Enrolment Collection from Ontario’s Colleges and Universities and the Ontario Education Number (OEN)

Notice of Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of enrolment information is collected by the Ministry and who provides it?
  2. Why does the Ministry need to collect all of this enrolment information if colleges, universities and postsecondary application centres already collect it?
  3. Where, specifically, does enrolment data, including personal information, come from?
  4. What happens to personal information when the Ministry collects it indirectly?
  5. How does the Ministry protect the privacy of student information?
  6. Which other postsecondary institutions or government agencies receive personal information from the Ministry?
  7. What information is used for postsecondary policy development? Is it depersonalized?
  8. How does the Ministry know the information reported is accurate? Do I need to do anything to ensure my record is correct?
  9. What is the Ontario Education Number (OEN)?  Do college and university students have one?
  10. How do I get an OEN? Do I need to know it?
  11. Why does the Ministry need to collect the legal names of students as well as their OEN?
  12. What information is being collected in the OEN Registry System? Is this information protected?
  13. Which colleges and universities report enrolment data to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities?

Frequently Asked Questions about the Notice of Indirect Collection of Enrolment Data reported by Colleges and Universities and the Ontario Education Number

October 2015

1. What kind of enrolment information is collected by the Ministry and who provides it?


The Ministry collects student-level enrolment-related data including personal information, from Ontario's colleges of applied arts and technology college and publicly-assisted universities. Personal information is defined in s. 2(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to mean recorded information about an identifiable individual.

The range data on student enrolment and characteristics collected by the Ministry from colleges and universities includes data such as:

  • credentials students are pursuing (e.g. diplomas, degrees, certificates, graduate degrees);
  • Ontario Education Numbers and institutional student identification numbers;
  • Student biographical data (e.g. legal names, gender and date of birth);
  • programs in which students are enrolled (e.g. Arts and Science, Engineering, Health);
  • information on educational outcomes, such as year of study and graduation and enrolments between institutions;
  • types of students enrolled in Ontario's postsecondary institutions (e.g. Canadian citizens, international students);
  • data on student characteristics, such as language spoken, permanent residence, stage of current study, and full or part-time status; and
  • other data that might be required from time-to-time to administer postsecondary policies and programs.

The Ministry does not require reporting of information on grades, transcripts, or examination results of college or university students in its enrolment reports.

2. Why does the Ministry need to collect all of this enrolment information if colleges, universities and postsecondary application centres already collect it?


Colleges, universities and postsecondary application centres collect data for the purposes of providing educational services, including administration and planning at the local level.

The Ministry requires regular reporting of student-level enrolment-related data on students enrolled in postsecondary education in order to ensure the proper administration of the publicly-assisted postsecondary education system in Ontario. Regular reports on enrolment are needed to administer government programs and policies, to determine eligibility for grants provided to postsecondary institutions and/or students and to support postsecondary planning. Collection of regular enrolment data supports the Ministry’s ability to monitor and evaluate the quality, outcomes and delivery of postsecondary programs and services to students to ensure accountability for the use of public funds and efficient allocation of funding. 

Enrolment data reports support the determination by the Ministry of the level, duration and eligibility for government funding and the total capacity of each institution to meet provincial enrolment demand.

Enrolment data is also used to conduct specific research and analysis, including longitudinal studies and statistical activities conducted by or on behalf of the Ministry for purposes that relate to postsecondary education and training, including:

  • Understanding the transition of students from secondary to postsecondary education and training;
  • Understanding student participation and progress, mobility and learning and employment outcomes;
  • Understanding linkages among universities, colleges, secondary schools and other educational and training institutions;
  • Understanding trends in postsecondary education or training program choices made by students;
  • Understanding sources and patterns of student financial resources, including financial assistance and supports provided by government and postsecondary educational and training institutions;
  • Planning to enhance the affordability and accessibility of postsecondary sector education and training and the quality and effectiveness of the postsecondary sector;
  • Identifying conditions or barriers that inhibit student participation, progress, completion and transition to employment or future postsecondary educational or training opportunities; and
  • Developing key performance indicators.

3. Where, specifically, does enrolment data, including personal information, come from?


The Ministry collects student-level enrolment-related data, which includes limited personal information, from these Ontario postsecondary educational institutions and entities:

  • all colleges of applied arts and technology
  • all publicly-assisted universities
  • institutions federated or affiliated with colleges or universities

4. What happens to personal information when the Ministry collects it indirectly?


Personal information is collected by the Postsecondary Finance and Information Management Branch of the Ministry. Because postsecondary institutions must provide accurate information and the Ministry must verify that information, the Ministry requires data that is reported to contain student identification numbers and for a correct and valid Ontario Education Number (OEN) and other limited personal identifiers to be reported for postsecondary students.

