to strengthen the independence of Statistics Canada, including by providing for the appointment of the Chief Statistician to hold office during good behaviour and by assigning to the Chief Statistician the powers related to methods, procedures and operations of Statistics Canada. It also establishes a transparent process to issue directives to the Chief Statistician concerning those methods, procedures and operations or the statistical programs. In addition, it establishes the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council, no longer requires the consent of respondents to transfer their Census information to Library and Archives Canada and repeals imprisonment as a penalty for any offence committed by a respondent. Finally, it amends certain provisions by modernizing the language of the Act to better reflect current methods of collecting statistical information.
Available on the House of Commons website at the following address:
64-65-66 Elizabeth II
An Act to amend the Statistics Act
[Assented to 12th December, 2017]
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
R.S., c. S-19
1 Section 2 of the Statistics Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
identifying information means any information that makes it possible to identify an individual person, business or organization; (renseignement identificateur)
2 Section 4 of the Act is replaced by the following:
4 (1) The Governor in Council shall appoint the Chief Statistician of Canada to be the deputy head of Statistics Canada.
(2) The Chief Statistician holds office for a term of not more than five years during good behaviour, but may be removed for cause by the Governor in Council.
(3) The Chief Statistician is eligible to be reappointed for an additional term of not more than five years.
(4) In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Chief Statistician, or if that office is vacant, the Governor in Council may appoint any qualified person to hold that office in the interim for a term not exceeding six months, and that person shall, while holding office, be paid the salary or other remuneration and expenses that may be fixed by the Governor in Council.
(5) The Chief Statistician shall, in addition to any other duties imposed on him or her under any other provision of this Act,
(a) decide, based strictly on professional statistical standards that he or she considers appropriate, the methods and procedures for carrying out statistical programs regarding
(i) the collection, compilation, analysis, abstraction and publication of statistical information that is produced or is to be produced by Statistics Canada,
(ii) the content of statistical releases and publications issued by Statistics Canada, and
(iii) the timing and methods of dissemination of statistics compiled by Statistics Canada;
(b) advise on matters pertaining to statistical programs of the departments and agencies of the Government of Canada, and confer with those departments and agencies to that end; and
(c) control the operations and staff of Statistics Canada.
Report to Minister
(6) In each fiscal year the Chief Statistician shall make a report to the Minister on the activities of Statistics Canada in the preceding fiscal year, and that report shall be included as a separate part of the Minister’s annual report to Parliament.
Directives on methods, procedures and operations
4.1 (1) Directives on any methods, procedures and operations may only be issued to the Chief Statistician by the Governor in Council, by order, on the recommendation of the Minister.
(2) Within 15 days after the day on which an order is made, the Minister shall cause a copy of the order to be tabled in each House of Parliament.
House not sitting
(3) If the House is not sitting, in order to comply with subsection (2), the order shall be sent to the Clerk of the House within 15 days after the day on which the order is made.
Directives on statistical programs
4.2 (1) The Minister may issue directives to the Chief Statistician on the statistical programs that aim to collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistics on all or any of the matters referred to in section 22.
Publication of directives
(2) The Chief Statistician may require that any directive issued to him or her under subsection (1) be made in writing and made public before the Chief Statistician acts on it.
3 (1) Subsection 5(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:
5 (1) The Chief Statistician may employ, in the manner authorized by law, any commissioners, enumerators, agents or other persons that are necessary to collect for Statistics Canada the statistics and information that the Minister considers useful and in the public interest relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and other activities that the Minister may determine. The duties of the commissioners, enumerators, agents or other persons shall be those duties prescribed by the Chief Statistician.
(2) Subsection 5(3) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(3) Any persons retained under contract to perform special services for the Chief Statistician under this Act and the employees and agents of those persons are, for the purposes of this Act, deemed to be persons employed under this Act while performing those services.
4 Subsections 6(2) to 6(4) of the Act are replaced by the following:
(2) The oath or solemn affirmation set out in subsection (1) shall be taken before the person, and returned and recorded in the manner, that the Chief Statistician may direct.
(3) If a person retained under contract to perform special services for the Chief Statistician under this Act is a corporation, its chief executive officer and any of its other officers, employees and agents that are used to perform the special services shall, before fulfilling any of the duties required under the contract, take and subscribe the following oath or solemn affirmation:
I, name of the corporation) in respect of my employment in carrying out (identify here contract with Chief Statistician) in conformity with the requirements of the Statistics Act, and of all rules and instructions under that Act and that I will not without due authority disclose or make known any matter or thing that comes to my knowledge by reason of this employment., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and honestly fulfil my duties as an employee of (
(4) The oath or solemn affirmation set out in subsection (3) shall be taken before the person, and returned and recorded in the manner, that the Chief Statistician may direct.
