Penalty for Not Filling Out the Mandatory 2011 Census Form in Canada

May 2016 Update in bold below!

This has been a popular topic lately and I previously made a post about it here:

The penalty for not filling out the mandatory Canadian census form is:

“a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars”  or “imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months” or  both.

This comes directly from the Canadian Statistics Act which you can read here. Section 31 (b) is where you want to look.

The new link to the Law is here!  Still Section 31. Full text of the section is:

 Every person who, without lawful excuse,

  • (a) refuses or neglects to answer, or wilfully answers falsely, any question requisite for obtaining any information sought in respect of the objects of this Act or pertinent thereto that has been asked of him by any person employed or deemed to be employed under this Act, or

  • (b) refuses or neglects to furnish any information or to fill in to the best of his knowledge and belief any schedule or form that the person has been required to fill in, and to return the same when and as required of him pursuant to this Act, or knowingly gives false or misleading information or practises any other deception thereunder

is, for every refusal or neglect, or false answer or deception, guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both.

29 thoughts on “Penalty for Not Filling Out the Mandatory 2011 Census Form in Canada”

  1. Private says: “This is utter bullshit. Privacy is no longer relevant on this planet.”

    Counting the population and trying to ascertain something of their demographic is as old as government and is essential to good government. How else does the country know whether to fund more public schools or more nursing homes and where best to put them (just to give one simple example)?

    And registering with the census is not an infringement on privacy in the first place. Besides the fact that there are three distinct acts of Parliament that protects citizens’ privacy, the mandatory portion of the census is less invasive than any one of the many identity checks modern day people submit to on a regular basis. If you can’t stand up and be counted, you probably don’t deserve to be heard.

  2. More BS. If the information was not an invasion of privacy, then it would be anonymous. It isn’t anonymous because the Census Nazis harass those who don’t fill out the forms. Also, the only information required should be gender and age – nothing else is relevant. Anything else is an invasion of privacy.

  3. I love hearing sheep say how this kind of shit is a must do.. Government is crooked and not good, so don’t talk about what good governments do, we have never seen one to date.
    The fact its a law is complete bullshit, if people don’t want to say how they feel about things they don’t have to.. It’s called the power of free will and just because some corrupt nazi scum said this or that is a law means SQUAT to someone who lives truly free.

  4. The fact that you have resorted to cursing throughout your response truly demonstrates your intelligence and education

  5. The Canadian census says complete this census or we’ll throw you into prison and/or stick you with a huge fine.
    “Canada, strong and free”—only the spineless and ignorant can really believe that. What a joke.

  6. Miss double barreled name is sheep. People are angry with all levels of govt. Only fools cannot see the hogs at the troth. Meanwhile, i can’t wait until 2014, when ill be making what i made in2000, all due to replacement workers being allowed. Maybe I could just get two$15/hr jobs like most average people. Harper wants superprisons
    ..even that bully can see the social fabric unraveling. We are devolving socially.

  7. i just filled out the canadian census. i agree that it should not be mandatory, that there should be no fines or imprisonment term for not filling out information that is your own to give or withhold. i chose to tell them my information… like they don’t already have it anyway. I don’t trust government myself, i suppose I was sick of the badgering by the government to “fill the census out” and recieving their repeated mail to my mailbox about census and “its the law, fill it out”. If the government wants to take away my control i’m buying a gun and leaving the city life behind. maybe i’ll live in the forest like robin hood and confront rich government officials when they pass by?

  8. Jesus’ family went to Nazareth for the census in Rome’s day. To say census is old is a true statement.

  9. honestly if you have to resort to bitching about filling out a form that asks a few simple questions you need a life. they have the census for multiple reasons. where to put schools hospitals, where more funding is needed. i Bet you expect those hospitals, etc.. to be there and quick when your sick. really if this is your problem in life you have it easy be happy.. but i bet your just one of those people that bitch and argue about everything.

  10. Baaahhhhh,,,,, Baaaahhh ,,,, Brendan,,,, The Government LOVES zombies like you. Shouldn’t you be filling out your tax cheque,, I know I did,,, it’s part of My Life,,,oh ,and I was at one of those hospitals a couple weeks ago,,,, for 12 hours,,, sent home with a wing and a prayer and no answers. And a Bill for my trouble.
    And john,,,,,, bringing “jesus” into it,,,REALLY?????
    The government already has this info on the TAX FORMS we all fill out to pay for those Hospitals and the Hundreds of Billions the Conservatives send to Other countries Every year.

