COLS Privacy Statement

Last updated: August 23, 2023

The Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (“OUAC”, “we” or “us”), a division of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), is committed to respecting your privacy. We process applications for admission to Ontario university programs on behalf of the Ontario universities. To apply for admission to an undergraduate university program in Ontario, or to an Ontario medical school, law school, teacher education program, or rehabilitation sciences program, the application is processed through the OUAC. We also process applications for other graduate and professional programs offered by the Ontario universities and for transcripts for the Ontario College of Teachers and the Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario. The purpose of this Privacy Statement is to inform you about our privacy practices, including how we collect, use and disclose the personal information you provide.

By completing and submitting the Counsellors’ Online Services (COLS) Administrator Registration Form, including for COLS Registrants, or the COLS School Board Registration Form (“Form”) through the OUAC, you authorize us to collect personal information directly from you and from other organizations, as necessary, to complete and process your Form. You also agree that we will disclose to third parties, including but not limited to, the Ontario universities, the personal information you provide to us and other personal information we collect in connection with your Form.

What Information Do We Collect?

We collect personal information in the following ways:

Information You Provide to Us

  • We collect the personal information you provide in your Form, or in reference to your Form.
  • We may ask for personal information when you contact us with a comment or question.

Information We Collect Automatically

  • We collect the following information when you visit the OUAC website:
    • your device’s Internet Protocol address (e.g., IP 324.45.123.11);
    • your device’s operating system and the web browser you use to view the OUAC website;
    • the referring site, if applicable;
    • the pages you visit on the OUAC website; and
    • the date, time and duration of your visit.
  • We track your online activity on the OUAC website using cookies and web analytics.

How Do We Use the Information?

We use the personal information to:

  • process your Form and provide other services to you.
  • verify and confirm the information in your Form.
  • maintain and improve the OUAC’s system.
  • contact you regarding your Form and other services, including by email.
  • respond to your inquiries and requests.
  • create data and aggregated data and reports to be used by us, educational and governmental institutions and researchers.
  • conduct research and analysis and to assist others with research.
  • protect our systems and the integrity of our auditing process.
  • investigate legal claims and enforce our rights and those of the Ontario universities.

We may use the personal information for other purposes we have obtained your consent for and for other purposes as may be permitted or required by applicable law.

We keep current year and historic electronic versions of your Form.

How Do We Share the Information?

We keep the personal information confidential and disclose it only for the purposes described in this Privacy Statement. We share the personal information with the following third parties:


  • We disclose the personal information you provide in your Form to the Ontario universities. The Ontario universities collect the personal information through the OUAC in accordance with their enabling legislation for the purposes of recruitment, admission and registration. The notices of collection of personal information for each Ontario university can be found on their websites.

Service Providers

  • We may transfer the personal information, as required, to third parties who provide services on our behalf, such as hosting, data storage and processing service providers, research and analytics providers and auditors who analyze our systems to ensure that the personal information is protected.

Note: The personal information may be stored and processed in any country where we engage third-party service providers. As a result, the personal information may be transferred outside of Canada to jurisdictions that may have different data protection rules than Canada. While such information is outside of Canada, it is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located, and may be subject to disclosure to the governments, courts or law enforcement or regulatory agencies of said country, pursuant to the laws of such country.

Educational and Governmental Institutions and Researchers

  • We may disclose the personal information you provide in your Form to the Ontario universities and to Ontario high schools and/or school boards for admission, enrollment and other academic policy development and research purposes. The notices of collection can be found on the websites of those institutions.
  • We may disclose the personal information you provide in your Form to governmental institutions, including the Ministry of Education and/or the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, for policy development and research purposes, as outlined in and authorized by the Education Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act.
  • We may disclose the personal information you provide in your Form to researchers (at the OUAC’s discretion) for admission, enrollment and other academic policy development and research purposes.

Additionally, we may use and disclose the information when we believe such use or disclosure is permitted, necessary or appropriate:

  • under applicable law;
  • to comply with the legal process or other legal obligations, including our obligations under contracts;
  • to respond to requests from governmental authorities;
  • to protect our operations or those of the universities or other third parties;
  • to protect our rights, privacy, safety and property, and those of our affiliates, you and others; and
  • to allow us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain, including the collection of debts you may owe us.

We may transfer the personal information and other information to a third party in the event of any reorganization, transfer or other disposition of all or any portion of our operations or assets.

How Do We Protect the Personal Information?

We maintain administrative, technical and physical safeguards in an effort to protect personal information against unauthorized access, use, modification and disclosure.

  • We restrict access to personal information only to employees and authorized service providers who require the information for the purposes described in this Privacy Statement.
  • We store electronic records off-site as part of our disaster recovery procedures. These records remain in Canada.
  • We use industry standard security during the transfer of data. All files transferred to or from the OUAC use a Secure Socket Shell (SSH) protocol. Files containing personal information have an additional layer of encryption.
  • Our third-party service providers are required to maintain the confidentiality and security of personal information and to use it only in compliance with applicable privacy laws.

Although we take appropriate measures to safeguard the personal information in our custody and control, we cannot guarantee that the personal information will always be used in ways that are consistent with this Privacy Statement and no method of transmission or storage of information is 100% secure or error-free, so we cannot guarantee absolute security.  If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure (e.g., if you feel that the security of any information you provided to us has been compromised), please contact us immediately.

How Can You Access or Correct the Personal Information?

During an application cycle, you can contact the OUAC to access the personal information and, in most cases, make updates. In cases where you are not able to access the personal information or make updates, you may submit a written request to review any such personal information about you that we hold and we will provide you with any such personal information to the extent required by law. You may also challenge the accuracy or completeness of the personal information in our records. If you successfully demonstrate that the personal information in our records is inaccurate or incomplete, we will amend the personal information as required.

Third-party Websites and Services

Our websites provide links to third-party websites relevant to the university application process. This Privacy Statement does not extend to any websites, products or services provided by third parties. These linked websites have separate and independent privacy policies, which we recommend you read carefully.

We have no control over such websites and therefore, have no responsibility or liability for the manner in which the organizations that operate such linked websites may collect, use, disclose or otherwise process personal information.

Changes to This Privacy Statement

This Privacy Statement is current as of the “Last updated” date at the top of this page. We may update this Privacy Statement periodically to reflect changes to our personal information practices. We will post the revised privacy statement on this website. We treat personal information in accordance with the privacy statement in place at the time of collection of such information, or as you otherwise consent.

How to Contact Us

Contact our Privacy Officer at any time if you:

  • have any questions or comments about this Privacy Statement, or about the personal information or our privacy practices;
  • wish to access and/or correct the personal information we have in our custody or control; or
  • have a complaint about the manner in which we treat the personal information.

Contact the OUAC Privacy Officer: