Statistics Canada has put the project of obtaining the financial information of 500,000 Canadians “on pause”.
The move comes after the federal Privacy Commissioner began investigating Statistics Canada.
“We take the privacy and confidentiality of Canadians’ information very seriously,” said Peter Frayne, a spokesperson for the agency.
Nine banks were informed by Statistics Canada, that they would be forced to provide the department with its clients’ banking information starting in January.
One of Statistic’s Canada’s leading statisticians, Anil Arora, sent the banks in question a letter retracting that demand.
“Please allow me to clarify this as I have since indicated in my public statement, Statistics Canada is not expecting any personal data from your institution in January 2019,” read the private letter by Arora.
Although the project had not officially started, it was discovered that Statscan had been collecting personal financial information from the credit bureau TransUnion, for more than a year.
“Under the Statistics Act, we provided Statistics Canada with select credit information on consumers to help them efficiently collect information for demographic and economic research,” said David Blumberg, a spokesperson from TransUnion.
According to Statscan the credit bureau’s data collection has also been suspended with further notice.