  11. for 30 years I’ve been of legal age. I’ve never fillede out a census form nor have I ever been sent one or asked to fill one out. I’ve recently moved into a very upscale area (and very snobby) and now I’m getting some guy coming to my door every week??? WTF……all this tells me is that the gov seems to cater to the rich. I wish they would have put this kind of effort forward while my spouse was in desperate need of medical help. I guess they are too busy helping themselves out and all the households with 12 immigrants all collecting welfare……I bet it won’t be long before we see a canadian version of Timothy McVeigh. I do not agree with that sort of violence but this system is bringing it upon themselves. Bye bye canada….you’ve done nothing for me or my dead spouse

  12. I get them to my door repeatedly through the week… been 2 days in a row so far….

    Her – Sir, it’s the law that you answer this. The gov’t already has the info what’s the big deal now?

    Me – Ok, then get the info from that branch of the Gov’t.

    Her – Privacy act prevents us…

    Me – Well privacy act says I don’t have to volunteer anymore than I want. You will get gender/age/language. That’s all you NEED…

    I also informed her of how easy it is to create and identity with just a name and birthdate… She tried to tell me that they are sworn to confidentiality.. yeah right… That’s like saying the same RCMP officer that will be “coming to my door” doesn’t smoke pot, or doesn’t drink and drive.

    Pure shenanigans.

  13. Statistics- may give the government easy information on how to spend there (our money) but this information is already in the system and can easily be retreived by government officials ( Income tax).
    this is just another way of the government to keep a watchful eye on everyone.

    case in point: a community farmer filled out his farming census , sent it away. 3 days later cops were at his door demanding to go through his fields ( it’s June, wet rainy season) because they were notified he was growing illegal hemp . ( something he put ONLY on his census, as a joke because he didn’t want to fill it out.) The police after a minute talking with him, laughed as this information,” though PRIVATE and CONFIDENTIAL”, just cost the tax payers . PS. he didn’t have hemp or any other (illegal) drug growing. no crops were planted yet.
    NOTHING IS PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL- govenment uses what they want, when they want, and everyone is a criminal.
    you as a human being can revoke consent to all acts, statues, laws and by-laws- these census, do not apply to self governed humans. Everyone has been fooled to believe we need to do as the government, laws says or we are criminals. Canadians need to stand up and self govern themselves, do you due diligence. Our land of the free! Freedom of Speech!

  14. Sorry but I am not filling out some general type of questionnaire with my information when there are other departments of the government with all this information readily available for use. To threaten me under duress of persecution by law to fill out this questionnaire is a violation of my rights and freedoms and also my right to privacy.
    Census department was created in the early 1900’s at a time when there were no computers and databases or methods of easily obtaining information. This antiquated department of the government needs to be dissolved and the budget money poured into programs that are actually relevant to the needs of the Canadian citizens.

  15. I have to admit I had a little giggle when I read this thread. The reason Statistics Canada doesn’t use your tax form, SIN info, property tax info, etc. is because they are not allowed to – gathering ALL your personal information together IS an infringement of your privacy. Each ‘nugget’ of information the government has pertaining to YOU is kept in each separate department (the government isn’t housed under one roof!) Those gov’t people harassing you to fill in your form are summer students trying to make some coin to get through school with just a name & a number – that is it. If you are truly worried about your personal privacy, you should worry about the internet, the sites you visit, etc. – because THAT is information that IS being accumulated, privately – and sold to the highest bidder. I can guarantee you – that these privately held companies will NOT be building a school, community centre, health clinic, library, etc. in your neighbourhood based on the information they gain from you. Just sayin’.

  16. Just had a lady buzz me this morning informing me that I could be fined $1000.00 for not giving her my info.Yes,this is utter bullshit! I don’t care for their harassing tactics.Anybody been fined willing to share their story?I mean if you are evading your taxes that’s a different story.I really feel strongly against this.

  17. No one has been fined. The lady who buzzed you was a summer student who obviously wasn’t trained correctly. I mean really, do you not think that if someone was actually fined the media would have made a story out of it? If you you feel strongly – then tell the caller that you wish to officially refuse to complete. You may get one or two more calls and then you will most likely be left alone. Seriously, there are bigger fish to fry and a whole lot more injustices in our world/society/country — to get pissed at!

  18. Hi,
    Why are people so hate the government so much? When we need assistance, doesnt the government of Canada help us? What about the health care… dont we all depend on the government to have a strong economy? And dont they defend us against threats? I am just saying if we cant help them by simply filling up a census then I guess we should not be complaining about the things they are not doing for us because we didnt tell them. they are not mind readers. They have to have facts.

    Just a thought.

