Recently we learned that Statistics Canada is planning to launch a program that will collect the personal banking information of Canadians, including every debit card purchase, bill payment, cash withdrawal or deposit, credit card payment, e-transfer, bank account balances, and even their social insurance number. This would be done without their knowledge or consent.
Not only is this information extremely personal, but Canadians have the right to know when it is being accessed, for what purposes, and what protections are in place to secure their private information.
When asked about allowing such an invasive breach of privacy, Justin Trudeau defended the actions of StatsCan. He even insisted that the Privacy Commissioner had been involved. But it was only after media reports on the issue that the Chief Statistician asked the Privacy Commissioner to look into how StatsCan collects and stores this sensitive data. Protecting the personal information of Canadians must be an integral role of the Government.
Unfortunately, we can’t assume that the government is adequately protecting our data. A report on government data breaches from 2016 to 2018 was over 800 pages long, showing that only a few of the breaches that affected thousands of Canadians were ever reported to the Privacy Commissioner.
And earlier this year we learned that during the 2016 Census, StatsCan lost extremely sensitive data on hundreds of Canadians, data that could be used for malicious purposes. Not only did they not inform of the Privacy Commissioner of the breach, but they took no immediate action to inform the affected Canadians.
If you’re as concerned about this intrusion into our privacy as I am, please sign my colleague, MP Larry Miller’s e-petition here: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1924.
Diane Finley, MP