LETTER: Reader questions the need for bank records sent to Stats Canada

A Ponoka News reader asks whether Canadians’ rights are being violated

Dear Editor,

I have been hearing that Statistics Canada and the banks have been working for over a year to have the banking records of 500,000 individuals, along with the SIN numbers, transferred to its possession.

It is argued that Stats Canada will be available to provide more current information while the banks have said nothing of this year-long consultation. It is supposed to be by random selection. Will this mean every bank branch will spin a big wheel with your account number and the winner gets to have their information sent to Stats Canada? And the banks are not obligated to tell if you are the big winner.

What will Stats Canada do with this information? They will see one made a credit card payment. But what was purchased? There is something more to this information transfer especially when they want a SIN number.

Canada is built on a “Self Assessment 11 system.” That means the government trusts the citizens to fill out census forms honestly. They trust us to report income honestly to the CRA. And they trust us to pay our taxes honestly. So why the SIN number?

Stats Canada assures us that the SIN number will be protected under our privacy laws. That means, when they talk to other government departments, there will be no paper trail with a SIN number attached. There are a lot of Government employees that will have access to your information and they talk to each other.

I get a little leery when we all know CRA is paid bonuses and incentives to collect taxes. Your records might show that you received an inheritance and deposited the money into the bank. That will sure make CRA suspicious. But your privacy is protected, and you don’t even know the government has your banking records. Be prepared.

So what happens if your privacy is violated?

First you have to prove it to the Privacy Commission, and if founded, then what? Nothing. A check using FOIP can tell the number of founded cases, no name or SIN will be provided, but in each case there will be no compensation from the government for violating your privacy. It is simply wham, bam, thanks. Yet millions are paid out when your human rights are violated.

I thought privacy was a human right. Something is not right here.

We do not live in a 100 per cent pure society, but it appears again that the honest people are going to again bear the burden of those few that abuse the system.

Dennis Chernick

Editor’s note: Statistics Canada has put a hold on the plan to obtain bank records for now.

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