  19. The gov’t is out of control. The take and take and use our money to get more power over us. Try getting decent medical care, try getting anything in this country. Our taxes go up and up and up, politicians are living high on the hog, and the rest of us are paying for it. The census is just another useless gov’t dept. which exists in order to give more power to the gov’t, and make the gov’t bigger and scarier. And anyone who believes – who STILL believes – that anything the gov’t does or collects about you is “confidential” is a complete moron and obviously has never read the news reports about computers / disks that have been found thrown in the trash, etc., containing reams of “confidential” info on the citizens.

    Canada becomes more Orwellian by the second. Don’t give up your rights.

    “In a democratic and free society, the state does not maintain detailed records on citizens … people have fought hard, and in some cases given their lives, so that we can have a properly functioning democracy.”


    The federal government sparked fury among statisticians and researchers last summer when Industry Minister Tony Clement removed the penalties for not completing the census.”

  20. It could be said: “If you pay a woman for fornication it is unlawful and is called prostitution, but, if you pay a woman for fornication and VIDEO TAPE IT and let the public watch it, it is lawful and is called pornography. Since when does videotaping a crime make it lawful?”

    So please excuse me if I laugh when I hear “Fill out the census form, its the Law!”, What a random bunch of made up laws by those who are not qualified to make them.

  21. This law is in place to protect the people from their own laziness. How many people do you know who vote? How many know or care about anything that our government has been up to lately? Without someone knocking on our doors, sitting us down and telling us to complete a mandatory (and non-invasive) survey, how many people do YOU think will go online to complete it? Yes, this census is government research into the lives of its citizens. It provides evidence that will be used to make important decisions that affect our entire country; so why shouldn’t everyone be included? And for all you panicking about being asked simple questions “How old are you?”, “How many people live in your household?”, “How many languages do you speak?”, “What is the net income of your household?”… what have you got to hide? But rest assured, the census is no longer mandatory. You have never been required to answer every question in the survey, and while this law used to exist, it was NOT enforced.

  22. All the info gathered by the 2011 census was done by Lougheed Martin. The Canadian government paid them 80 + million dollars because they apparently have the software to accomplish this. Not only does our government put it’s own Stats Can people out of work they get a company that manufactures weapons of mass destruction to do it. If you think that your information is kept confidential like they say it will be kept, think again. Because of The Patriot Act that was underhandedly slapped on the American people after 911 no ones info is confidential. The Patriot Act allows the American government to request any and all info from companies in the States for ‘terrorist’ reasons. After all Canada is the 51st state… right?

  23. This is an invasion of privacy.

    The government can ask you most all of these questions without knowing your name, SIN, and address…….

    that is if they were honestly only interested in the general data and not YOU.

  24. They have all the census they need through income taxation, social security numbers, drivers licenses, social welfare, pensioners etc.. They know who lives where and how many. The census is bullshit and a direct violation of the Canadian constitution. Apparently we have this:Search or seizure

    8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

    Whether they actually follow it or not is another issue altogether since we are all corporate legal fictions under unviserl codices and statues they can pretty much take liberties away at the discretion of a judge.

    Then you have to step up your game and go full sovereign and demand god given rights, inalienable rights that no man can take away unless you cause harm or adversely affect your peers in some way.

    But back to the real point, they don’t need any of this information they ask for to allocate funds anywhere. Each municipality has census records, tax records, population counts etc.. Any information they ask beyond that is is a direct violation to your right to be secure in your person and property.

    I bet 90% of you have no idea we have a constitution..

  25. I write this letter in the knowledge that you consider the information requested in your current census form as vital for purposes, which are of little interest or value to me personally whereas my right to privacy is of utmost importance to me.

    I respectfully request to be excused from your request for me to provide information, which I regard as an intrusion into my personal and private life. Due to a long career as a management consultant I am very aware of the overabundance of detailed information that is available on individuals the fact of which I find highly objectionable.

    However my request to be excused from the current census is based on three important and non-personal reasons:

    1. I insist on claiming my right to privacy according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. By abdicating my Charter Rights to privacy I not only abandon my personal rights but I also abandon the right of every other Canadian to claim their right to privacy. This is not something that I take lightly as I sincerely believe abdication of this right is the beginning of absolute governmental control of the lives of it’s citizens.
    It is my clear and unequivocal opinion that my right to privacy supersedes any need on the part of government to manage its affairs and your request for personal information, accompanied as it was with a threat of legal action, contravenes that right.

