Supreme Court Denies Sandra Finlay’s Census Appeal

It’s an end for 64-year-old Sandra Finley in her census challenge, as her appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada was officially dismissed on Thursday morning. Finley attempted to fight her conviction under the Statistics Act, which stated that she failed to comply with the 2006 census in Saskatoon. Court has heard that Finley refrained from filling out the census because she feared that her information would be processed using software from U.S. military contractor, Lockheed Martin, while arguing in court that the law making it mandatory to fill out census violates her right to privacy of personal information.

Finlay was charged by the federal government in light of a policy changed in 2010, which made completion of the long-form census voluntary rather than mandatory. During a statement made via a phone call on Thursday morning, Finlay stated that “what I think this means is we don’t have a Charter right to privacy of personal information in Saskatchewan.” In response to the news of Supreme Court dismissing her appeal without costs, she alleged that “the only avenue left then for Canadians to claim the Charter right to privacy of personal information would be through a court action coming up through one of the other provinces.”

Despite being found guilty in January 2011, after her trial in Saskatoon provincial court, Finley was granted an absolute discharge implying that her conviction would not remain on her record. The judge in that case said Finley “is clearly a person of good character who refused to fill in the form on the basis of principle.”

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