New Arrivals    Books    Archival Products   Charts   Newsletters   Upcoming Events   Contact Us  

Popular Categories

   Australia & New Zealand
   British Home Children
   Canada
      - Acadie, Acadian
      - New Brunswick
      - Newfoundland & Lab.
      - Nova Scotia
      - Ontario
      - Prince Edward Island
      - Quebec
      - Western Canada
      - First Nations, Metis
      - Military - Before 1920
      - Loyalists / UEL
      - Pioneers' Stories
      - Genealogy How-To
   England & Wales
   Ireland & Northern Ireland
   Scotland
   United States
      - American Revolution
   more countries...
   Genealogy How-To

   Archival & Acid-Free
   Conservation How-To

   Charts, Forms
   Magnifiers
   Gift Certificates


Popular Authors

   Thomas MacEntee
   Paul Milner
   Chris Paton
   Ron W. Shaw
   Gavin K. Watt


Popular Publishers

   Global Heritage Press
   MacDonald Research
   OGS - Ottawa Branch
   Unlock The Past





Search by topic, title, author or word:

News & How-To
Formerly branded as GlobalGazette.ca

Articles, press releases,and how-to information for everyone interested in genealogy and history

Subscribe to our free newsletter


Article Published February 11, 2000, Vol. IV No. 04



Gordon A. Watts POST-1901 CENSUS NEWS (Canada)
By: Gordon A. Watts, gordon_watts@telus.net


Greetings Readers, and Members of Parliament

Liberal MP Mac Harb presents Private Member Bill

In my last column I made reference to a question Liberal MP Mac Harb posed in the House of Commons regarding release of Post 1901 Census records. I had found this reference in cruising through the Hansard Debates of the House. Thanks to a comment from someone on one of the internet mail lists I went looking for something else. What I found was a Private Member Bill that Mac Harb had Presented to the House of Commons on 5 November 1999. The text of that Bill follows:

The House of Commons of Canada
BILL C-312
An Act to amend the National Archives of Canada Act and the Statistics Act

First reading, November 5, 1999


SUMMARY

The purpose of this enactment is to mandate the Chief Statistician of Canada to transfer to the National Archivist of Canada all census information that has been collected since the 1906 census and that will be collected in every future census. Such transfer is currently prohibited. The National Archivist of Canada may make such information available to the public for research and statistical purposes provided that 92 years have elapsed since its collection.

2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
48 Elizabeth II, 1999

The House of Commons of Canada
BILL C-312
An Act to amend the National Archives of Canada Act and the Statistics Act

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

[ R.S., c. 1 (3rd Supp.); 1990, c. 3; 1992, c. 1; 1995, c. 29 ]

NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA ACT

Section 4 of the National Archives of Canada Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (4):

[ Release of census information ]

(5) Despite any other provision in this or any other Act of Parliament or a regulation made thereunder, the Archivist may disclose to any person or body for research or statistical purposes any information under the control of the Archivist that is contained in a census of population taken before or after the coming into force of this section, provided that 92 years have elapsed since the census containing the information was taken.

[ R.S., c. S-19; 1988, c. 65; 1990, c. 45; 1992, c. 1 ]

STATISTICS ACT

2. The Statistics Act is amended by adding the following after section 21:

TRANSFER OF CENSUS OF POPULATION TO NATIONAL ARCHIVES

[ Transfer of census information obtained after 1906 but before this section comes into force ]

21.1 (1) Despite any other provision in this or any other Act of Parliament or a regulation made thereunder, the Chief Statistician shall, not later than 30 days after the day this section comes into force, transfer to the National Archivist for archival purposes, the information contained in every census of population taken in Canada after 1906 but prior to the coming into force of this section.

[ Transfer of census information obtained after this section comes into force ]

(2) Despite any other provision in this or any other Act of Parliament or a regulation made thereunder, the Chief Statistician shall, not later than five years following every census taken in Canada after the coming into force of this section, transfer the information contained in that census to the National Archivist for archival purposes.

It is not known at this time when second reading of this Bill will be scheduled.




Senator Lorna Milne's Bill now available

In my last column I reported that Senator Lorna Milne had presented her Private Senator Bill to the Senate. At that time the wording of the Bill was not available but it has since been sent to me by the Senator. The wording of Bill S-15 follows here:

THE SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-15
An Act to amend the Statistics Act and the National
Archives of Canada Act (census records)

First reading, December 16, 1999

THE HONOURABLE SENATOR MILNE

SUMMARY

This enactment expressly authorizes the transfer of all census records from Statistics Canada to the National Archives of Canada for permanent safekeeping. It gives access to the records to genealogists and other researchers 92 years after the census, subject to a privacy right it creates that allows individuals to object to the disclosure of personal information in the census records.

