General uses of student personal information
This section explains how the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) and your school use the personal information you provide to us. The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and the Education Act set guidelines that schools and school boards must follow when collecting, using and disclosing students’ personal information.
The following are routine uses and disclosures of student personal information:
Ontario Student Record (OSR)
The student’s Ontario Student Record (OSR) will be used by school and board staff to support the classroom teacher in developing an educational program which best meets the student’s needs. Staff working with the classroom teacher or directly with the student may include individuals from areas such as the before and after school program, special education, guidance counselling, student success, etc.
Please note: In keeping with the requirements of the Education Act and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, written/signed consent is required prior to conducting intelligence/behaviour tests, or prior to the involvement of psychological, speech and language, or social work staff.
Student information that is collected at registration as well as other data such as attendance, timetables and achievement data is stored in an Student Information System where school and board staff can access the information they need to perform their duties and report to the Ministry of Education. To learn more about what information the Ministry of Education uses to improve educational outcomes across the province, see: Collection and use of education information | Ministry of Education.
Learning Profiles and Student Achievement Levels
Student information such as learning profiles and student achievement levels are shared between staff within a school in order to best address student needs as they progress through grade levels. Secondary schools may receive information about pre‐registered Grade 8 students in advance of the student attending the secondary school to facilitate the appropriate educational program planning for the student. Important information used for the transition process is shared for the purpose of a successful transition to high school. Secondary schools may share information about student progress with the student’s previous elementary school to support continuous improvement of the elementary school program for all students.
The Board releases student information that is requested by the Ontario Ministry of Education and by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) for their development, planning and resource allocation.
School boards continually seek feedback from students to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies and programs in an effort to continuously improve educational outcomes for all students. At WRDSB staff from the board’s Research & Organizational Transformation Department will collect and analyze different types of student data (e.g., survey data, report card marks, attendance data, etc.) to help ensure the best available data and evidence is used to make decisions that have a greater likelihood of producing improved outcomes.
As directed in the Anti-Racism Act (2017) and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, all school boards collect identity-based data about students. The first WRDSB Student Census was launched in spring 2021 and is ongoing. Boards are required to inform families that these surveys are voluntary and that they can choose not to have their child(ren) participate. Families who do not wish for their child(ren) to participate will be provided instructions on how to opt out at least two weeks in advance of the launch of the census. If families have not opted out, students can decide whether or not they would like to participate.
School Climate Survey
As directed by the Ministry of Education as part of the Safe Schools initiative and the Education Act, all school boards must launch a student school climate survey to their students at least once every two years. Boards are required to inform families that these surveys are voluntary and that they can choose not to have their child(ren) participate. Families who do not wish for their child(ren) to participate will be provided instructions on how to opt out at least two weeks in advance of the launch of the survey. If families have not opted out, students can decide whether or not they would like to participate.
When research is conducted by external researchers (e.g., universities, graduate students working on university degrees, community agencies, and provincial agencies) for their own research purposes, families will always be given the choice of whether or not to allow their child(ren) to participate. If families have provided consent, students can decide whether or not they would like to participate.
Ontario Colleges and Universities
Secondary schools will provide information of potential graduates (i.e. contact information, marks and transcripts) for the student’s post‐secondary applications to Ontario Colleges and Universities through a secure site.
Information is shared with the Ontario Elearning Consortium (OELC) to facilitate and support students participating in elearning courses throughout the province.
Email addresses (parent, caregiver and student) may be used for communication between school and home.
Student information such as home addresses, life‐threatening medical emergency information, and accessibility and safety needs, will be released to Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) for the purpose of administering the board’s contracted transportation services. Personal information facilitates scheduling of school bus services to eligible students and helps ensure the health and safety of students.
Important medical/health information may be collected for the purpose of developing a medical emergency plan of care for the student or for the purpose of administering medication to the student. Information will be shared with appropriate staff to ensure the safety of the student.
Student information (including name, contact information, date of birth, grade level, country of birth) and parent information (name and contact information) will be shared with Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services according to the Immunization of School Pupils Act and the Health and the Health Protection and Promotion Act, as well as for the purposes of vision and dental screening.
