Frequently asked questions

Complaints and Student Ombudsman

The first thing to do is to try to resolve the situation with the people directly involved (teacher, daycare staff, etc.) or with the immediate concerned management personnel, be it the school principal or the head of service.

The person who receives the complaint has 10 working days to reply.

If you are still dissatisfied with how the complaint is being handled, or if the 10-day deadline has expired, you must contact the person responsible for processing complaints within the school service centre, the school board or the private educational institution.

This step may be done verbally, but it is better if it is in writing.

The complaint is processed within 15 working days.

The person in charge of processing complaints must, within 15 working days after receiving the complaint, give the complainant and the person directly concerned by the complaint a written opinion on the merits of the complaint and specify any corrective measures the person in charge considers appropriate.
The person in charge of processing complaints must, before giving an opinion on the merits of the complaint, give the complainant and the person directly concerned by the complaint or the person’s immediate supervisor the opportunity to be heard and, where applicable, invite the person or the person’s supervisor to remedy the situation which gave rise to the complaint.

A section dedicated to that purpose should be accessible from the home page of the website of each educational institution.

You can ask the Secretary General of your school service center or school board for assistance.

The National Student Ombudsman and regional student ombudsmen see that the rights of students, homeschooled children, and their parents, are respected with regard to the services the school service centre provides to them.

  • Phone and text message available (# available in Quebec only): 1-833-420-5233

You can find information about bullying here, including resources to support your child and proper actions to take if your child is subjected of violence or bullying at school.

Reprisals are prohibited against a person who, in good faith, makes a report or files a complaint, cooperates in the processing of a report or complaint or accompanies a person who makes a report or files a complaint in accordance with the Act Respecting the National Student Ombudsman.
It is also prohibited to threaten to take a reprisal against a person to dissuade them from performing an act described in the previous paragraph.

Special Needs Students

The term “special needs students” is used to describe handicapped students or students with social maladjustments or learning disabilities.

This stage is particularly crucial for students with special needs. Please refer to page 3 of the Handbook for parents of children with special needs for more information.

The first person to talk to is your child’s teacher. If your concerns persist after talking to the teacher, contact the school principal.

In general terms, an individualized education plan, or IEP, is a tool designed to meet the specific needs of a child who faces particular challenges. Please refer to page 9 of the Handbook for parents of children with special needs for more information.

All of the individuals concerned get together, either physically or via videoconference. The meeting is usually presided over by the principal of your child’s school. The participants introduce themselves and explain their respective roles, and someone is assigned to write down the decisions that are made during meeting. Please refer to page 10 of the Handbook for parents of children with special needs for more information.

You can start by stablishing a profile of your child, including his or her abilities, needs and limitations. This profile will make it easier to identify your child’s needs and implement measures that are adapted to his or her situation. Learn more in the Handbook for parents of children with special needs, page 11.

You should talk to the school principal first. If you are still unsatisfied with the responses given to you, then you can contact you school service center’s or school board’s complaints service. Please refer to page 13 of the Handbook for parents of children with special needs.

Known variably as the SNAC (special needs advisory committee) or ACSES (advisory committee on special education services), this committee is present in every school service center or school board. The committee advises the school board on such matters as the policy for the organization of educational services to handicapped students and students with social maladjustments or learning disabilities and the allocation of financial resources to the services intended for these students. It can also give advice on the implementation of an individualized education plan for a student. Please refer to your school service center’s or school board’s web site to learn more.

Parent’s Financial Contributions

  • The governing board approves all financial contributions, as proposed by the school principal, for services provided within the scope of special school projects and for things like school activities, teaching material, lunch time supervision, etc. Some of these are developed in collaboration with teachers.
  • The governing board must implement measures to ensure that each student has access to all services, activities or materials for which a financial contribution is required.
  • Before approving a contribution, the governing board must take into consideration any other contributions it has approved or that are being proposed.

Education Act, sections 3, 7, 75.0.1, 77.1 and 96.15

Yes, the school can ask parents for a voluntary donation. However, no amount for voluntary donations must be included in the total payable amount appearing on the invoice submitted to parents.      

