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RSNL1990 CHAPTER S-24

STATISTICS AGENCY ACT

Amended:

2001 cN-3.1 s2

CHAPTER S-24

AN ACT RESPECTING THE NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR STATISTICS AGENCY

2001 cN-3.1 s2

Analysis



Short title

        1. This Act may be cited as the Statistics Agency Act.

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Definitions

        2. In this Act

             (a)  "agency" means the Statistics Agency;

             (b)  "department" includes a department, board, commission or agency of the government of the province;

             (c)  "director" means the Director of Statistics appointed under this Act;

             (d)  "minister" means the member of the Executive Council charged by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council with the administration of this Act;

             (e)  "person" includes a department; and

              (f)  "respondent" means a person in respect of whom or in respect of whose activities a report or information is sought or provided under this Act.

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Statistics Agency

        3. (1) The Statistics Agency is continued.

             (2)  The purposes of the agency are to plan, promote, develop and integrate social and economic statistics relevant to this province.

             (3)  The agency forms a part of the department over which the minister presides.

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Powers of agency

        4. The agency may

             (a)  collect, compile, analyze, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and conditions of the province and persons in the province;

             (b)  collaborate with and help and advise departments in and co-ordinate the collection, compilation and publication of, statistical information, including statistics derived from the activities of departments;

             (c)  establish appropriate standards, systems and procedures for the collection of information by departments; and

             (d)  represent the province on statistical matters.

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Employment of staff

        5. (1) The agency, with the consent of the minister, may employ the clerical, technical, professional and other staff that may be required for the purposes of the agency, and the staff shall be appointed in the manner authorized by law.

             (2)  A person employed by the agency under subsection (1) may be appointed as a contractual employee, employee, part-time employee or temporary employee; and for the purpose of this subsection "contractual employee", "employee", "part-time employee" and "temporary employee", have the respective meanings given to them in section 2 of the Public Service Commission Act.

             (3)  The agency, with the consent of the minister, may use the services of an employee in the public service to further its purposes and a public employee whose services are so used shall for the purposes of this Act, be considered to be a person employed by the agency.

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Contract service

        6. (1) The agency, with the consent of the minister, may retain a person under contract to perform special services for the agency, and an agent of that person used in connection with the performance of the special services shall, for the purposes of this Act, be considered to be an employee of the agency.

             (2)  Where the person retained under subsection (1) is a corporation, the chief executive officer and those other officers, employees and agents of the corporation that are used in connection with the performance of the special services shall, for the purposes of this Act, be considered to be persons employed by the agency.

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Director of Statistics

        7. (1) The minister shall appoint a person to be known as the Director of Statistics.

             (2)  The director shall be the chief executive officer and manager of the agency and shall

             (a)  advise the minister on matters relating to the agency;

             (b)  advise and help departments with statistical matters, projects and programs; and

             (c)  under the direction of the minister, supervise the administration of this Act and matters arising under the Act.

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Rules and forms

        8. The director may prescribe those rules, instructions, schedules and forms that may be necessary for the purposes of the agency and for the collecting, compiling and publishing of statistics and other information.

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Oath or affirmation of secrecy

        9. (1) The director, and a person employed by the agency shall, before entering upon his or her duties, take and sign an oath or affirmation in the following form:

                                "I, (A.B.), solemnly swear (or solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm) that I will faithfully, truly and impartially to the best of my knowledge, skill and ability, and in accordance with theStatistics Agency Act and rules and instructions under that Act, perform my duties as an employee of the Statistics Agency and shall not disclose to a person other than a person authorized under this Act information or another matter or thing that comes to my knowledge because of my employment." (Where an oath is taken, add "So help me God".).

             (2)  The oath or affirmation referred to in subsection (1) shall be taken before a person authorized to administer an oath or affirmation within the province and shall be recorded in the manner directed by the minister.

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Discrimination prohibited

     10. (1) The agency shall not discriminate between individuals, or individual companies, businesses or organizations, to the prejudice of an individual or an individual company, business or organization.

             (2)  The minister may authorize the use of sampling methods.

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Access to records

     11. A person having the custody or charge of documents or records

             (a)  that are maintained in a department or in a municipal office, company, business or organization; and

             (b)  from which information sought in respect of the objects of this Act can be obtained,

shall grant access to the documents or records to the director or a person authorized by the director.

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Evidence of appointment

     12. A document purporting to be signed by the minister or the director that refers to the appointment or removal of, or that sets out instructions to, a person employed for the purposes of the agency under this Act, is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof of the appointment, removal or instructions and that the document was signed and addressed as it purports to be.

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Disclosure of information

     13. (1) Except for the purposes of communicating information in accordance with the conditions of an agreement made under section 14 or 15 and except for the purposes of a prosecution under this Act,

             (a)  a person other than the director or a person employed by the agency and sworn or affirmed under section 9 shall not be permitted to examine an identifiable individual return made for the purpose of this Act;

             (b)  a person who has been sworn or affirmed under section 9 shall not disclose to a person other than a person employed by the agency and sworn or affirmed under section 9, information obtained under this Act that can be identified with or related to an individual, person, company, business or association.

