In the News

Nov 08, 2018

Statistics Canada wants to collect your individual banking transactions and sensitive personal identification information, but the initial plan has been put on hold after public outrage followed evidence that the data had been requested without consent of the randomly chosen Canadians.

The personal banking and financial transactions being requested include bill payments, cash withdrawals from ATMs, credit card payments, electronic money transfers and even account balances of Canadians across the country.

James Tebrake, director general of macroeconomics at Statistics Canada, told Global News that beginning in January, the agency will ask nine banks for the financial transaction information from a representative sample of 500,000 randomly chosen Canadians or a 1 in 20 chance of being selected.

Various commentaries examine whether the government is reaching too far. How do you feel?

Financial Post

With fines or possible jail time as penalties for not answering the mandatory long form survey, the law already provides Statistics Canada with powers that may be viewed as excessive by some, but now that the agency will be asking financial institutions to collect and provide data from some 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge, the Financial Post asks "at what point are the agency’s powers too excessive?"

The Globe and Mail

Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien is launching an investigation of Statistics Canada over its plan to force banks to hand over banking records that would allow detailed tracking of how and where Canadians spend their money, and Chief Statistician Anil Arora defended the plans, reports the Globe and Mail.

CBC News

"There were disturbing reports this weekend that Stats Canada has informed banks and credit card companies that it expects them to hand over personal financial data of at least half-a-million Canadians without their knowledge or consent," Opposition House Leader Candice Bergen said Tuesday during question period.

The Globe and Mail

StatsCan has no interest in the details of any specific Canadian’s life or activity. Instead, it wants to pool data from many individuals to produce anonymous and non-confidential statistics, says the Globe and Mail

Global News

StatsCan scooped up 15 years’ worth of credit rating information from a major international credit bureau which could include millions of Canadians, reports Global News. The data harvest was done without the consent or knowledge of those Canadians.

The Globe and Mail

“We couldn’t trust the data any longer,” said former chief statistician Ivan Fellegi, who led Statistics Canada for 22 years until he retired in 2008. in defending the new direction.