Ontario Education Number (OEN)


The Ontario Education Number (OEN)

Notice of Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of information is collected by the Ministry and who provides it?
  2. Why does the Ministry need to collect all of this 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 students' information?
  6. Which other postsecondary or government agencies receive personal information from the Ministry?
  7. What information is used for postsecondary policy development? Is it depersonalized?
  8. How 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)?
  10. How do I get an OEN? Do I need to know it?
  11. What information is being collected in the OEN Registry System? Is this information protected?
  12. Which colleges and universities report enrolment data to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities?

1. What kind of 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 in areas such as:

  • credentials students are pursuing (e.g. diplomas, degrees, certificates, graduate degrees);
  • Ontario Education Numbers and institutional student identification numbers.
  • 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 gender, date of birth, language spoken, permanent residence, stage of current study, and full or part-time status
  • 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, examination results of college or university students in its enrolment reports.

2. Why does the Ministry need to collect all of this 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-funded 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.

Enrolment data reports also 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.

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-funded 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 of Training, Colleges and Universities. 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) to be reported for postsecondary students.

The Postsecondary Finance and Information Management Branch retains enrolment data in a secure environment and shares this data with other Ministries of the Ontario Government, other levels of government, postsecondary institutions and external researchers only in a depersonalized format. This means that the data goes through a depersonalization process 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.

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 only collects and uses personal information if other information will not 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 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:

  • The Ministry discloses student-level enrolment-related data it collects from the colleges and universities when required by Statistics Canada in accordance with the federal Statistics Act. Some data collected as part of university enrolment reports is shared with the agreement of each university with Statistics Canada. 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 of Training, Colleges and Universities, which then reports the data to Statistics Canada.
  • 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?

  • The MTCU uses information from 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.
  • Depersonalized student-level data is shared within the Ministry and 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 five or fewer people involved. This suppression of data is an extra precaution taken to protect privacy.

8. How 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. The Ministry does not directly contact students to confirm the validity of the enrolment data reported.

9. What is the Ontario Education Number (OEN)?

The OEN is a student identification number that is assigned by the Ministry of Education to elementary and secondary students across the province and is available on your high school transcript (Ontario Student Record) for student's who have studied in Ontario's K-12 system since 2003.

The OEN is used by the Ministry of Education, 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 tied to stable information about the student (i.e. legal names, gender, and date of birth).

The Ministry is expanding the use of the OEN to publicly-funded colleges and universities students attending Ontario institutions over the next two years. 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 by the Ministry of Education. Graduate students, students from outside Ontario and international students will typically require a new 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, as it has either been assigned to you if you graduated an Ontario high school after 2003, or will be automatically assigned by your postsecondary institution if you did not have an OEN before you attended your current 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) since 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 so that it can check the accuracy of your existing OEN, or to assign an OEN to you for the first time. You do not need to contact your institution to assist in this process. They will call you if required.

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

An 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 is prescribed under s. 4 of Ontario. Reg. 440/01 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 capture details regarding 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.

12. 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
Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology Dominicain College/Collège Dominicain
Collège Boréal d'arts appliqués et de technologie University of Guelph
Collège d'arts appliqués et de technologie La Cité collégiale Lakehead University
Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning Laurentian University
Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology Hearst College/Collège de Hearst
Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology McMaster University
Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology Nipissing University
George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology OCAD University
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning University of Ottawa / Université d'Ottawa
Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology Queen's University
Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology Ryerson University
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology University of Toronto
Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology Trent University
Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology University of Ontario Institute of Technology
St Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology University of Waterloo
St Lawrence College of Applied Arts and Technology University of Western Ontario
Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology Wilfrid Laurier University
Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning University of Windsor
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology York University
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.