I am planning on applying to a Master's degree program (in Canada, if it matters) and I've noticed that there seems to be quite a few grade cut-offs for applications. I've read elsewhere that these are not set in stone, however, how important are they compared to other criteria such as references and research?
In my opinion, which I have no proof for, it seems almost absurd to put an emphasis on grades without knowing a class average or having a detailed knowledge of the course when examining a grade. However, this is my personal biased opinion, so I would like to see the rationale behind the opposite view. One argument I have heard is that school build up a database of GPAs from a certain school and classes (from the comments to this question), so I can see how this might be considered mildly accurate.
This is similar to this question, consequently if the response is similar, I will not be surprised. I'm applying to a researched focused engineering program, but a developed answer with respect to multiple faculties and multiple types of programs would be ideal.