2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
48 Elizabeth 11, 1999

THE SENATE OF CANADA

BILL S-15

An Act to amend the Statistics Act and the National Archives of Canada Act (census records)

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

STATISTICS ACT

1. The Statistics Act is amended by adding the following after section 21:

21.1 (1) In this section, "record" has the same meaning as in section 2 of the National Archives of Canada Act.

(2) Statistics Canada shall conserve all records from every

(a) population census taken under section 19;

(b) agriculture census taken under section 20; and

(c) population and agriculture census taken prior to 1971.

(3) With the consent of the National Archivist of Canada, obtained as required under section 5 of the National Archives of Canada Act, the Chief Statistician may destroy or dispose of census records, including individual census returns, but only after all of the information contained in the record has been transferred to an alternative recording medium.

(4) Before the expiration of thirty calendar years following the year in which a census referred to in subsection (2) was taken, or at such earlier time as may be agreed to by the Chief Statistician and the National Archivist of Canada, the Chief Statistician shall transfer to the care and control of the National Archivist, under section 6 of the National Archives of Canada Act, all records referred to in paragraphs (2)(a) and (b).

(5) Before the expiration of two years after the coming into force of this section, or at such earlier time as may be agreed to by the Chief Statistician and the National Archivist of Canada, the Chief Statistician shall transfer to the care and control of the National Archivist, under section 6 of the National Archives of Canada Act, all records referred to in paragraph (2)(c).

NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA ACT

2. The National Archives of Canada Act is amended by adding the following after section 7:

7.1 (1) The information in census records transferred to the care and control of the Archivist under section 21.1 of the Statistics Act is deemed to be of permanent historic and archival importance.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection 4(3), census records referred to in subsection (1) may not be transferred, destroyed or disposed of unless all of the information contained in the record has been transferred to an alternative recording medium.

7.2 (1) Neither the Archivist, nor any person acting on behalf of the Archivist, shall disclose personal information in census records, except
    (a) to the Chief Statistician of Canada and to persons authorized by order of the Chief Statistician under subsection 17(2) of the Statistics Act; or

    (b) as authorized by this section.
(2) When 92 calendar years have elapsed following the year in which a census was taken, the Archivist shall provide public access to the records of the census for statistical purposes, for historical, genealogical or scientific research purposes, or for such other research purpose as the Archivist may establish.

(3) The access referred to in subsection (2) shall be subject to such reasonable terms and conditions as the Archivist may establish that are consistent with the purposes of this Act.

7.3 (1) In this section, "personal information" has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Privacy Act.

(2) An individual may object to the Archivist to the disclosure of any personal information provided by that individual in the course of a census

. (3) An objection under subsection (2) must be in writing and is valid if
    (a) the objection is received by the Archivist during the 92nd calendar year following the year in which the census was taken;

    (b) the objection contains sufficient particulars to permit the Archivist to identify the personal information to which the objection relates; and

    (c) in the opinion of the Archivist, the disclosure of the personal information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual to whom the information relates.
(4) Notwithstanding subsection 7.2(2), the Archivist, upon receiving a valid written objection made under this section, shall not disclose the personal information referred to in the objection.

(5) Every individual who filed a return in a census and in respect of whom a valid written objection has not been made under this section is deemed, when 92 calendar years have elapsed following the year in which the census was taken, to have given an irrevocable consent to public access to the information as provided for in this Act.

Second reading for Senator Milne's Bill has been scheduled for Tuesday, 8 February 2000.




Motion of Reform MP Jason Kenney to be debated

On 13 October 1999 MP Jason Kenney presented a motion to the House of Commons. This was a re-introduction of Motion M 571, originally put forth in January 1999, prior to the prorogation of the first session of the House. The motion reads as follows:

M-160 - October 13, 1999 - Mr. Kenney (Calgary Southeast) - That, in the opinion of this House, the government should take all necessary steps to release the 1911 Census records once they have been deposited in the National Archives in 2003.

Mr. Kenny's Motion has been deemed a votable item with debate limited to three hours. Mr. Kenny has advised me that debate on this Motion will take place 10 February 2000.




Expert Panel arranges conference call


The Expert Panel to study release of Historic Census records had their first meeting on 6 January 2000. They recently sent an invitation to participate in a telephone conference call on 9 February 2000 to
    British Columbia Genealogical Society
    Alberta Genealogical Society
    Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
    Manitoba Genealogical Society
    Ontario Genealogical Society
    New Brunswick Genealogical Society
    Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
    P.E.I. Genealogical Society
    Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogical Society
    NWT Genealogical Society
Dr. Pamela White, Secretariat for the Expert Panel, indicated that the conference call would last one hour and requested those participating to restrict their comments to five minutes - not much time to express the concerns of 7.5 million genealogist living in Canada.

