Law says $500 fine, 3 months’ jail for ignoring Census; last day today

statisticsWednesday, May 11, is officially the final day for filling and submitting your 2016 Canadian Census form online. It is pertinent to note that The Statistics Act of Canada includes a $500 fine or up to three months in prison for refusing to fill out the survey or providing false information.

“We want reliable, good quality data,” Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains told reporters in November 2015, soon after reinstating the long-form census that was scrapped by the Conservatives five years earlier. Asked about the issue of potential penalties for those who don’t participate, Bains would only say that “the law is the law.”

Bains went on to say that a majority of Canadians understand the importance of collecting data and want to participate in the process. Almost 93.5 per cent of the population usually fill out the forms.

Some Canadians have previously refused to comply, but no one has ever been jailed for the offence. However, some have come close. Janet Churnin of Toronto was 79 when she was found guilty in 2014 of violating the Statistics Act for ignoring her census forms, but the judge granted her a conditional discharge, after she agreed to complete 50 hours of community service. Churnin, who faced the possibility of a $500 fine and three months in jail, objected to the fact that U.S. weapons-maker Lockheed Martin that had made the software that Statistics Canada was using.

In the United States, under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, you can be fined up to $100 for refusing to complete a census form and $500 for answering questions falsely.

In the United Kingdom, at least 120 people have been convicted for failing to complete their 2011 census forms, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.- CINEWS

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