Student Census 2021

Notice of Collection of Personal Information

  • To comply with the Anti-Racism Act in s.7(2), the WCDSB is required to conduct a Student Census with the goal of eliminating systemic racism and advancing racial equity.
  • The authority to collect personal information in the Student Census comes from the Anti-Racism Act (ARA s.6(5)), and the Education Act (265(1)(d), 169.1(1)) in accordance with Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA s.28(2)).
  • Personal information collected in the Student Census will be combined with personal information already held by the Board in our student information system.
  • The types of information already collected under the Education Act include student achievement, credit accumulation, graduation rate, suspensions/expulsions, special education services, and academic/extra-curricular program participation. The purpose for combining Student Census and existing personal data already collected is to meet the requirements of the Anti-Racism Act, which includes research and longitudinal study.
  • No program, service or benefit may be withheld because a student does not participate, or refuses to participate, in the WCDSB Student Census.
  • Individuals may request access to, or correction of personal information collected in the Student Census that relates to them. Consent may be withdrawn for further use of your personal information, but withdrawal will not result in changes to analysis and reporting that has already been completed as part of the Student Census activity.
  • If you have questions about the personal information collected in the Student Census, please contact the WCDSB Research Coordinator (WCDSBResearch@wcdsb.ca) or the WCDSB Privacy Records and Information Management Officer (privacy@wcdsb.ca).

Why are we launching a Student Census at WCDSB?

The Student Census is an online survey that collects data specifically related to self-identity, demographics, and experiences at school.  The Student Census includes questions about Indigenous identity, ethnic/cultural background, racial identity, citizenship status, religious/spiritual affiliation, gender at birth/identity, sexual orientation, (dis)abilities, household characteristics, and school experiences.

We are authorized to collect personal information from students by the Anti-Racism Act (ARA s.6(2)), Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA s.28(2)), and the Education Act (265(1)(d), 169.1(1)).  Our process has been developed in accordance with the guidance and legislation provided by the Ministry of Education, the Anti-Racism Directorate, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. No program, service or benefit may be withheld because a student does not participate, or refuses to participate, in the WCDSB Student Census.

The role of the WCDSB is to support the census process for students and to make the best use of the information that is gathered. This is an opportunity for us to learn more about the students we support and help us to identify differences and gaps in our students’ experiences and outcomes, based on their diverse needs.

If you have questions or comments about the WCDSB Student Census, please contact your school administrator or the WCDSB Privacy Records and Information Management Officer at privacy@wcdsb.ca .

What is the Student Census?

The purpose of the WCDSB Student Census is to eliminate systemic racism and advance racial equity in the WCDSB as authorized by the Anti-Racism Act in s.7(2).  The WCDSB Student Census is a confidential and voluntary survey for all students from Grades 4 to 12 that students will complete with their classroom teacher during class time.  The results and analysis of the census will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of students within the WCDSB and of the cultural, social and demographic makeup of our students.  No program, service or benefit may be withheld because a student does not participate, or refuses to participate, in the WCDSB Student Census.

If you have questions or comments about the WCDSB Student Census, please contact your school administrator.

Who will be able to see the Student Census Data?

By law, the WCDSB must protect the privacy and personal information of students.  The WCDSB Student Census follows all provincial freedom of information and privacy laws and the requirements of the Anti-Racism Act.  Only a few WCDSB staff (i.e., Research & Data Services) WILL have access to your answers, but only to do research.  Teachers, principals, and other school board staff WILL NOT see your answers.

Student Census Preview

WCDSB Student Equity Census 2021

What additional information is collected about students at the WCDSB?

Additional information about students is collected and stored as the Board has a responsibility for student achievement and effective stewardship of resources under the Education Act (265(1)(d), 169.1(1)).  Information about students is used regularly for the purpose of improvement planning at the Board and School levels (e.g., School/Board Improvement, Programming, etc.) and includes some of the following student record data: student achievement, credit accumulation, graduation rate, suspensions/expulsions, special education services, and academic/extra-curricular program participation.

If you have questions about additional information that is collected about students by the WCDSB, please contact your school administrator.

Will other information be combined with the results of the Student Census?