    2. I am not alone in my profound concern over the choice of supplier for the software support made by Treasure Board. Apart from the fact the choice is part of the industrial military complex of a foreign country, I believe at some point the database that you claim to be secure will be hacked. Are you willing to give me your personal guarantee that Statistics Canada will not be compromised in any way? What price will come directly from you or your pocket if it is? Are you willing to come to my door and apologize to me or will there even be an apology.

    Highly competent organizations such as the US Pentagon, Sony Corp., Google, Federal Governmental Departments etc., etc., the list is extensive, have all been the victim of Internet hackers. So what then does it mean when the information provided by your department states that only authorized personnel will have access to the data? In truth it is unlikely that you or anyone else can give absolute assurance that Stats Can will never experience an intrusion of this nature. To my way of thinking question isn’t IF you are going to be hacked it’s when.

    I would ask you to consider the following statement from the one of our few trusted civil servants, Jennifer Stoddard, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner. In her “Message from the Privacy Commissioner” she writes; “Technological advances hold out the promise of greater convenience, but sometimes at a cost to human rights such as privacy and the ability to control our personal information. Meanwhile, governments and businesses have a seemingly insatiable appetite for personal information. Governments appear to believe – mistakenly, I would argue – that the key to national security and public safety is collecting mountains of personal data. Privacy often receives short shrift as new anti-terrorism and law enforcement initiatives are rolled out.” Her comments are vitally important to those of us that choose to resist this constant intrusion into our personal lives, of which Stats Can is a participant.

    3. In addition, Stats Canada has received over $10,000,000+, for information since 1996 from information that it has received through the collection of census data which is repackaged and sold. Your department claims that no individual or personal information is sold but it is combined into consolidated statistical information that is sold; however I would like to point out to you that my information is a part of that consolidation for which Stats Canada is receiving money. I therefore insist that a part of the monies received by Statistics Canada is rightfully mine. If I am to be forced to provide data that is then sold to others it is only reasonable and just that I be compensated for that contribution.

    As stated at the beginning of this letter I am a very private person and I more than strongly object to the way that information regarding the personal lives of individuals, including myself, are so disrespectfully collected and utilized for purposes that others profit by. It is of little wonder that there is growing mistrust of all levels of government not the least of which Statistics Canada. Finally I would like to point out that the self-serving admonition on the outside of the envelope that “It’s the law” is a poorly masked threat and I doubt anyone takes kindly to threats.

    I realize you believe in the importance of statistical information and the value of that data and it is quite likely that you cannot conceive of anything more important than the statistics you desire but much more important than your need for data is my need for privacy. Therefore, I will not, under any circumstances, respond to your request to provide private information regarding my personal life. I respectfully decline to participate in the current or any other census taking from Stats Canada.

  26. When will our government (yes, I said OUR) going to realise that WE, THE PEOPLE, are THEIR EMPLOYERS. As such, WE must not allow OUR EMPLOYEES to DICTATE to us. In any organisation, be it a tiny restaurant or a multi-national corporation, if an employee does not measure up, indeed messes up (ie. theft or nor doing as expected, said employee is terminated).

    Slowly but surely, the brain-washing has continued to the point where we have become apathetic, and follow along like sheep to the slaughter, complaining but certainly not pro-active.

    I recall when the GST was about to be introduced (forced on us), a referendum was put in place. The large grocery stores were set up for folks to line up (sometimes for hours, hundreds in each) to check off the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box. I doubt there were many affirmatives!!! I often wondered why businesses didn’t simply refused to charge their clientele the tax. The govt. could not very well jail everyone (btw thieves also live in gated communities!). Somewhere along the way the sales tax was renamed the ‘Harmonised Sales Tax!! Yet, I have not heard anyone whistling a happy tune about that cutesy “tone deaf’ cheatin’ song!

    Well guess our employees had better dip into our funds and START BUILDING ,,, not schools but PRISONS, in which to house and punish those (many?) of us who object to our EMOLOYEES’ cracking the whip.

    And just when will our employees submit to us their income tax info. each year??



    Five years ago our nearby Foodland was closed in order to build an impressive 10-12 storey condo/new store smack downtown; convenient for so many who live in the area, including myself. This was to be completed in 2 yrs. That was 5 yrs. ago, the whole thing came to a screeching halt due to shady business dealings, and to this day its skeletal structure looms, an eye sore never completed and I have spent a small fortune on cab fare to take care of business. NICE GOING, CITY COUNCILORS. STATS CANADA, COME ON NOW, FOCUS! YOU QUITE SIMPLY NEED TO GATHER YOUR INFO. FROM OUR CITY(S) HALL MEETINGS AND THE RESULTANT INFO GATHERED THERE WITH REGARD TO COMMUNITY NEEDS.

Please type what you think and why.