The Postsecondary Finance and Information Management Branch retains enrolment data in a secure environment.  Data may be shared within MTCU, with other Ministries of the Ontario Government, other orders of government, postsecondary institutions and external researchers, normally in a depersonalized format. This means that the data are depersonalized to remove identifiers and all of the sensitive fields that could lead to the identification of an individual prior to being used for statistical or other analysis to support government policy development, program evaluation and to support its funding and planning activities for the postsecondary sector.

The Ministry has the authority to share personal information for specific purposes stated in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act. See question 6 for more detail.

The Ministry also may share personal information with other governments or government agencies for specific purposes in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act. See question 6 for more detail

5. How does the Ministry protect the privacy of student information?


Personal information indirectly collected by the Ministry is protected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and with the following restrictions:

  • The Ministry does not collect or use personal information if other information will serve the intended purpose.
  • All records containing personal information are maintained in a secure and limited access environment. For example,
  • the technology used for transmission of personal information is secure and password-protected;
  • data is transferred electronically to the Ministry to maximize the accuracy of information, thereby reducing the possibility of human data entry errors;
  • personal information is only accessible to a limited number of authorized staff in the Ministry, and in the educational institutions and entities from which the Ministry indirectly collects the personal information;
  • colleges, universities and other organizations that provide data to the Ministry ensure the accuracy of personal information prior to transferring the information to the Ministry; and,
  • redundant data is eliminated.
  • In most cases, the Ministry can meet its information needs after depersonalizing the data.

Colleges and universities are also subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and are also required to protect the privacy of student information.

6. Which other postsecondary institutions or government agencies receive personal information from the Ministry?


Personal information is not shared with other levels of government or other government agencies, with the following exceptions:

  • Between the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Minister of Education for the purposes of validating Ontario Education Numbers. 
  • With the Minister of Education and other ministers that may be prescribed by regulation under the MTCU Act for the purposes of conducting research and analysis including longitudinal studies and statistical activities relating to postsecondary education and training.
  • Between the Minister of MTCU, the Minister of Education and the Government of Canada for the purposes of monitoring and evaluating the quality and outcomes and delivery of postsecondary education and training programs and services that are funded directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by both the Government of Canada and the ministry to ensure accountability in the use of public funds and support for the continued allocation of funding for the programs and services.
  • The ministry discloses student-level enrolment and graduation related data it collects from the colleges and universities as required by Statistics Canada in accordance with the federal Statistics Act. Ontario's universities have chosen to meet their required reporting requirements to Statistics Canada's Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS) through centralized reporting to the Ministry.
  • Students who have applied to an Ontario university through the Ontario University Application Centre have given their written consent to allow the Ministry, universities and OUAC to exchange information on their application and registration information.
  • Students who have applied to an Ontario college through the Ontario College Application Centre have given their written consent to allow the Ministry, colleges and OCAS to exchange information on their application and registration information.

7. What information is used for postsecondary policy development? Is it depersonalized?


  • MTCU uses the information collected from college and university enrolment reports to create aggregate, non-personally identifiable information to support government policy development, program evaluation and to support its funding and planning activities for the postsecondary sector.
  • MTCU has a ministry-wide data warehouse to store, use and report on data from a number of sources, including data from the college and university enrolment collection systems.
  • The enrolment data collected goes through a depersonalization process which removes specific identifiers and sensitive fields that could lead to the identification of an individual prior to being included in the ministry data warehouse to be used for statistical or other analysis to support government policy development, program evaluation and to support its funding and planning activities for the postsecondary sector.
  • Depersonalized student-level data may be shared with other Ontario government ministries (such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Research and Innovation); with other Ontario universities and colleges of applied arts and technology, Ontario secondary school boards; postsecondary stakeholder associations, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and academic researchers.
  • Unless required by law, the Ministry does not provide 'aggregate data' when publicly reporting information, if there are fewer than 10 people involved. This suppression of data is an extra precaution taken to protect privacy.
  • As noted in question 6, there are cases where the sharing of personal information is allowed under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act.

8. How does the Ministry know the information reported is accurate? Do I need to do anything to ensure my record is correct?


It is the responsibility of each college and university to ensure that enrolment reports provided to MTCU and all supporting documentation is truthful, complete and correct. The Ministry requires independent audits of enrolment reports provided by colleges and universities.

Any information required to admit, register or enrol a student in an Ontario college or university will be requested directly from students by their university, college, the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) or the Ontario College Application Centre (OCAS), and not by the Ministry.

Students do not need to contact the Ministry to provide or confirm enrolment data. This data is provided by your college or university to the ministry at various times throughout the year.  The ministry does not directly contact students to confirm the validity of the enrolment data reported.

