Stop Statistics Canada’s privacy violations

Stop Statistics Canada’s privacy violations

The Statistics Canada scandal has revealed that hundreds of thousands of people in Canada face having their personal banking information taken – including account balances, ATM withdrawals and credit card payments – without being notified or being asked to give consent.1

This is only possible because the Privacy Act, the rules that protect our personal information, is extremely out of date. Message your MP to demand they take action to update the Privacy Act, and protect our sensitive data. If you can, please personalize your letter to give it more impact.

please go here to sign the petition via of OpenMedia

Statistics Canada plans to build an enormous information bank with the real-time financial transaction data of 500,000 people in Canada. This “individual-level financial transactions data” would include SINs, account balances, cash withdrawals from ATMs, bills paid and credit card payments. And it sounds like our Internet activities might be next.

The problem is, Statistics Canada doesn’t seem to be doing anything illegal. Our current privacy laws simply do not provide enough protection against this kind of information-gathering. This is because the rules that govern how the government protects, uses and shares our personal information are extremely out of date. The Privacy Act, which oversees the government’s use of your data, came into effect in 1983 – years before the Internet, or cell phones. The powers that let Statistics Canada force banks to hand over our confidential information are from the same era.

The good news is, we already know what needs to be done. The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) has put forward strong recommendations for how to update the Privacy Act to ensure our personal information is protected. We also know that obligating Statistics Canada to get consent before collecting sensitive information from service providers will not undermine its abilities to collect robust and accurate data.

All it’s going to take now is a strong push from Canadians to have the bill introduced in Parliament.


EXCLUSIVE: Stats Canada requesting banking information of 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge