Canada Parliament Enacts Law That Removes Restrictions on Access to Census After 92 Years

The following was first posted by Gail Dever on her blog, Genealogy à la carte, then forwarded by the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

The Canadian Parliament enacted legislation, C-36, amending the Statistics Act. It received Royal Assent on December 12, 2017, making it law.

Provisions that are of interest to genealogists include:

  • Transfer of census records to the Library and Archives Canada 92 years from when the census was taken.
  • This will apply to all censuses conducted from 2021 onwards
  • For censuses taken in 2006, 2011, and 2016 and for the 2011 National Household Survey, the government will honor the rules set at the time and records will be released where consent has been given.


In 2005 the Statistics Act was amended to require Canadians the choice to decide whether they wanted their census records released after 92 years starting with the 2006 census an “opt in” provision. If they answered “no” or left the question blank,( that was considered a NO) then their personal information would remain confidential in perpetuity. The 2005 legislation also required a full review and study by a parliamentary committee to assess the impact of this consent-based approach on the research integrity of the census after the 2011 census and two years before that for 2016.

In 2006 only 55%; in2011 66 % and in 2016 81% agreed to eventual access of their census information. That was recognized as a long-term damage to the census being used for statistically valid record of the Canadian population.

Genealogists under took an email campaign opposing this amendment. Genealogists again showed they can “win” if they work together!

To read the new law see:

One Comment

How can we Americans access these records?


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