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[Fwd: [CCC] Post 1901 Census -- Census Test]

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  • Lois Sparling
    ... Subject: [CCC] Post 1901 Census -- Census Test Resent-Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 14:07:13 -0600 Resent-From: CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L@rootsweb.com Date: Wed,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2004
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      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject:[CCC] Post 1901 Census -- Census Test
      Resent-Date:Wed, 28 Apr 2004 14:07:13 -0600
      Resent-From:CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L@...
      Date:Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:07:10 -0700
      From:"Gordon A. Watts" <gordon_watts@...>
      Organization:Canada Census Committee
      To:CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L@...


      Greetings All.
      
      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
      Minister.
      
      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
      been posted.
      
      Happy Hunting.
      
      Gordon
      
      
      
      
      
      
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