Refer to the MEMORY AID on financial contributions for more information.

Yes and No:

  • Yes, for photocopies of documents in which students write, draw, or cut out.
  • No for photocopied texts, reproductions of copyrighted material such as sheet music and any other reprographic material that replaces or supplements a textbook.

Refer to the MEMORY AID on financial contributions for more information.

Yes and No:

  • Yes, for a standard or scientific calculator
  • No, for a graphic calculator

Refer to the MEMORY AID on financial contributions for more information.

Yes, but only for certain services:

  • certification by an outside body to carry out the project
  • the issuing to the student of a certificate by an outside body within the scope of the project
  • the school coordination required to allow the carrying out of the project
  • the participation of a coach or other specialist not acting as a teacher in a study program
  • the renting of a sports facility or of premises required for the carrying out of a project
  • specialized material specifically required for the carrying out of a special school project, or for the maintenance of the material

Refer to the MEMORY AID on financial contributions for more information.

Parents’ Annual Assembly

Yes. This procedure could be used to motivate parents to prepare themselves for the assembly, but any punctual candidacy submitted during the assembly must be accepted.     

Yes. Any person who cannot be present can express their interest in a seat on the governing board by any available means (letter of proxy, email, text message, being represented by another parent, etc.).

They must be elected by the parents’ assembly. If, however, the assembly fails to elect a parent, it is then up to the parents on the governing board to designate one of their own to sit on the parent’s committee.

Education Act, section 47 and 189      

A school’s annual assembly is chaired by the governing board’s outgoing chairperson. The principal (or a representative of the school administration) may and should be present to provide guidance but does not have a formal role to play in the assembly. Positive cooperation between the school administration and the parent community is essential, so efforts must be made to keep relations healthy and non-confrontational. It is crucial for administrators, teachers and parents to work as a team.

At the following annual assembly. However, a draft report must be readily available to document the outcome of the elections.

By definition, parent commissioners must be members of the parents’ committee, whose members must be parent members of the governing board of the school they represent. Parent commissioners remain members of their governing board through to the end of their two-year term, even if this means that their governing board term must be extended. For example, a parent representative may be elected as a parent commissioner in the second year of their governing board term. Should this occur, the parent commissioner’s governing board term will be extended for another year.   

Governing Board

  • The Governing Board place a central role in the school by ensuring that all those concerned with the education of our youth work together toward common goals and for the harmonious development of the educational services offered by the school. To achieve these objectives, the governing board has powers over important matters concerning the school, the most important being the adoption of the school’s educational project.

    The Governing Board – At the Heart of the School   

Two conditions must be met: a parent must have a child attending the school at the time of their election, and must not be an employee of this school (regular or replacement). In addition, to be appointed chair of the governing board, a parent must not be an employee of the school service center or school board.

Education Act, sections 42 and 56     

Yes. Anyone who wishes to attend a governing board meeting can do so because all meetings are public.

Education Act, section 68

The governing board, which is made up of no more than 20 members, includes the following persons:

  • at least 4 parents of students attending the school who are not members of the school staff, elected by their peers;
  • at least 4 members of the school staff, including at least 2 teachers and, if the persons concerned so decide, at least one non-teaching staff member and at least one support staff member, elected by their peers;
  • in the case of a school providing education to students in the second cycle of the secondary level, two students in that cycle elected by the students enrolled at the secondary level or, as the case may be, appointed by the students’ committee or the association representing those students.
  • in the case of a school where childcare is organized for children at the preschool and elementary school level, a member of the staff assigned to childcare, elected by his or her peers.
  • two representatives of the community who are not members of the school staff, appointed by the members.

Education Act, section 42      

Where fewer than 60 students are enrolled in a school, the school service centre or school board may, after consulting with the parents of the students attending the school and with the school staff, vary the rules governing the composition of the governing board.

