The Ontario government is quietly laying the groundwork to collect ethnic, racial and other diversity data on the province’s two million elementary and secondary students, a controversial plan it has not yet made public.

A handful of school boards, including Toronto, already assemble race-based data for in-house research on how to help disadvantaged students succeed in school.

Now, under a research contract it has put out for bidding, the education ministry wants to know how it would go about gathering and using details about student race and ethnicity “for education purposes.”

Sri-Guggan Sri-Skanda-Rajah, president of the Toronto based Urban Alliance on Race Relations, questioned how student privacy would be protected.

“One of the concerns the Urban Alliance will always have is ownership of that information, how it should be made available and how it can be used,” he said.

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