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Privacy Commission continues investigation of school survey

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board expects report to be released soon

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) continues to work with the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario on the student survey originally scheduled for release on Nov 22, 2010.

An investigation was launched and the release date was delayed after the privacy commission received two complaints about the survey.

Jacqueline Lawrence, diversity/equity coordinator for OCDSB, worked closely with the commission before the investigation began to ensure the content of the survey fell within the privacy regulations.

“When the complaints were sent in, it immediately went into the investigative side. So it is a different division that we are now working with. We are still working with them, and we anticipate that the process will be completed very soon,” says Lawrence. “The unfortunate thing is that this is one possibility that could have happened and it did.”

Lawrence anticipates having a response from the privacy commission in the next two to three weeks.

“Once they have given us their recommendation, we just need to be in alignment with that. We don’t anticipate significant broad changes or anything of that sort,” says Lawrence.

The survey is voluntary and confidential, with students having the option of answering some questions, none of them or all of them. The data gathered would help the board plan programs and services within schools as well as identify problem areas that need support.

The survey is detailed and covers subjects ranging from family relationships to religion to sexual orientation. It is the latter that caused an outcry from some parents who objected to its intrusiveness.