The Anti-Racism Act s.6(2) authorizes and requires the WCDSB to link Student Census responses to additional student record data (i.e., student achievement, credit accumulation, graduation rate, suspensions/expulsions, special education services, and academic/extra-curricular program participation) “to identify and monitor systemic racism and racial disparities for the purpose of eliminating systemic racism and advancing racial equity”.  When a student participates in the student census, additional student record data will be linked to complete the required analysis.  Only members of the Research & Data Services Department employees who require access for the purposes of data linking will be able to see the Student Census identity data in a form that is attached to a student’s email.

If you have general questions about the WCDSB Student Census, please contact your school administrator.

What if my child has a cognitive or physical challenge?  Can my child still participate in the Student Census?

Yes. If your child (the student) has a cognitive or physical challenge and is unable to participate directly in the Student Census, the parent/guardian should contact your school administrator to plan for another person (i.e., parent/guardian) to complete the Student Census on behalf of the student.

If you have questions or comments about the WCDSB Student Census, please contact your school administrator.

What if I do not want my child(ren) to participate?

The WCDSB Students Census is voluntary. Any student may choose not to participate, to stop participating, or to skip a question at any time. Additionally, parents/guardians of students under 18 years of age can ask that their child be exempt from participating in the census. As part of our communication campaign, information has been distributed electronically by school Newswire, on our website, and on social media.  For more information on the purpose of the WCDSB Student Census and its procedures and timelines, please visit our Student Census webpage.

There are two ways for parents/guardians to request an exemption for their child:

  1. Online: You may ask for an exemption electronically by completing this online form: https://wcdsb.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8djwRNmlmOox9nE
  2. Contact your child’s school: You may ask for an exemption by contacting your child’s teacher or school administrator (by phone or by email). WCDSB’s Research & Data Services Department will communicate with schools to ensure that the parents’/guardians’ desire for students not to complete the census is respected and enacted.

Parents/guardians who would like their child to be exempted from participating in the WCDSB Student Census may request an exemption at any time before October 22, 2021.

If a parent/guardian does not submit a request to opt-out, all students will receive an invitation to participate in the WCDSB Student Census during class time.

If you have questions or comments about the WCDSB Student Census, please contact the WCDSB Research Coordinator at WCDSBResearch@wcdsb.ca or your school administrator.

Is the Student Census Voluntary?

Yes.  The Student Census is voluntary.  The student can choose if they want to complete the survey.  The student can stop answering questions at any time.  The student can skip any question they do not wish to answer.

What if I want to access, correct and/or withdraw consent after participation in the Student Census?

If your child (the student) and/or the parent/guardian would like to access, correct and/or withdraw consent after the Student Census has been completed, please contact the WCDSB Research Coordinator at WCDSBResearch@wcdsb.ca.

How will we maintain data security?

The Student Census will be implemented using the online survey platform Qualtrics. To ensure that data will remain secure using this platform, WCDSB Privacy Records and Information Management Officer and the WCDSB Research Coordinator assessed the privacy and security practices from Qualtrics (Security Statement, Privacy Statement).

WCDSB’s Research & Data Services Department has developed a data management plan to comply with Board policies, MFIPPA and the ARA.  All identifiable Student Census data will be kept on encrypted servers and password protected devices with role-based access restrictions. Data will be securely disposed of as per the WCDSB Records Retention Schedule.

To review the full copy of the Privacy Impact Assessment conducted the WCDSB Privacy Records and Information Management Officer contact privacy@wcdsb.ca

For more information on the Student Census data security and privacy protocols, please contact the WCDSB Privacy Records and Information Management Officer at privacy@wcdsb.ca

How will students participate?  Will there be any accommodations to support students?

All students at the WCDSB are invited to participate in the Student Census between Grades 4 and 12.  The survey will be available online and Teachers will Administer the census during class time with board devices.  The following accommodations are available for students:

  • Paper Survey – If a student requires a paper copy of the survey to participate, please contact your school administrator to make arrangements.
  • Languages – The Student Census will be available in the following languages (based on 2016 Census data):
  • English
  • Arabic
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • French

If your child will require another language, please make your request by contacting your school administrator.

  • Text to Speech – Online survey is compatible with Google Read & Write Extension
  • Support Staff (e.g., EAs, CYWs, SERTs, ESL supports) – If a student has regular and recurring classroom supports to complete schoolwork and assessments, these supports will be available to assist the student to log onto their device, open the Student Census url link and/or orient themselves with the available accommodations (e.g., font size, Google Read&Write, Translation). These staff will ensure your child’s privacy is maintained.