Consent to release personal information

Access to historical census records has been a matter of public discussion for decades and has generated considerable interest from genealogists, historians and archivists.

In 2005, following extensive engagement with Canadians, the Government of Canada amended the Statistics Act to eliminate ambiguities relating to the confidentiality of past census records, while also providing for the release of future census records.

The Government of Canada amended the Statistics Act to allow for the release of historical census records from 1911 to 2001. In addition, information obtained from each census after and including 2021 is to be released to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) 92 years after it was collected (e.g., census records from 2001 will be released in 2093).

For the 2006, 2011 and 2016 censuses, Canadians could choose whether their census records would be released publicly after 92 years. The person who completed the census questionnaire was asked to consult with all household members who were included in the questionnaire before answering the consent question. For more information on how to change or verify your response for the 2006, 2011 or 2016 censuses, refer to Release of personal data after 92 years. Due to an amendment to the Statistics Act (2017), for the 2021 Census, the consent of respondents is no longer required to release census information to LAC 92 years after the census is taken.

LAC is responsible for making census records available. This is consistent with Statistics Canada's commitment to providing open and accessible data. Researchers, historians and genealogists require this information to conduct research and help Canadians better understand their past.

Census records up to and including the 1926 Census are available either online or as microfilm copies through LAC.

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