5 Sections 7 to 9 of the Act are replaced by the following:
Rules, instructions and requests for information
7 (1) The Chief Statistician may prescribe the rules, instructions and, subject to subsection 21(1), requests for information that he or she considers necessary for conducting the work and business of Statistics Canada, the collecting, compiling and publishing of statistics and other information and the taking of any census authorized by this Act.
(2) For greater certainty, any rule, instruction or request for information prescribed under subsection (1) is not a regulation for the purposes of the Statutory Instruments Act.
Mandatory or voluntary requests for information
8 (1) The Chief Statistician shall determine whether a request for information is mandatory or voluntary, with the exception of the census of population and census of agriculture, both of which are mandatory.
(2) The Chief Statistician shall publish any mandatory request for information before the request is made.
Notification of Minister
(3) The Chief Statistician shall notify the Minister of any new mandatory request for information at least 30 days before the day on which it is published.
Voluntary requests for information — paragraph 31(a) does not apply
(4) Paragraph 31(a) does not apply to a person to whom a voluntary request for information is made.
Canadian Statistics Advisory Council
8.1 (1) An advisory council, to be known as the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council, is established
(a) to advise the Minister and Chief Statistician in a transparent manner on any question that either of them has referred to the Council on the overall quality of the national statistical system, including the relevance, accuracy, accessibility and timeliness of its data; and
(b) to make public an annual report on the state of the national statistical system.
(2) The Council is composed of, in addition to the Chief Statistician, not more than 10 other members appointed by the Governor in Council to hold office during pleasure, including one Chairperson.
(3) The Chief Statistician is an ex officio member of the Council.
Tenure of Chairperson
(4) The Chairperson is appointed to a term of not more than five years and may be reappointed for an additional term of three years.
Tenure of other members
(5) The other members are appointed to a term of three years and may be reappointed for an additional term of three years.
Remuneration and expenses
(6) The members appointed under subsection (2) shall be paid the remuneration that is fixed by the Governor in Council and are entitled to be paid any reasonable travel and living expenses that are incurred while absent from their ordinary place of residence in the course of performing their duties under this Act.
9 (1) The Governor in Council, the Minister and the Chief Statistician shall not, in the execution of the powers conferred by this Act, discriminate between individuals or companies to the prejudice of those individuals or companies.
Use of sampling methods
(2) Despite any other provision of this Act, the Chief Statistician may authorize the use of sampling methods for the collection of statistics.
6 Section 13 of the French version of the Act is replaced by the following:
Accès aux archives
13 La personne ayant la garde ou la charge de documents ou d’archives qui sont conservés dans un ministère ou un bureau municipal ou auprès d’une personne morale, d’une entreprise ou d’une organisation et dont on pourrait tirer des renseignements recherchés pour les objets de la présente loi ou qui aideraient à compléter ou à corriger ces renseignements est tenue d’en permettre l’accès, à ces fins, à une personne autorisée par le statisticien en chef à obtenir ces renseignements ou cette aide pour compléter ou corriger ces renseignements.
7 Sections 14 and 15 of the Act are replaced by the following:
Evidence of appointment
14 Any letter purporting to be signed by the Chief Statistician or any person who may be authorized to do so by the Chief Statistician that gives notice of an appointment or removal of, or that sets out any instructions to, a person employed in the execution of any duty under this Act is evidence of the appointment, removal or instructions and that the letter was signed and addressed as it purports to be.
15 Any request for information purporting to be authorized for the taking of a census or the collection of statistics or other information and presented as such by a person employed in the execution of any duty under this Act is presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to have been made by the proper authority.
8 (1) Paragraphs 17(1)(a) and (b) of the Act are replaced by the following:
(a) no person, other than a person employed or deemed to be employed under this Act, and sworn under section 6, shall be permitted to examine any return or identifying information obtained for the purposes of this Act; and
(b) no person who has been sworn under section 6 shall disclose or knowingly cause to be disclosed, by any means, any information obtained under this Act in a manner that it is possible from the disclosure to relate the information obtained to any identifiable individual person, business or organization.
1992, c. 1, s. 131
(2) The portion of subsection 17(2) of the French version of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
Exception à l’interdiction
(2) Le statisticien en chef peut, par ordre, autoriser la révélation des renseignements suivants :
9 Subsections 18(1) and (2) of the Act are replaced by the following:
Privileged information — inadmissibility as evidence
18 (1) Except for the purposes of a prosecution under this Act, any return and any identifying information provided to Statistics Canada under this Act and any copy of a return in the possession of a respondent is privileged and shall not be used as evidence in any proceedings.
Privileged information — person sworn
(2) A person sworn under section 6 shall not, by an order of any court, tribunal or other body, be required in any proceedings to give oral testimony with respect to information obtained in the course of administering this Act or to produce any return or identifying information obtained.
2005, c. 31, s. 1
10 Subsections 18.1(1) and (2) of the Act are replaced by the following:
Census — disclosure after 92 years
18.1 (1) The information contained in the returns of each census of population taken between 1910 and 2005, as well as the information contained in the returns and the identifying information obtained in each census of population taken in or after 2021, is no longer subject to sections 17 and 18 ninety-two years after the census is taken.