Quebec does not appear in the list above. It is my understanding that a separate conference, presumably in the French language, will held for those in Quebec. It would appear they do not feel there are any English speaking genealogists in that Province.

Those wishing to make submissions to the Expert Panel may do so by e-mail at

expert.panel_comite.experts@statcan.ca

or by snail mail to

Dr. Pamela White
Secretary
Expert Panel on Access to Historical
Census Records
25-B, R.H. Coats Building
Ottawa, Ontario




More on Expert Panel


Subsequent to the notification of the teleconference with the Expert Panel I wrote the following to Dr. White.

Dear Ms. White.

It is my understanding that the Expert Panel studying release of Historical Census records will be conducting a telephone conference call with Genealogy Societies on 9 February. While not participating directing in this call I will have some input through the person representing the British Columbia Genealogical Society. In regards to this, and other conference calls that might be arranged, I would like to know if there will be transcripts made available so that interested parties might be aware of what was said on their behalf. If so, would these transcripts be available on an internet website, or would they have to be specifically requested through your office. Should the latter be the case please include my name on the list of those requesting transcripts.

I would like to know also: How often will the Panel be meeting?
How long will each meeting be?
Will the Panel conduct any public meetings?
If so, when and where will they be held?
What will be the cutoff date for receiving printed submissions? Thank you for your prompt consideration of my questions.

Gordon A. WATTS

The response to my query was as follows:

January 27, 2000

Mr G. Watts:

This email is in response to your January 26, 2000 request for additional information regarding the meeting format of the Expert Panel.

As you know the Honourable Mr Manley asked this Panel to provide recommendations to him regarding an approach which seeks to balance the need to protect personal privacy with the demands for access to historical census records. This Expert Panel is not a federal commission of inquiry, nor is it a parliamentary or senate committee.

At the first meeting of the Panel, the members explicitly discussed what meetings would be held with interested parties and it was decided that two teleconference calls would be held with genealogical associations. The telephone conference call scheduled for February 9, 2000 will be conducted with representatives of the provincial genealogical organizations and will be held in English. The second call is to be held in French and will be scheduled once a convenient time can be arranged. In both instances, the provincial genealogical associations are invited to give joint submissions should they so wish.

Further to your question, there will not be any transcripts made from these calls as is noted above, the Expert Panel is not a commission of inquiry nor a parliamentary or senate committee in which hearings are held. Nor will the Panel be holding public town hall meetings.

Groups and individuals are invited to send submissions and all written material must be received by the Panel before May 1, 2000. Please also note that all of the letters, emails and faxes that have been sent to the Honourable Mr Manley, the Chief Statistician and MPS have been given to the Panel for their consideration. All written material received by the Panel will be considered at the monthly working meetings that the Panel plans to hold.

I trust that I have answered your questions and I look forward to your participation at the February 9, 2000 teleconference call.

Pamela White
Secretariat/Sécretariate




Post 1901 Census records safe, if not available

Don Nisbet received the following information in response to a request to Statistics Canada.
    1871,1881, 1891 and 1901 microfilmed census records have been released to the public by the National Archives. A copy of these microfilm census records is also kept by Statistics Canada.

    1906 to 1986 Censuses have been microfilmed. The Master Copy is stored with the National Archives for preservation purposes. A second copy is held by Statistics Canada.

    About one-third of the 1991 Census records have been microfilmed. Due to budget restrictions, this activity was halted. The original questionnaires are stored by the National Archives for preservation purposes.

    The 1996 Census questionnaires have not been microfilmed. The 1996 Census questionnaires are stored at Statistics Canada.

    Please note the following:

    The 1906, 1916, 1926, 1936 and 1946 Censuses were held only in the prairie provinces.

    Canadian censuses included Newfoundland beginning in 1951.
Pamela White Secretary, Expert Panel on Access to Historical Census Records




House did not debate confidentiality of Post 1901 Census

In the past month I have spent a considerable amount of time in the Vancouver Public Library as well as the library of Simon Fraser University. Among other things I have been trying to find reasons for making confidentiality subject to law where previously it had not been. I was trying to find where this issue had been debated in the House of Commons.

