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October 31, 2018

Privacy Commissioner launches investigation into Statistics Canada

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has received complaints related to Statistics Canada and its collection of personal information from private sector organizations and has opened an investigation.

The complaints follow media reports that Statistics Canada requested several banks provide the agency with the financial transaction information of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien welcomes the Chief Statistician’s invitation for his office to take a “deeper dive” into StatCan’s collection of data from private sector organizations. The Commissioner’s office will be seeking details regarding the information requests the agency has made to various industry sectors.

StatsCan had previously consulted with the Privacy Commissioner’s office on the privacy implications related to data collection from private sector organizations, but outside the context of an investigation. A summary of those consultations is included in the Commissioner’s 2017-18 Annual Report to Parliament.

The Commissioner’s office has a legal obligation to investigate the complaints fairly and impartially under the law, and the Privacy Act, Canada’s federal public sector privacy law, includes confidentiality provisions. Therefore, no additional details can be provided at this time.  

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