Information and Privacy Commissioner Cautions Ontario Educators on Use of Online Teaching Tools; New report includes best practices for protecting student privacy

TORONTO, ON, (October 24, 2017) – Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) today released a review of online educational services used by educators and students in Ontario classrooms. The review includes best practices for protecting student privacy and ensuring compliance with Ontario privacy laws.

When signing up on behalf of their students, classroom educators may be agreeing to information management practices by educational service providers that are inconsistent with their school boards’ policies and not compliant with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The report recommends that educators read privacy policies and terms of service carefully to understand how students’ information may be collected, used and disclosed, and to consult with school officials before selecting online educational services. Educators should also provide students with ongoing guidance on how to configure and use the educational services in privacy-enhancing ways.

The IPC worked with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) to design and carry out the review. The OPC has released a separate report summarising their findings.

The review was part of a larger international effort coordinated by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), a group of over 60 privacy enforcement authorities working together to strengthen privacy protections in an increasingly global context.

Further information about privacy and online educational services and the work of the IPC can be found at:


“Keeping student information safe and confidential, while making sure educators have the 21st century tools to engage students is always a challenge. We’re pleased that our ongoing work with other jurisdictions, including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, has provided the opportunity to release this report that will help educators make decisions on what online educational services to use. “

--Brian Beamish, Commissioner

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