9. What is the Ontario Education Number (OEN)?  Do college and university students have one?


The OEN is a student identification number that is assigned by the Ministry of Education or Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to elementary, secondary and postsecondary students across the province.
The OEN is used by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, College and Universities for purposes related to education administration, funding, planning or research. Your postsecondary institution has the authority to use the OEN for the purposes of providing educational services to you.

The number, which is unique to every student, will accompany the student from elementary school through to postsecondary education. The OEN is nine digits long (eight digits, plus a check digit), randomly assigned, and is linked to a central OEN Registry that contains basic information about the student:

  • Legal names as shown on legal source documents (e.g. name on Birth Certificate, Passport, or Student Visa)
  • Preferred Names
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender

Since the number is randomly assigned, personal information about the student cannot be inferred from it. In addition, access to the data in the OEN Registry system is strictly limited to authorized users and is maintained by the Ministry of Education.

Since 2012, the Ministry has been expanding the use of the OEN to students attending Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges and universities. Colleges and universities are working with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Education to ensure they have valid OEN's from students who graduated high school since 2003. These OEN's are included in applications received through the Ontario University Application Centre and the Ontario College Application Service.

For students who did not apply for admission through these centres and/or do not have an existing OEN assigned to them, postsecondary institutions will request that an OEN be assigned. Some graduate students, students from outside Ontario, international students and students who graduated from an Ontario high school prior to 2003, will require an OEN be assigned to them by their postsecondary institutions.

10. How do I get an OEN? Do I need to know it?


You do not need to know your OEN. An OEN has already been assigned to you if you graduated from an Ontario high school after 2003, otherwise an OEN will be automatically assigned by your postsecondary institution.
The OEN is available on high school transcripts (Ontario Student Record) for students who attended Ontario's elementary or secondary system (Kindergarten to Grade 12) and graduated after 2003.

In some cases, your postsecondary institution may have to contact you to ensure that it has accurate information or legal proof of your name, date of birth, gender, etc., so that it can check the accuracy of your existing OEN; or to assign an OEN to you for the first time. If you are currently attending a postsecondary institution and wish to know your OEN, you should contact your institution directly. You do not need to provide credit card numbers, bank statements or residence information to your institution for them to confirm your OEN or have an OEN assigned.

  • No fee should be charged by your institution for assigning you an OEN.

11. Why does the Ministry need to collect the legal names of students as well as their OEN?


The collection of legal names is required to confirm the accuracy of the enrolment data submitted to the Ministry by colleges and universities each year.  Accurate reports on enrolment are needed for activities such as:

  • Administering MTCU legislation and regulations and implement directives;
  • Planning, allocating and administering funding to colleges and universities
  • Monitoring and evaluating the quality, outcomes and delivery of postsecondary programs and services to students to ensure accountability for the use of public funds and efficient allocation of funding;
  • Conducting specific research and analysis, including longitudinal studies and statistical activities for purposes that relate to postsecondary education and training. See question 2 for more detail.

12. What information is being collected in the OEN Registry System? Is this information protected?


A central OEN Registry is maintained by the Ministry of Education to validate and assign OEN's.

The information collected by the Ministry of Education from prescribed educational institutions, including colleges and universities to assign an OEN of the Education Act:

  • Legal names as shown on legal source documents (e.g. name on Birth Certificate, Passport, or Student Visa)
  • Preferred Names
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender

The OEN Registry does not contain information on a student's academic performance.

Since the number is randomly assigned, personal information about the student cannot be inferred from it. In addition, access to the data in the OEN Registry system is strictly limited to authorized users and is maintained by the Ministry of Education.

13. Which colleges and universities report enrolment data to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities?


Colleges

Universities*

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology

Algoma University

Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology

Brock University

Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology

Carleton University (including Dominicain College/Collège Dominicain)

Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology

University of Guelph

Collège Boréal d'arts appliqués et de technologie

Lakehead University

Collège d'arts appliqués et de technologie La Cité collégiale

Laurentian University

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

 Université de Hearst

Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology

 McMaster University

Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology

 Nipissing University

Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology

 Northern Ontario School of Medicine

George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology

 OCAD University

Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology

 University of Ottawa / Université d'Ottawa

Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

 Queen's University

Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology

 Ryerson University

Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology

 University of Toronto

Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology

 Trent University

Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology

 University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology

 University of Waterloo

St Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology

 University of Western Ontario

St Lawrence College of Applied Arts and Technology

 Wilfrid Laurier University

Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology

 University of Windsor

Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

 York University

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology

Sir Sandford Fleming College of Applied Arts and Technology

 

*Institutions federated or affiliated with universities may report their enrolments in funded programs as part of the reports of their parent institutions.