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Article Published June 11, 1999 Vol. III No. 09

Gordon A. Watts POST-1901 CENSUS NEWS (Canada)
By: Gordon A. Watts,

Update on The Post 1901 Census Issue

Greetings Readers, and Members of Parliament.

In our efforts to obtain Release of Canada's Post 1901 Census records to the Public we have, to date, concentrated on sending e-mail and letters to our Members of Parliament and the Ministers responsible. We have been very supportive of Senator Lorna Milne in her efforts in the Senate by sending her supportive email and letters, as well as informal petitions requesting the release of Census information.

All of this has been having it's effect. We have moved from a Government that had no interest in the concerns of a few genealogists and historians, to having the Government Minister responsible (Hon. John Manley) requesting Statistics Canada to develop proposals that might address our concerns in this matter.

We want to continue our efforts to date, and continue to send our letters to our MPs , Ministers, and Senator Milne, although I would not expect many replies until the fall session of Parliament convenes.

The time has come, however, to move our campaign for the Release of Post 1901 Census records to the NEXT STAGE.


While Canada's Parliament takes a break for the summer months we must now double our efforts in our campaign. It is time now to circulate a single FORMAL PETITION, containing THOUSANDS of signatures, for presentation at one time to the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada. It is our intention to have this Petition presented to the House of Commons sometime in October 1999.

Your Canada Census Campaign committee have drafted a FORMAL Petition following the Federal Government guidelines for the presentation of petitions to the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada. Murray CALDER, the first, and to date only MP to respond directly to the Global Genealogy poll on how they would vote on a Census Bill, has agreed to present our petition.

The petition files have been placed on a new page of the Post 1901 Census Project webpage sponsored by Global Genealogy. They are downloadable, in zipped form, from

The files contain a brief explanatory Cover Page to be circulated with the Petition, the First Page with the "prayer" of the Petition, and the Second and subsequent signature pages.

We ask that concerned individuals, Family History Societies, and Historians - anyone wanting to see Post 1901 Census records released to the Public, download and circulate this FORMAL PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. Locations for the petitions could include Family History Society libraries, Public libraries, apartment building lobbies, supermarket bulletin boards. You name it – you place it! The possibilities are endless.

If you have a web page please provide a link to the Post 1901 Census Project page at,

and the new Petition page at,

In accordance with Rules of the House for presentation of Petitions, ONLY CANADIAN CITIZENS (OR RESIDENTS) can sign THIS petition.

Please send signed Petitions (this one only please) to the following address PRIOR TO MONDAY 11 OCTOBER 1999. (Please send in petitions occasionally as they are filled up - do not leave them all to the last minute). Unfortunately, petitions sent to me will require postage

Gordon A. WATTS
1455 Delia Drive
Port Coquitlam, BC
V3C 2V9

Download the petition and pass it on to others. Write letters to the editor to inform about the petition. Tell them where the petition can be downloaded. We want to have the greatest coverage possible. This affects ALL Canadians. Let's break all the records for numbers of signatures on a single petition presented to the House of Commons of Canada.


Much has been made by the Government, and Statistics Canada, that one of the main reasons for the "excellent" cooperation of citizens in providing information for Census has been the strict confidentiality clauses contained in Statistics Acts since 1906. (They seldom mention the punitive measures available if we refuse to provide that information.)

I recently wrote to both Statistics Canada and the National Archives to ask how many complaints, if any, had been received as a result of personal information from Census being released after 92 years. I also asked about the nature of any such complaints, but stated I did not require the identity of the complainants. The emphasis in the responses below is mine.

Ms. Louise Desramaux, of Statistics Canada replied,

"As Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator for Statistics Canada, I can tell you that this Agency has not received any such complaints. It is possible, however, that because the 1901 and earlier Census records were released to the Public by the national Archives of Canada in accordance with the Regulations under the Privacy Act that the National Archives could have received some complaints."

Ms. Marta Khan of the National Archives of Canada wrote,

"Upon verification, it has been determined that no complaints have been received about the release of personal information from census reports, by either the Offices of the National Archivist or Assistant National Archivist, or by the ATIP Division. If I can be of any further assistance please let me know."

So much for the vast need for privacy and non-disclosure of Census records. So much for the great uproar from the Public about their information being released after 92 years. While givers of information to Census have a right to expect confidentiality, for the most part they would be concerned about that confidentiality in the present time -- not thirty, sixty, or ninety-two years down the road.


The MPs scoreboard on the Post 1901 Census Project page has been updated and will continue to be updated as we receive letters of response from you. Please continue to send copies of your letters to your MP, along with their response, to

When visiting the Scoreboard page, click on the name of the MP to access the correspondence log for them.

A link has been added to the Post 1901 Census Project page to take you to my Census Update Columns.

A Rootsweb mailing list has just been set up to deal with the Post 1901 Census issue. Subscribe in Mail Mode by sending an email to

that contains the word " subscribe ", and nothing else. For Digest Mode send to

Until next time. Happy Hunting.

Gordon A. Watts

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