1. What is a census?
A census is the collection of data from an entire population or group of people, such as all HPEDSB families. It is similar to a survey, although in comparison, a survey collects information from a random sample of individuals rather than from an entire population.
2. What is the purpose of the student census?
School boards across Ontario, including HPEDSB, are completing a census with their school communities to gain a clearer understanding of the needs of their student populations and school communities. Under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan, school boards are to collect data and report on the data they collect. The student census is a tool that will help to identify and address systemic barriers to student success, close gaps in services, and guide decisions that support more equitable outcomes for all students.
3. What questions are in the student census and why should I, or my child, complete it?
Copies of the census are available for review on our website www.HPEschools.ca/census. The census is voluntary and confidential. Key questions include gender identity, sexual orientation, language(s) spoken, Indigenous identity, ethnicity, race, religion and disabilities. This information will provide us with valuable insight into our students and their lived experiences, assist us to honour their voices, ensure effective programming and allocate resources where they are most needed. Your time and effort completing the census makes a difference.
4. Is parent/guardian consent required before students complete the census?
Formal consent from families is not required. Legislation permits the collection of student data intended for planning and programming purposes. This census is voluntary. Students can choose not to participate, and families can withdraw their child from participation by contacting their child’s principal.
5. Do I have to answer all the questions?
The student census is voluntary. Students may choose not to participate or select “I prefer not to answer” for any question; however, the higher the completion rate, the richer and more reliable the information will be for school improvement and program planning.
6. How will the student census be made available for students with special education needs?
To ensure that every student has the opportunity to participate, all necessary accommodations, supports and assistive technology will be provided. The census is available on paper and in large print.
7. Is the student census available in languages other than English?
Please contact your child’s principal to request an accommodation to complete the census, or to request a copy in a different language. Please be aware that if a different language is requested, lead time for translation and programming is required.
8. Is the student census anonymous?
The census is confidential but not anonymous. Responses will be linked to you so that we will be able to use the results to better understand the diversity within our student population and so we can work to ensure equity for students of different backgrounds. Individual responses, like all other personal student and family information, will remain confidential and protected under freedom of information and protection of privacy legislation.
9. How will responses be kept confidential and secure?
We respect the privacy of our students and families. School boards must adhere to strict privacy and confidentiality standards when collecting information about students. Student names will not appear on the census. The data will be stored in a secure, confidential database and HPEDSB Student Information System, that will be accessed only by authorized HPEDSB staff to identify and summarize board trends. The information is collected with strict adherence to, and under the authority of, the Anti-Racism Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 15, the Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.2, and in compliance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56.
10. How will the census data be used?
Student census data is used to reveal trends or gaps within HPEDSB leading to actions for improving school climate, enhancing learning environments and removing barriers for equal opportunities and outcomes. Once responses have been processed and analyzed, HPEDSB staff will produce a series of reports to share the findings and to help inform Board and school decision-making for programs and instruction. Data reports or analyses will never single out a student. By law, no individualized information for any student who completes the census can be released.
If you have more questions not covered in this document, please contact us through email at HPE[email protected] or by telephone at 613-966-1170, ext. 62121.