Canada strongly opposed Statscan's plan to get a banking record of 500,000 households: a poll



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Canada strongly opposes the Canadian Statistics plan to obtain personal banking records – and most will not agree to participate, according to the new Nanos Research survey.

Surveys show that the federal government is on the wrong side of public opinion in its defense of the plan, with 74 percent of respondents opposed, or rather opposed, Statscan accessing the record without permission. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet repeatedly defended this month in the House of Commons in response to criticism from opposition MPs.

The statistics agency has warned in recent years that the traditional survey method has become less reliable because of the reduced level of participation. As a result, he explores new ways to collect data by working with private sector companies.

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The plan quickly shifted from theory to practice in the past few weeks when agencies sent letters to nine Canadian banks telling them that it would force them to submit 500,000 Canadian private banking records in January.

The nine banks – BMO, CIBC, Canadian Western Bank, HSBC, Laurentian Bank, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank and Toronto-Dominion Bank – were caught by surprise. The Canadian Bankers Association expressed concern about the plan and recently said it was considering legal options.

The letters triggered an investigation by the federal Privacy Commissioner, and Statscan said it would not continue until the investigation was completed.

The agency wants banking records to increase the speed and accuracy of its reporting in various fields such as expenditure trends and inflation. He said individual names would be deleted and no identifiable information would be released to the public.

However, the Nanos survey found that 57 percent of Canadians would agree to have their personal banking data shared with Statscan. Only 30 percent said they would agree, while 13 percent said they were unsure. Older Canadians are more likely to oppose the plan.

In response to related questions, 64 percent said protecting privacy of financial data was more important than helping Statscan better understand consumer behavior and trends.

Pollster Nik Nanos said Canada clearly wanted to have control over their personal information.

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"Part of the problem here is the lack of agreement – that there is not even a choice to give consent, at least currently being proposed," he said. "If they want to listen to Canadians, the government must moderate its position. It is clear that most Canadians are uncomfortable with the financial data shared – along with their personal information – by banks to Statistics Canada. "

Chief statistician Anil Arora said the project would not produce high quality data if it only collected banking records of individuals who agreed to participate.

"We know that when you have an agreement or voluntary based model, you make some very significant quality trade-offs, "he told The Globe and Mail in an interview this month.

Mr. Arora compared this problem with the debate about whether compliance with a long census must be mandatory or voluntary: "Because those who say, & # 39; Yes & # 39; and filling out the form doesn't look like those who say, & # 39; No, I won't fill it. & # 39; "

The 1,000 Canadian survey was commissioned by Nanos Research and lasted from November 3-7. A survey of that size is considered accurate in plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

He also found that when it came to protecting their personal financial information, Canada ranked banks ahead of Statistics Canada: Sixty-nine percent said they would trust or rather trust banks to protect their personal information, while 65 percent said the same about agents.

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Canadians even lack trust in credit card companies: Only 47 percent of survey respondents said they would trust or trust them to protect their personal information.

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