-------- Original Message --------
Thanks to Peggy Wright I became aware of the 2004 Census Test and the
so-called informed consent question yesterday.
I am incensed about the inclusion of this question on any 'test' -- let
alone on the final version of the 2006 Census questionairre. Inclusion
of such a question was the most objectionable part of Bill S-13.
Inclusion of such a question will destroy the value of future Census
because it will destroy the 'completeness' of the information available.
During his appearance, Thursday 27 February 2003, before the Senate
Committee deliberating Bill S-13 our illustrious Chief Statistician -
Ivan P. Fellegi - committed that should such a question be included on
Census questionnaires it would be accompanied by a public campaign and
an explanation of the importance of retaining information provided and
permitting access to that information in the distant future. I see no
evidence of such explanation here.
Specifically, what Ivan Fellegi stated while giving evidence was:
"I made a private undertaking with the national archivist which I am
glad to make public as part of the record. I undertook to work with the
archivist in the publicity program regarding future censuses because
there is a massive publicity campaign that surrounds the census. It is
an opportunity to encourage Canadians to provide their permission.
Because this is a public meeting I am hereby committing my successors to
do the same."
For the sake of those who have not seen the specific question posed on
the Census Test, Question 8 is as follows:
"The Statistics Act guarantees the confidentiality of your census
information. Only if you mark "YES" to this question will your personal
information be made public, 92 years after the 2006 Census. If you mark
"NO" or leave the answer blank, your personal information will never be
made publicly available.
Does this person agree to make his/her 2006 Census information available
for public release in 2098 (92 years after the census)? Yes ___ No ___
The wording of this section states quite clearly the point that I have
made numerous time, including in my testimony before the Senate
Committee -- those who do not respond to the question will be viewed as
having responded negatively and their information will be withheld.
Rather than any explanation regarding the desirability of allowing your
information to be accessible in the distant future, the 'reason' given
for this question simply states "Question 8 ensures that each person is
given the opportunity to make an informed decision about what happens to
his or her name-identified census information in 92 years."
Statistics Canada puts out more than 200 surveys each year. With the
exception of one or two of these surveys, people receiving them are
required by law to complete and return them. I cannot say with
certainty that such is the case with the '2004 Census Test' although I
suspect that it is. If such is the case it would be against the law for
me to counsel others to refuse to complete and return this 'test', and I
am not doing that. My personal inclination, however, would be to return
the form incomplete except for expressing in the 'Comments' section my
outrage and disgust with the inclusion of Question 8 while there is no
legislated provision for such an 'informed consent' option for Census.
Even though Jeff has expressed doubt that the Minister's Office had
nothing to do with this, I find that difficult to accept. Legislation
in place indicates that all forms and schedules shall be approved by the
I am currently working on my next Global column and will have more to
say about this 'test' in it. I will inform everyone when the column has
==== CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN Mailing List ====
How to unsubscribe from Mail Mode. Send a message to
CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L-request@... that contains
(in the Subject line and body of the message) the command
-- unsubscribe -- and no additional text.