Carleton ordered to release student grade data after FIPPA request

July 31, 2013

Carleton University has been ordered to hand over 12 years of student grade records to the Ottawa Citizen, after the newspaper filed a Freedom of Information request in 2011 seeking seeking anonymized grade data (without names or student numbers). Carleton had refused to release the records, arguing that making them public would violate students’ privacy and damage the university financially. Carleton argued that students would be “keenly aware” of their classmates’ performance in class, allowing them to figure out which student received which grade in a particular course. Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Daphne Loukidelis, dismissed Carleton’s theory as too remote and speculative. Loukidelis also dismissed the university’s claim that “if grade averages were known, students might be less likely to choose to study there, causing economic hardship for the university.” Ottawa Citizen