Subject: Re: 1911 Canadian Census is now on-line! #general

jan meisels allen <janmallen@...>

Dear Genners:

Nick Landau >from the UK asked "What was the previous situation and what was
the argument for the change?" regarding the release of Canadian Census from
1911 forward. The best place to look up the history of this brouhaha is:
Which is >from the Global Gazette, Canada's Genealogy and Heritage Magazine.

In short, it was the position taken by Statistics Canada (the agency
charged with the responsibility of collecting the census every 5 years) that
no public access would be allowed to individual census records taken after
1901. They refused to transfer the records to the National Archivist to
allow public access after the 92 years passed since collection. Their
position: it was prohibited by law to release individual census records due
to a series of legal opinions based >from 1981-1985 >from Justice Canada. One
clause >from the 1906 Census and Statistics Act assured respondents that
information given could not be used for taxation or other "contemporary"
concerns. Evidently this was a clause that had been in census since 1871
but first time the instructions were taken as "a rule of law".

A full explanation of the legal opinions and why it was determined they
were flawed -- which led to the 5 year legislative battle is explained at
the URL above.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee Chairperson

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