In the Debates of the House of Commons for 1906 I was unable to find any reference to either Census or Statistics, either in the volumes of debate themselves, or the Analytical Index to the Debates. There is, however, considerable debate in Hansard of 1905 referring to Bill 5 - an Act respecting the Census and Statistics presented by the Hon Sydney Fisher, Minister of Agriculture in 1905. This Bill, with one amendment and some rearrangement of clauses, appears in the Revised Statutes of Canada for 1906 as Chapter 68, and is the Statute under which the 1906 Census was taken.

Although I have not yet finished reading the entire transcript of these debates, I have as yet been unable to find any debate regarding privacy, confidentiality, or secrecy relating to personal identifiable information. Having found no reference to privacy, secrecy or confidentiality in the debates, I had a brilliant (?) revelation. There was no mention of these issues within the 1905/1906 Census and Statistics Acts. What they contained was a clause that stated:
    "The Minister shall make and prescribe all rules, regulations, instructions and forms which he deems requisite for the work and business of the office; and such forms, rules, regulations and instructions, and any such tables of rates of remuneration or allowance, as aforesaid, when assented to by the Governor in Council and published in The Canada Gazette, shall have the force of law."
No Census Act actually had a clause regarding "Secrecy" until the Statistics Act (Chapter 43) of 1918. The clause on which Statistics Canada bases their position of non-disclosure of identifiable information from Census is contained in the "Instructions to Commissioners and Enumerators" proclamed by the Governor General in Council and published in the Canada Gazette of Monday 21 May 1906. This clause states:
    "26. Every officer or other person employed in any capacity on census work is required to keep inviolate the secrecy of the information gather by the enumerators and entered in the schedules or forms. An enumerator is not permitted to show his schedules to any other person, nor to make or keep a copy of them, nor to answer any question respecting their content, directly indirectly; and the same obligation of secrecy is imposed to commissioners and other officers or employees of the outside service, as well as upon every officer, clerk or other employee of the Census and Statistics Offices at Ottawa. The facts and statistics of the census may not be used except for statistical compilation, and positive assurance should be given on this point if a fear is entertained by any person that they may be used for taxation or any other object."
Little wonder that we have been unable to find anything in Debates of the House of Commons or the Senate regarding confidentiality or secrecy clauses in the 1905/1906 Census and Statistics Acts. As the Minister of Agriculture made the rules and regulations which were then Proclaimed by the Governor General acting with the advice of the Privy Council, there was no debate in the House of Commons. The elected representatives of the people had no opportunity to debate the issue of confidentiality of individual identifiable Census records - it was not a part of Bill 5 (1905) and as such would not have been subject to debate.




Force of Law re: Census Confidentiality Coincidental

With the wording of the Statute clause, and the Regulation above, confidentiality of individual identifiable records from Census could have been solely the idea of one person - the Honourable Sydney Fisher, Minister of Agriculture in 1905. However, I do not believe this to be the case. In my reading of the 1905 Hansard excerpts for the House of Commons, I am rapidly approaching an opinion that the restrictions in the Regulations regarding individual identifiable records and confidentiality were not a planned action, but rather were a coincidental side effect.

As indicated above I found no mention in the 1905 Debates re: confidentiality of personal identifiable information in Census. The only reference to confidentiality found has been in reference to industrial and manufacturing statistics. These references were not in direct debate about confidentiality but as side issues re: compelling agricultural, manufacturing, and industrial interests to fill out and return forms mailed to them for statistical information. Those involved in these areas would naturally be concerned about the possibility of their competitors having access to current information regarding their operations. ("Current" in this regard seems relative as it appears that at that time it took 7 or 8 years to compile and publish the statistical information gathered in Census.)

The 1905 Bill (No. 5) sought to accomplish a number of things, one of which was to establish a permanent office from which to collect Census and Statistical information. It also sought to amalgamate three Acts from the Revised Statutes of Canada for 1886; Chapter 58 - Census, Chapter 59 - Statistics, and Chapter 60 - Criminal Statistics. Chapters 58 and 59 both contain clauses giving the Minister the authority to make rules, regulations, etc., while Chapter 60 makes no mention of this. The difference between Chapters 58 and 59 is that Chapter 59 - Statistics includes the reference to those rules and regulations having "the force of law" while Chapter 58 - Census does not. My take on this is that confidentiality regarding identifiable individual information in CENSUS was not the same concern as was the fear of those involved in industrial or manufacturing interests that their STATISTICS would be made available to their competition.

The Minister also sought the authority to collect various statistical information throughout the Dominion in years between the decennial Census years. He was proposing that for the most part these statistics would be collected by mailing forms and schedules to those from whom the information was required, rather than using enumerators to personally collect the information. Previous statutes gave the Minister the power of compulsion only for the decennial Census and he wanted that power continuously so that those to whom the forms and schedules had been sent would be required by law to fill out and return them. This was another reason for wanting the "force of law" to apply.