Census and survey — disclosure with consent
(2) The information contained in the returns of each census of population taken in 2006, 2011 and 2016 and the 2011 National Household Survey is no longer subject to sections 17 and 18 ninety-two years after the census or survey is taken, but only if the person to whom the information relates consents, at the time of the census or survey, to the release of the information ninety-two years later.
11 The portion of section 22 of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
22 Without limiting the duties of Statistics Canada under section 3 or affecting any of its powers or duties in respect of any specific statistics that may otherwise be authorized or required under this Act, the Chief Statistician shall collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistics in relation to all or any of the following matters in Canada:
1988, c. 65, s. 146
12 Subsection 22.1(1) of the French version of the Act is replaced by the following:
Système de codification des marchandises
22.1 (1) Le statisticien en chef établit un système de codification des marchandises importées ou exportées qui lui permet de recueillir, de compiler, d’analyser, de dépouiller et de publier les statistiques concernant ces marchandises.
13 Section 23 of the Act is replaced by the following:
Request for information by any method
23 (1) The requests for information prescribed under section 7 may be made by any method authorized by the Chief Statistician.
Duty to provide information
(2) A person to whom a mandatory request for information is made shall provide the information to Statistics Canada, properly certified as accurate, not later than the time prescribed by the Chief Statistician and indicated to the person or not later than the extended time that may be allowed in the discretion of the Chief Statistician.
2005, c. 10, par. 34(1)(w)
14 Sections 26 to 29 of the Act are replaced by the following:
Courts to furnish criminal statistics
26 The clerk of every court or tribunal administering criminal justice or, if there is no clerk, the judge or other functionary presiding over the court or tribunal shall, at the times, in the manner and for the periods that the Chief Statistician may establish, transmit the information requested by the Minister relating to the criminal business transacted in the court or tribunal.
Wardens and sheriffs
27 The warden of every penitentiary and reformatory and the sheriff of every county, district or other territorial division shall, at the times, in the manner and for the periods that the Chief Statistician may establish, transmit the information requested by the Minister relating to the prisoners committed to any penitentiary, reformatory or jail under their charge or within their jurisdiction.
28 Every person who is required to transmit any information mentioned in section 26 or 27 shall from day to day make and keep entries and records of the particulars used to respond to requests for information made to them.
29 The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness shall cause to be transmitted to the Chief Statistician, at the times and for the periods that the Chief Statistician may establish, the information requested by the Minister relating to the cases in which the prerogative of mercy has been exercised.
15 Section 31 of the Act is replaced by the following:
False or unlawful information
31 Every person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $500 who, without lawful excuse,
(a) refuses or neglects, following a request for information under this Act,
(i) to provide any requested information to the best of their knowledge and belief, or
(ii) to provide any requested information when and as required under this Act; or
(b) knowingly gives false or misleading information or practises any other deception under this Act.
16 (1) The portion of section 32 of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
Refusal to grant access to records
32 Every person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000
(2) Paragraph 32(a) of the French version of the Act is replaced by the following:
a) ayant la garde ou la charge de documents ou d’archives qui sont conservés dans un ministère ou un bureau municipal ou auprès d’une personne morale, d’une entreprise ou d’une organisation et dont on pourrait tirer des renseignements recherchés pour les objets de la présente loi ou qui aideraient à compléter ou à corriger ces renseignements, refuse ou néglige d’en permettre l’accès à une personne autorisée à cet effet par le statisticien en chef;
(3) The portion of section 32 of the English version of the Act after paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
(b) who otherwise in any way wilfully obstructs or seeks to obstruct any person employed in the execution of any duty under this Act.
17 Section 33 of the Act is replaced by the following:
32.1 Despite subsection 787(1) of the Criminal Code, no imprisonment may be imposed as punishment for a conviction under section 31 or 32.
Leaving notice at house
33 (1) The leaving by an enumerator, agent or other person employed or deemed to be employed under this Act, or the delivery by the post office at any house, of any request for information purporting to be made under this Act that includes a notice requiring that the information be provided in the manner specified and within a stated time to Statistics Canada by the occupant of the house, or in their absence by some other member of the family, is, as against the occupant, a sufficient requirement to provide the information even if the occupant is not named in the notice nor personally served with it.
Leaving notice at office
(2) The leaving by an enumerator, agent or other person employed or deemed to be employed under this Act at the office or other place of business of any person, or the delivery by the post office to any person or their agent, of any request for information purporting to be made under this Act that includes a notice requiring that the information be provided in the manner specified and within a stated time to Statistics Canada is, as against the person, a sufficient requirement to do so.
18 The Chief Statistician holding office immediately before the coming into force of this Act shall continue to hold office during pleasure until an appointment is made under subsection 4(1) of the Statistics Act, as enacted by section 2 of this Act.
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons