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Letter of Information

1. Invitation to Participate

The Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) are looking for your help to improve the quality, affordability, and accessibility of education in Ontario.

In partnership with WUSA, OUSA is conducting a survey of all its members. The information we gather from this research will help us do a better job advocating for students at universities like yours. This undertaking is part of a larger research study being carried out across Ontario in partnership with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and CCI Research Inc., called the Ontario Undergraduate Student Survey. This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE #42334).

This online survey will ask you a range of questions about your educational experiences related to financial aid, employment, quality of learning, access to support services, safety and security on campus and in the community, and mental health. This survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

2. Purpose of the Letter

The purpose of this letter is to give you the information you need to make an informed decision about participating in this study.

3. Purpose of this Study

This study aims to collect information about undergraduate and professional students in Ontario, including level of debt, area of study, and use of services so that we can better communicate to the government the experiences and needs of students like you.

4. Inclusion Criteria

We’re hoping to hear from undergraduate and professional students of all ages from across Ontario. You’re eligible for this survey if you’re currently an undergraduate or professional student at one of OUSA’s eight member institutions (Brock, Laurentian, Laurier, McMaster, Queen’s, Trent Durham, Waterloo, Western).

5. Exclusion Criteria

You are ineligible for this survey if you are not currently an undergraduate or professional student at one of OUSA’s member institutions.

6. Study Procedures

If you agree to participate, you can use the "Continue" button at the bottom of this page to go to the online survey. It is anticipated that the survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. The survey will be open from November 2 - 27, 2020. You will receive three emails reminding you to complete the survey during this time. OUSA has hired the independent data collecting firm, CCI Research Inc., to administer the survey in a professional and secure manner.

7. Possible Risks and Harms

There is no possibility of physical harm by participating in this survey. There is a slight risk of minor discomfort, as the survey contains some questions on potentially sensitive topics such as ancestry, citizenship, personal finances, debt, gender, sexual orientation, disability, mental health, and safety on-campus and in the community. However, you will be free to skip any question, and you do not have to provide any answers you do not want to. Moreover, you are free to exit the survey at any time without penalty.

8. Possible Benefits

This study can benefit students and society, as the information collected will help to identify any issues or concerns among Ontario’s students as it relates to their post-secondary and broader learning environment experience. Further, this information will be communicated to the government in order to improve service and support offerings at Ontario post-secondary institutions, assist universities in their missions, and benefit students through advocacy and positive change.

9. Remuneration

In appreciation of the time you have given to this study, you can enter your name into a draw for 1 of 10 prizes. The prizes include $100 gift cards to an establishment of your choice. Your odds of winning one of the prizes is based on the number of individuals who participate in the study. We expect that approximately 10,000 individuals will take part in the study. Information collected to draw for the prizes will not be linked to the study data in any way, and this identifying information will be stored separately, then destroyed after the prizes have been provided. The amount received is taxable. It is your responsibility to report this amount for income tax purposes.

10. Voluntary Participation

Participation in this study is voluntary. You may refuse to participate, refuse to answer any questions, or withdraw from the study at any time with no effect on your future academic status or your student union or OUSA membership. Refusal to answer questions will not prevent you from having the opportunity to enter the draw. To enter the draw if you have chosen to stop participating, click through to the end of the survey.

11. Confidentiality

All information you provide is confidential: your name will not be collected, included, or associated with your answers in any way. You will not be identified individually in any research reports. A name and email address will be required for entrance into the prize draw, but will be used only to contact winners, and will not be associated with any of your responses. The researchers acknowledge that the host of the online survey, CCI Research Inc., may automatically collect participant data without their knowledge (e.g. IP addresses). Although this information may be provided or made accessible, the researchers will not receive, use, or save this information without participants’ consent.

Because this is an anonymous survey, the researchers have no way of identifying you or getting in touch with you should you choose to tell us something about yourself or your life experiences. Entering your information into the prize draw will have no connection to the raw data used by the researchers for analysis. The raw data supplied to the research team by CCI Research Inc. will have no identifying information from respondents whatsoever.

Data collected during this study will be stored on an encrypted server in Canada owned by CCI Research Inc. Data will be kept for six months, after which time the data will be purged from the CCI Research server and remitted, anonymized, to OUSA.

All data will be reported as an aggregate, and therefore all respondents will remain anonymous. No responses will be traced to individual respondents. Some open-ended responses may be quoted in research reports. OUSA research analysts will not publish any open-ended responses that contain potentially identifying information and will take great care to remove any such information. Please do not identify yourself or others in your open-ended responses.

All data collected from this survey will be temporarily stored on secure electronic servers within Canada by CCI Research Inc. OUSA will archive the survey responses for a minimum of seven years. This information will be stored in a password protected Dropbox folder accessible only to OUSA Research & Policy Analysts and Executive Director. Your information will remain completely confidential and maintained in accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

12. Contacts for Further Information

If you have any questions about this research, please contact WUSA VP Education, Megan Town, at vped@wusa.ca, 519-888-4567 x32340 or OUSA’s Research & Policy Analysts at research@ousa.ca. This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE #42334). If you have questions for the Committee contact the Office of Research Ethics, at 1-519-888-4567 ext. 36005 or ore-ceo@uwaterloo.ca.

13. Publication

When the results of the study are published, your name will not be used. If you would like to receive a copy of any potential study results, please contact OUSA’s Research & Policy Analysts. Otherwise, findings will be published in a series of three reports beginning in June 2021.

Britney De Costa & Ryan Tishcoff
OUSA Research & Policy Analysts

14. Consent

6. By responding to the questions and submitting a survey, you indicate your free and voluntary consent to participate in this research. All data will be collected anonymously. You do not waive any legal rights by participating in this study. Your participation in the survey will also indicate that you have read and understood this Letter of Information. You are free to ask OUSA questions about this project at any time.

This letter is yours to keep for future reference. Please feel free to print this page.