Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Report of the committee

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

TWENTY-FIRST REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Statistics Act, has, in obedience to the order of reference of November 9, 2017, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Your committee has also made certain observations which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

ART EGGLETON

Chair

OBSERVATIONS
to the 21st Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs Science and Technology (Bill C-36)

During the committee’s hearings on Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Statistics Act, many witnesses expressed concern regarding the appointment process of the Chief Statistician.

These concerns included the term of the Chief Statistician being renewable, the lack of Parliamentary approval and the absence of a search committee.

Therefore, the committee urges the government to consider using tools including Executive Search Committees or Parliamentary approval to ensure the Chief Statistician is a non-partisan appointment who is independent from the government.

As well, in consideration of the proposed legislative change that removes the consent requirement for the release of census records to Library and Archives Canada after 92 years, the committee calls upon the Chief Statistician of Canada to explore all options to encourage Canadians to consent to the release of information for the 2006, 2011 and 2016 censuses and national householder surveys.

Statistics Canada should, before the upcoming census, highlight to Canadians the historical value of census records for future generations.

Finally, the committee would like to suggest that proposed new section 18.1(2) does not appear to reflect the current practice at Statistics Canada of allowing responders to provide consent after the fact, a practice this committee would like to see continue.