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2001 census: Confidentiality

We’ve worked to make sure individual people and households cannot be identified through census information.

We ensured the confidentiality of the 2001 census information by:

  • setting minimum sizes for census results geographies
  • limiting the detail in census results
  • applying record swapping and small cell adjustment

These methods reduced the risk of any disclosure of personal information through census results.

For example, there may be a single retired person living in an area. A search for employment status by health conditions could reveal information about that person’s health.

We dealt with this possibility by swapping a small number of census records before tabulation. Some results were then shown in different output areas from where they were collected.

Where we swap census records, we make sure that statistics are not materially affected. This approach was independently reviewed and endorsed by an external statistician from Statistics Canada.

A small number of tables have been subject to small cell adjustment, where cells containing small numbers were adjusted randomly. These tables are those with output areas as place of work rather than place of residence.

A condition of using census data is that it should not be used to get information about a specific person or household.

Find out about confidentiality in: