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A large 8x10 14 page farm financial survey package arrived today in the mail.  I have a question and if anyone can give a definitive answer, it would be greatly appreciated.

 

On the front page of the survey it states in a separate boxed area: this survey is conducted under the authority of the Statistics Act, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, c. S-19. Completion of this questionnaire is a legal requirement under the Statistics Act.   (that’s the warning)

 

The questionnaire asks about farm structures, land use, cropland, livestock, ownerships, capital investments, leasing, stocks, GIC’s, bonds, RRSP’s, grants, capital sales, other short-term and long-term assets, outstanding debt and from whom, account payables, borrowing, loans (advance payments) program payouts (hail insurance, rebates, BRM, ASRA, cull breeding, compensations, agri-sweet, others), farm revenue and expenses, marketing contracts, agri-invest, etc.

 

Then on page 13 it asks for financial information for sources other than the farm operation.  It asks about family income… everyone in the household. You must report T1 income, other employment income, commissions, personal investments (outside farm partnerships and corporations), CPP, OAS, Child benefits, Universal child care benefits, lists of assets such as cash, stocks, bonds, RRSP’s, non-farm assets such as vehicles, recreational items, total amount of private family debt, etc.

 

The last page outlines the rules, more or less. Confidentiality, record linkage, data sharing agreements;.... to avoid duplication of enquiry, Statistics Canada has entered into data-sharing agreements with provincial statistical agencies which must keep the data confidential and use
them only for statistical purposes. Statistics Canada will only share data from this survey with those organizations that have demonstrated a requirement to use the data.

 

Section 11 of the Statistics Act provides for the sharing of information with provincial statistical agencies that meet certain conditions.  These agencies must have the legislative authority to collect the same information, on a mandatory basis, and the legislation must provide substantially the same provisions for confidentiality and penalties for disclosure of confidential information as the
Statistic Act.  Because these agencies have the legal authority to compel businesses to provide the same information, consent is not requested and farm operations may not object
to the sharing of their data
.


 

If you read the message this far… you would have the same questions I have…. (Steve, settle down).    Who is the government sharing private information with? On-Trace???? International

data-collection agencies?  Who uses the private financial information of farmers and for what purpose?  Does the Bank Act allow Statistics Canada to breach financial confidentiality?


 

Do farm operations legally have to disclose NON-FARM financial information? Why is the government interested in private house-hold finances of people living on farms?

 

Is the government manipulating farm support programs when collecting private non-farm income?

 

How much information does a farmer have to legally answer in this financial survey?  Can a husband (as an example) provide private information of a non-farming spouse/child without their

consent?   How much information does a farmer legally have to provide and is the survey over-stepping its authority?

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Good questions....I am wondering the same things...

We should have a lawyer and an accountant have a look at it and let everyone know what is required.

If anyone gets some answers, post them here....I will see if I can get some thoughts from some experts.

Joe
Thanks Joe, I would greatly appreciate it.

The definition of "family" in the survey appears inconsistent and skewed. Makes one wonder about the validity of the information collected, manipulated and distributed by unnamed agencies.

The other curiosity of the survey is on page 6... capital sales.

The survey requests information about sales or trade-ins of capital and speaks to land, machinery, breeding stock, stocks, bonds etc...... and asks for capital sales of quota .....separate from other assets.

I find that line extremely curious from a federally mandated survey. The federal government never recognized quota as an asset until recently. The feds believed it was only a "right" without value and not a tangible asset. The province of Ontario placed a value on quota decades ago as it recognized it was a "license" attached to privileges of the soil.

By asking for information about farm quotas, is the federal government recognizing that farmers legally "own" the quota? That would be in direct contradiction to what OFPMC is saying.

Joe Dales said:
Good questions....I am wondering the same things...

We should have a lawyer and an accountant have a look at it and let everyone know what is required.

If anyone gets some answers, post them here....I will see if I can get some thoughts from some experts.

Joe
The phone calls concerning the farm census have started. The man on the other end of the line, recently, was polite unlike a previous person. Living on a farm means working outdoors during sunlight hours and a few calls get missed!

I asked him questions...... (at least he was being paid to answer questions)

Under the Statistics Act, does it require farmers to provide the information without fee? Do farmers have to answer questions for free?

He was very polite and gave an response but did not answer the question. I repeated the question 3 times without him giving me an answer. His common response was that no compensation will be given.

Where in the Statistics Act does it say that we must provide information for free?

I stated that it is unfair that we are freely providing information for agencies to manipulate and I resented the section of the survey about off-farm private financial information especially for members of the house-hold that were not involved with the farm. If I have to answer those questions.... pay me first.

He said farmers can refuse to participate in that section of the survey.

WOW!

After the threatening part about fines and jail terms for refusing to do the census.... they now say that it is OK to refuse parts of the census.

Why is that part not communicated? How many farmers are grudgingly providing private information under penal threat not knowing they have the option to refuse?

The survey states completion of this questionnaire is a legal requirement under the Statistics Act.

Now the government is saying "partial" completion is acceptable.

I never got the chance to ask about the part... "Statistics Canada will only share data from this survey with those organizations that have demonstrated a requirement to use the data."

Who is receiving private financial farm information and for what reasons?......
i really wouldn't care Joann...I have NEVER completed a StatsCan 'mandatory' survey in the past decade or so. Still haven't done time in jail or had the obligatory $500 fine levied against me. I don't trust the buffoons at StatsCan to put together a farm suvey that is relevant in 2010, much less give any trust that the people receiving the data have any clue or idea how to read or deciper it meaningfully anyway. Like really, with the last farm census survey the largest tractor size was 150HP or more...and they wanted to know how many balers on the farm; the type or size was immaterial. StatsCan when it comes to agr, is still living in 1960!! How come the George Brinkmans of the world can have complete and opposite results from the surveys than the mandarins and decision makers that supposedly use the data to determine policy? Are they too obsessed with the rising net worth of farmer bubble and using this time to squander the breathing room given to enact real and meangingful long term agr policy for the province and country??

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