The national statistical agency says it will no longer ask census participants to volunteer their income information.
Rather, it will rely on more precise tax and benefit data for all Canadians, made available to the agency from government records.
The change means the 2016 income information will be the most accurate in the history of the census, chief statistician Wayne Smith said in a statement Monday.
More than 14 million households are expected to participate in the mandatory 2016 census and the voluntary National Household Survey.
In 2006 and 2011, Statistics Canada gave participants the option of skipping income questions and agreeing to give the agency access to their personal income tax information.
In 2016, census respondents will simply be informed that their income information will be retrieved from their personal files, agency spokeswoman Gabrielle Beaudoin said.
Beaudoin said the income data "will be used for statistical purposes only and will be kept strictly confidential," as required under the Statistics Act.
"Strict security measures safeguard the collection, processing and storage of all data," she said, adding that "survey results are used to produce aggregate data in the form of statistical profiles, cross-tabulations and analytical reports."
The survey is designed to measure how society is evolving by providing information on Canadians' occupations, educational attainment, languages spoken, ethnic origin, citizenship and economic health.
Most of the questions to be asked in 2016 are identical to those asked in the 2011 survey, to ensure the information from the two years is comparable.
However, the 2016 survey will not ask participants to identify their religion, a question that is only asked every 10 years.Suggest a correction