In the amalgamation of these three Acts of 1886, the wording of the clause giving the Minister the authority to make rules and regulations, because of the concerns regarding industrial and manufacturing STATISTICS, included the previous wording of Chapter 59 giving the regulations the "force of law". The confidentiality of CENSUS was therefore coincidentally brought under the same umbrella as was that of STATISTICS.

It is interesting to note that while part of the purpose of Bill 5 (1906) was to amalgamate the separate Chapters 58, 59 and 60 of the 1886 Revised Statues, Chapters 58 and 59 had in fact separated Census and Statistics which had been together in the previous Statute, Chapter 21 (1879).

Chapter 21 (1879) contains two clauses giving the Minister the authority to make rules and regulations (instructions). The first read as follows: (emphasis mine)
    "4. The Minister of Agriculture shall cause all forms, and also all instructions which he shall deem requisite in respect of each census to be duly prepared, printed and issued, for use by the persons to be employed in the taking thereof."
The second clause, under a separate heading of STATISTICS, reads:
    "28. The Minister of Agriculture shall, from time to time, subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, make such rules and regulations, and prescribe such forms as may appear necessary and expedient for the purpose of collecting, abstracting, tabulating and publishing vital, agricultural, commercial, criminal and other statistics; and such rules, regulations and forms, when assented to by the Governor in Council, and published in the Canada Gazette, shall have the force of law so long as they are not repealed or superseded; and any printed copy thereof published by the Queen's Printer shall be evidence thereof."
Chapter 21 (1879), while an Act dealing with both Census and Statistics, obviously viewed the two as separate and apart insofar as having the "force of law" applied.

I do not yet have copies of the Regulations relating to Census prior to 1906 although I have asked Statistics Canada for these, or directions to where they might be found if published in the Canada Gazette. In the Regulations for the Census of 1911 however, in addition to "Clause 23. Secrecy of Census information provided for.", there is a much stronger clause regarding Secrecy under the heading of "MANUFACTURES, SCHEDULE No. 9". This reads as follows:
    "228. Secrecy. The enumerator is sworn to secrecy in the matter of the Census, as are also all persons employed in the revision and compilation of the returns, and the information of the schedule may be used only in the compiling of tables in which the reports for many factories are brought together to make the totals for a district of province; and such totals for an industry will be used under its name only when the factories are three or more in number in a district or larger area. As a further measure of secrecy the stub-end of the schedule containing the name of the owner, firm, company or corporation will be removed and filed away separately from the schedule by the officer in charge of the compilation work as soon as it is received at the Census Office, so that clerks or other persons cannot identify any single return if even they were so disposed."
The reason for the "force of law" here was to ensure as complete as possible statistical information from farming, industrial and manufacturing interests. A similar clause was not found in the Regulations for the 1906 or 1916 Censuses, however these were a Census only of Agriculture in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and did not include schedules for Manufacturing or Industrial interests.

It is interesting to note that in all Statutes prior to 1905, Regulations and instructions pertaining to Statistics were required to be published in the Canada Gazette and by Statue had the "force of law". Regulations and instructions pertaining to Census, while still prepared by the Minister of Agriculture, were not required to be published at all, nor did they have the "force of law".

I believe that with the merging of Chapters 58, 59, and 60 the inclusion of wording giving the Regulations the "force of law" was for the reasons above and never with the conscious intention to prevent release of individual identifiable records in the far future. As with the wording from previous Statutes migrating to this Statute so did the wording of Regulations migrate and the Census, being included in the new Statute got caught by coincidence in that migration.

I have more reading and research to do to verify this but I feel reasonable certain I am correct.




Updated Census petitions now downloadable

Problems with the petitions download page on the Post 1901 Census Project website have been resolved and the updated petitions, including the new one to the Senate, are downloadable. Hotlink to the official Post-1901 Census web site: http://globalgenealogy.com/census

A reminder that all deadlines for petitions have been removed and petitions will be accepted for the foreseeable future. Petitions will be forwarded when reasonable numbers of signatures have been received.

A number of letters have been added to the MP correspondence logs and efforts are being made to keep the Scoreboard up to date.

Readers are invited to join the Canada Census Campaign mail list. Send an email to

Canada-Census-Campaign-L@rootsweb.com

with only the word Subscribe in the subject line and body of the message.

Until next time. Happy Hunting.

Gordon A. WATTS


© GlobalGenealogy.com Inc. 1992-2017
Sign up for our free newsletter!   |   Unsubscribe from our newsletter


















History & Master Roll
Jessup's Loyal Rangers

Loyalists - American Revolution