In case of a medical emergency, student information may be shared with medical responders or the hospital. Information may be used in matters of health and safety or discipline and is required to be disclosed in compelling circumstances or for law enforcement matters or in accordance with any other Act.
Interpreters and Settlement Workers
Student information (including name, contact information, date of birth, grade level, country of birth, language of preferred communication) and parent information (name and contact information) will be shared with interpreters and settlement workers to assist new Canadians.
Secondary School Athletics
Information, including health or medical, of students participating in secondary school athletics will be shared with Ontario Federation of School Athletics (OFSSA) and Waterloo County Secondary School Athletics Association (WCSSAA) for purposes of school team and student athletes’ participation in school sports programs.
Student accidents that take place during school or during school‐sponsored activities will be reported to the board’s insurer. Information shared with the insurance company includes the name of the injured student(s) and details about the incident as well as the name and contact information of witnesses to the accident.
Online Learning Tools
As part of WRDSB’s commitment to develop global competencies which are the core of learning and innovation, students will be using Ministry and Board approved online tools in the classroom as these have been reviewed to ensure they meet the privacy and security requirements. A board-based Google account, including email address, will be assigned to each student to promote the development of digital citizenship skills. Students receive age-appropriate instruction on digital citizenship and the safe use of technology. Use of the internet and social media sites shall be in accordance with the Responsible Use Procedure for Information, Communication and Collaboration.
Photographs and Video
Photographs and videos of students, collectively or individually, may be taken by their classroom teacher in school or during school activities as part of their educational program or assessment of learning. Students may also participate in video conferencing to support the classroom program.
Please note: Photos and videos may not be shared with others outside of the classroom unless written/signed consent is obtained.
School activities may be reported by the school board in school newsletters, websites or social media.
Please note: Identifying photos and videos only may be included with consent via the Student Media Release consent form.
Students participating in extra‐curricular activities or events where the public is invited or otherwise attends (i.e. field trips, school concerts, school teams) may be photographed or the events reported on by the general public or media outlets. The media, such as newspaper, television and radio, may be invited by the board to attend an event for the purpose of reporting on newsworthy activities. The board cannot always control which students the media or members of the public choose to film/photograph/interview, especially during public or semi-public events. This may result in photos or recordings being posted on social media sites, websites and other publications.
If you are attending a school event, It is important that when taking pictures or video to be respectful of the privacy rights of anyone captured in your recording, and to practice good digital citizenship by only posting photos involving other students with permission of the individual or their parent/guardian.
Student work may be displayed in the classroom or in school hallways, or may be shared with the public through school events such as science fairs, bulletin board displays, writing/colouring/poster contests, community events, fairs, and similar events/locations outside of the school setting.
The student’s name may be printed on work displayed in the classroom or posted in public areas within the school. Names may also be posted in school public areas such as coat hooks, hallway displays, etc.
Student information such as name, student number, grade and school will be provided to the contracted school photographer for the purpose of providing the student with a student identification card. Individual and class photos of students otherwise will be used for administrative and archival purposes, in school yearbooks and will be offered to parents for purchase.
Parent/guardian contact lists of phone numbers and/or email addresses are used for safety and emergency purposes to facilitate contact with parent during an emergency (i.e. inclement weather or injury); for safe arrival purposes to contact parents where a student is absent and the school has not received notice of the absence.
Student names and/or photographs may be printed in school programs (i.e., commencement, graduation, school plays, and concerts) or on academic or athletic awards and plaques.
Yearbooks (hard copy or digital) chronicle the activities of the school and student body; they are produced for sale, primarily to students, and may be placed in the school library, public library, or made available in electronic format. Student and class photos, snapshots of school events and activities (sports teams, clubs, plays/performances, field trips, and assemblies), writing by students and student artwork may be included in the yearbook along with the student’s full name.
Birthdays may be announced over the PA system and/or in classrooms. Class lists with student first names and last initial only may be distributed to other parents for the purposes of addressing greeting cards or invitations in connection with holidays, birthday parties, etc.
Surveillance equipment may be used in schools and on buses to enhance the safety of students and staff, to protect property against theft or vandalism, and to aid in the identification of intruders and of persons who endanger the health, wellbeing or safety of school community members.
The above situations will apply unless an objection is filed with the principal and an alternative resolution can be found.