             (2)  The director may authorize the following information to be disclosed:

             (a)  information collected by persons, organizations or departments for their own purpose and communicated to the agency, but that information when communicated to the agency shall be subject to the same secrecy requirements to which it was subject when collected and may only be disclosed by the agency in the manner and to the extent agreed upon by the collector of the information and the director;

             (b)  information relating to a person or organization in respect of which disclosure is consented to in writing by the person or organization concerned;

             (c)  information relating to a business in respect of which disclosure is consented to in writing by the owner of the business;

             (d)  information available to the public under another law;

             (e)  information in the form of an index or list of

                      (i)  the names and locations of individual establishments, firms or businesses,

                     (ii)  the products produced, manufactured, processed, transported, stored, purchased or sold, or the services provided by individual establishments, firms or businesses in the course of their business, and

                    (iii)  the names and addresses of individual establishments, firms or businesses that are within specific ranges of numbers of employees or persons constituting the work force.

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Agreement with other jurisdictions

     14. (1) The minister, with the consent of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, may enter into an agreement with the Government of Canada or the government of a province of Canada for the exchange with, or transmission to a statistical agency of Canada or of that province

             (a)  replies to specific statistical inquiries;

             (b)  replies to specific classes of information collected under this Act; and

             (c)  tabulations and analyses based on replies referred to in paragraph (a) or (b).

             (2)  An agreement with Canada or a province for the purposes of this section applies only in respect of a statistical agency of Canada or a province

             (a)  that has statutory authority to collect information substantially the same as the information that is intended to be exchanged or transmitted under agreement from a respondent who is subject to statutory penalties for refusing or neglecting to provide information to the statistical agency or for falsifying information provided by him or her to the statistical agency;

             (b)  that is prohibited by law from disclosing information of a kind that the agency established under this Act and its employees would be prohibited from disclosing under section 13, if the information were provided to the agency; and

             (c)  whose officers and employees are subject to statutory penalties for the disclosing of information of the kind described in paragraph (b), subject to exceptions authorized by law that are substantially the same as those provided under section 13.

             (3)  Except in respect of information described in subsection 13(2), an agreement entered into under this section does not apply to a reply made to or information collected by the agency before the date that the agreement was entered into or is to have effect, whichever is the later date.

             (4)  Where information, in respect of which an agreement under this section applies, is collected by the agency, the agency shall, when collecting the information, advise the respondent of the name of a statistical agency to which the information received from the respondent may be communicated under that agreement.

             (5)  An agreement made under this section shall provide that information exchanged or transmitted under the agreement shall be subject to the secrecy requirements to which it was subject when collected.

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Other agreements

     15. (1) The minister may enter into an agreement with a department, municipal or other corporation for the exchange of information collected jointly with that department or corporation and for subsequent tabulation or publication based on that information.

             (2)  An agreement under subsection (1) shall provide that

             (a)  the respondent will be informed that the information is being collected jointly on behalf of the agency and the department or corporation by a notice to that effect; and

             (b)  the agreement does not apply in respect of a respondent who gives written notice to the director that he or she objects to the sharing of information between the agency and the department or corporation.

             (3)  An exchange of information under an agreement under this section may, subject to subsection (2), include replies to original inquiries and supplementary information provided by a respondent to the agency and the department or corporation jointly collecting this information.

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Offences of officials

     16. A person who, after taking the oath or affirmation set out in subsection 9(1)

             (a)  in the performance of his or her duties wilfully makes a false declaration, statement or return;

             (b)  in the pretended performance of his or her duties, obtains or seeks to obtain information that he or she is not authorized to obtain; or

             (c)  contravenes subsection 13(1),

is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 and in default of payment of the fine, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or to both a fine and imprisonment.

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Offences of respondents

     17. A person who, without lawful excuse,

             (a)  refuses or neglects to answer, or wilfully answers falsely, a question necessary for obtaining information sought for the purposes of the agency or pertinent to the agency;

             (b)  refuses or neglects to provide information, or to complete to the best of his or her knowledge and belief a schedule or form that he or she has been required to complete, and to return the schedule or form when required of him or her under this Act; or

             (c)  knowingly gives false or misleading information or practises another deception,

is, for every refusal, neglect, false answer, false or misleading information or deception, guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding $500 and in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months, or to both a fine and imprisonment.

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Obstructing offences

     18. A person

             (a)  who, having the custody or charge or documents or records that are maintained in a department or in a municipal office, company, business or organization, and from which information sought in respect of the objects of this Act can be obtained refuses or neglects to grant access to the documents or records to a person authorized for the purpose by the director; or

             (b)  who otherwise wilfully obstructs or seeks to obstruct a person employed in the execution of a duty under this Act,

is, in respect of every refusal, neglect or obstruction, guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 and in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both a fine and imprisonment.

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Wrongful disclosure of information

     19. A person who, after taking the oath or affirmation set out in subsection 9(1),

             (a)  wilfully discloses to a person not authorized under this Act to receive the disclosure, information obtained by him or her by his or her employment by the agency that might exert an influence upon or affect the market value of a stock, bond or other security or a product or article; or

             (b)  uses that information for his or her own gain or advantage or expected gain or advantage,

is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both a fine and imprisonment.

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Improper disclosure

     20. A person who influences, or tries to influence, the director or a person sworn under this Act, to make an improper disclosure of information obtained under this Act is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 and in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both a fine and imprisonment.

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False representation

     21. A person who falsely represents himself or herself to be making an inquiry under the authority of this Act, or of the minister or director, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both a fine and imprisonment.

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