In the Spring of 2021, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) launched its first-ever Student Census (the Census). We are pleased to now share the results with you.

The Census data represents over 30,000 students. These results give us a deeper understanding of the cultural, social and demographic makeup of WRDSB students. They will be used to help us better support students. With this information, we will be able to identify differences and gaps in their experiences and outcomes based on their diverse needs, identities and experiences.

About the Student Census

In April 2021, parents and guardians of students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, and students in Grades 4 to 12, were invited to complete the Census.

All Ontario school boards are mandated to collect identity-based student information under Ontario’s Anti-Racism Act. We developed our Census in accordance with the guidance and legislation provided by the Ministry of Education, the Anti-Racism Directorate, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The role of the WRDSB is to support the census process for students and families and to make the best use of the information that is gathered.

Although the survey was conducted during a period of remote learning, approximately 40% of parents and guardians of students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, and approximately 50% of students in Grades 4 to 12 participated in the Census. Participation in the Census was voluntary.

Have a question about the Census? Read our frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Key Findings

  • Nearly 3% of students who participated identify as Indigenous, representing 66 Nations, communities and identities.
  • Census participants identified with more than 200 different ethnic and cultural origins.
  • Racialized students make up one-third of the student census participants. Just over 7% of students identified having more than one or a mixed racial identity.
  • WRDSB students who participated reported more than 200 languages as their first language, including 5 Indigenous first languages.
  • The most common religions identified in the Census were Christianity and Islam, while approximately two out of five students identified as agnostic, atheist or having no religious or spiritual affiliation.
  • More than 4% of student participants in Grades 4 to 12 self-identified with a 2SLGBTQIA+ gender.
  • Nearly 24% of student participants in Grades 7 to 12 self-identified with at least one 2SLGBTQIA+ sexual orientation.
  • Approximately 7% of participating students reported a disability or health condition.

The Results

How Will This Information Be Used?

We plan to use the Student Census results to be more precise in the way we support students. In the Fall, the Research Department will be providing school-specific census data to Administrators.

We will also be sharing the results more broadly with community stakeholders in the Waterloo Region, as well as creating resources to support the understanding and use of this data.

Starting in the Fall, the WRDSB will begin analyzing the data found in the Census against student achievement, program enrollment and suspension/expulsion data to identify gaps and disparities based on identity.

Please see the WRDSB Student Census – Summary Report to see the full list of action items.