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U of T Student Equity Census

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Count Yourself In

Equity, diversity and inclusion are fundamental values at the University of Toronto. Building on U of T’s Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Excellence, we are committed to advancing equity within our practices and processes, and launched the U of T Student Equity Census in Fall 2020.

Following a review of student feedback, the Census relaunched on December 1, 2021. 

This Census is a tool that supports the University in better understanding the demographics of our student population. The data we collect will be used to develop, assess, and maintain programs and initiatives that respond to the needs of our students. Through connections with other student-related data, we’ll be able to more effectively understand and improve the holistic experience of our students. This data will also help us to strengthen student recruitment efforts, access, and strategies to address and eliminate barriers to success within our processes.

Your identity is complex and personal – we understand and respect that. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential. Through the participation of all students, we’ll be able to better understand and address the systemic barriers that our students face.

About the U of T Student Equity Census

The U of T Student Equity Census is a demographic data collection initiative with a set of eight questions. Each question includes a “prefer not to answer” response option, should there be information you do not wish to share.

Who should participate

All undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at the University of Toronto on a part-time or full-time basis should participate. 

How to participate

The Census is available on ACORN. Log in using your UTORid and fill out your responses – it should only take about five minutes to complete. 

When to participate

The 2021-22 Census launched on December 1, 2021. Complete the Census by February 18, 2022 and you’ll be entered to win one of ten $100 gift cards for Presto, Uber Eats or the U of T Bookstore (terms and conditions apply). The Census will remain open for you to log in to change or modify your responses at any time. While there is no deadline to complete the Census, we encourage all students to do so as soon as possible.

Privacy & confidentiality

You determine the information you choose to share. All questions have a “prefer not to answer” option, should there be information you do not wish to share. Your responses aren’t anonymous, but the data collected will be kept strictly confidential. Only aggregate data will be used in reporting.

As always, your privacy is protected. Learn more about how we’re keeping your information safe. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Excellence flourishes in an environment that embraces the broadest range of people and reflects local communities. The U of T Student Equity Census will support U of T’s commitment to creating inclusive working and learning environments through better understanding the characteristics of our student body.

    This initiative aligns with broader institutional efforts that support anti-discrimination and enhanced equity. Such efforts include Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin, U of T’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recent efforts towards Anti-Semitism and Anti-Islamophobia, and the Anti-Black Racism Task Force Report, which emphasizes the importance of collecting demographic data.

  • All undergraduate and graduate students currently registered at the University of Toronto on a part-time or full-time basis on all three campuses should complete it.

  • Beginning on December 1, 2021, the 2021-22 U of T Student Equity Census will be accessible via ACORN. Simply log in using your UTORid and fill out your responses – it should only take about five minutes to complete.

  • Yes. Following a review of student feedback on last year’s Census, some of the questions and categories have changed for 2021-22. This means that the data we are collecting has changed slightly, and to ensure we have the most relevant and up-to-date data to best represent our student community, we ask that all students complete the revised Census this year.

  • Following a comprehensive review by the U of T Student Equity Census Advisory Roundtable, and looking closely at student feedback, some of the questions and categories on the Census have changed for 2021-22.

    These changes include:

    • A more detailed list of categories for the question on racial and ethnocultural identity
    • Revised language associated with questions about disability, gender identity and sexual orientation, with new categories added

    We’ll continue to review the Census regularly to make sure it adequately reflects our community. However, we don’t anticipate changes will happen as often moving forward.

  • Yes, you can log in again to change or modify your responses at any time. There is no final deadline to complete the Census – the information will be collected and updated on an ongoing basis.

  • Each question has a “prefer not to answer” option, so you can use this if there is specific information you don’t want to share. As well, there is a “Clear all responses” button at the bottom of the form. You can change your responses at any time and your record will be updated. We don’t keep a historical record of your previous responses and any previous data you submitted will be removed.

  • Through this new demographic data, and links to existing data, such as age, immigration status and program of study, the University will be able to create programming and resources that better respond to our students’ needs. This data will help us to strengthen student recruitment efforts, access and strategies to address and eliminate barriers to success within our processes.

    We’ll share our findings because this information helps the University, and our community partners understand and eliminate barriers to post-secondary education and ensure support for our student community.

  • The information we gather will help us see who’s here and who isn’t – at the University in general, and in specific faculties and programs. It will let us know whether we’re adequately engaging and supporting students from diverse backgrounds, particularly those who are historically and currently underrepresented in post-secondary education. It will let us better understand the experience of students and how this might be impacted by intersections of various aspects of their identities.

    Examples of action may include: 

    • Assessment of the effectiveness of student support programming and services. 
    • Increasing support for underrepresented student communities at the outreach, recruitment, and admissions stages, and throughout their time at the University. 
  • The Census is gathering a broad range of demographic information – this includes information about gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, Indigeneity, race and ethnicity and educational attainment of parents/guardians. This data will help us understand our student community and identify any gaps in representation and effectiveness of student support programming and services.

     

  • Identity is personal and complex, so we looked at a wide variety of terminology and considered many ways to collect this information. Feedback from our students was critical in designing the Census questions. In every response, you have the opportunity to list how you want to identify, beyond the list of options provided. Terminology is fluid and you may change how you want to identify – that’s why you have the option to change your responses at any time.

    You can also provide feedback on the Census questions and the terminology used. You can do this on the form itself, or this can be done via email to vp.student@utoronto.ca. We’ll continue to review student feedback regularly to make sure the Census adequately reflects our community.

  • This question was designed following consultation with students, and in collaboration with U of T’s Equity Offices. While most examples align with the geographic region linked to the category (e.g., for Caribbean we include the examples of Cuban, Haitian), for others we have tried to represent larger diaspora communities, such as using the example of Kenyan in the category for South Asian. This is reflective of our student population, and therefore it lends to a more inclusive and representative set of categories. 

    Once again, we welcome feedback on this question, so please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on the categories and examples provided. We’ll continue to review and evaluate this feedback along the way.  

  • The primary goal of this Census is to gain a deeper understanding of the composition of our student community. The data we collect will help us to learn more about who isn’t currently represented in our community, but it will also show us how to provide better supports to our current student population. Your personal participation in the Census is a way to be part of our collective action towards advancing equity for all students across U of T.

  • Data will be stored on secure University of Toronto servers and will be encrypted at all times.  

    The University of Toronto is committed to privacy and will safeguard your personal information in a way that is consistent with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). This includes all information provided through the U of T Student Equity Census.  

    Wwon’t use your information for other purposes, and it will never be associated with any academic or reprisal/disciplinary action. 

    If you have questions about privacy, please refer to the Governing Council website or contact the University Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Coordinator at McMurrich Building, room 104, 12 Queen’s Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8. 

  • No. The data you share with us won’t affect your academic record in any way, nor will it have any bearing on your eligibility for admission or registration to any U of T program. No professor, teaching assistant or Academic Advisor will have access to this personal data. This data will never be used as part of implementing a policy associated with your academic progression.

  • We encourage all students to complete the Census because the more responses we receive, the more we’ll learn about our student community, and the better we’ll be able to act based on the data.

Preview the U of T Student Equity Census

If you are interested in seeing the questions included on the 2021-2022 U of T Student Equity Census, you can view the U of T Student Equity Census -Questions & Format Resource (2021-2022)