Education Act, section 44

The chair of the governing board sees to the proper operation of the board, presides at its meetings, and sees to their preparation jointly with the principal. The chair of the governing board is the board’s representative and, in that capacity, keeps the parents informed of the board’s activities.

Education Act, section 59

The role of a substitute is to replace members who are unable participate in a governing board meeting.

Education Act, section 47

There aren’t any specific criteria, but it is preferable to pick representatives of the community based on their potential contribution to the development and implementation of the educational project. Up to two community representatives can be appointed by resolution of the governing board.

By vote, either secret or by show of hands. If votes are equally divided, the chair has a casting vote. The school principal does not have the right to vote, nor do the representatives of the community.

Education Act, section 63      

The quorum for the governing board is two-fold: 1) the majority of members in office and 2) at least half of the parent representatives.

Education Act, section 61      

A parents’ assembly of the school must be convened to elect a representative to the parents’ committee as well as a substitute. This can be done quite simply by scheduling this special assembly the same evening as a governing board meeting. The assembly could be held 30 minutes ahead of the governing board meeting, for instance.

According to the Education Act, a community commissioner (i.e. a commissioner elected through a general election) cannot be member of a governing board, and therefore is not required to attend its meetings. A community commissioner can however attend as a member of the public and, at the discretion of the governing board’s chair, be allowed to report and participate in discussions, but they are not member of the board and cannot vote. Community commissioners have no authority over the governing board and its proceedings. It is important to note that the above restrictions do not apply to parent commissioners. Parent commissioners remain voting members of their respective governing boards and retain the same rights and responsibilities as other parent representatives.

Click here to learn more.

The governing board is responsible for approving the overall approach for the enrichment or adaptation by the teachers of the objectives and suggested content of the programs of studies established by the Minister and for the development of local programs of studies to meet the specific needs of the students at the school. If you wish to suggest a new program at your school, contact the principal of your school to submit your idea, along with a plan of how it could potentially be implemented. Another possible approach is to contact the governing board’s chairperson in order to open a dialogue with the school administration. Please note that new programs must be approved by the governing board, in collaboration with the school administration.

Education Act, section 85 and 89

Parents' Committee

The only standing entity made up exclusively of parents in Quebec’s public school network, the parents’ committee is tasked with promoting the parents’ participation in our children’s education. It must ensure that parents are present at all levels of the education system and work together to ensure that all children receive the best education. Composed of parents and dedicated to parents, the parents’ committee must endeavor to become, through its leadership, its dynamism, its members’ commitment and its initiatives to support parents, the focal point of parents’ participation in each community.

The Parents’ Committee – Focal Point of Parental Participation      

The parents’ committee is composed of one representative from each school, elected by the school’s parents’ assembly, and a parent representative from the advisory committee on services for handicapped students and students with social maladjustments or learning disabilities, designated by parents sitting on the committee.

Education Act, section 189

The Education Act does not provide any indication in this regard. It is therefore up to the parents’ committee to determine whether or not the public can attend its meetings in its rules of internal management.                

Yes, and in this case, they will have separate voting rights for each school they represent. However, if a vote were to favor one school over another, the representative should abstain from voting on behalf of either.

A new chair must be elected at the earliest future meeting of the parents’ committee. In the meantime, the vice-chair (or another member designated by the committee if there is no vice-chair) assumes the interim.

The budget is allocated to the parents’ committee for its operation. The Education Act does not give precise indications as to what is admissible or not, but in general, operating expenses may include those incurred for members’ participation (mileage, babysitting, etc.), for training (seminars, conferences, symposiums, etc.) and for volunteer parent support and recognition (dinners, etc.).

Education Act, section 197

There is no set rule or rate. The school service center or school board itself determines the amounts it allocates to the functioning of its committees.

Education Act, section 275.1 

Access to English Education

The Charter of the French Language states that all children must be educated in French in Québec until the end of their secondary studies, whether in a public school or a subsidized private school. However, the Charter does provide for certain special cases where children are permitted to pursue their preschool, elementary and secondary school education in English at English-language public schools or subsidized private schools.

Click here to learn more about instruction in English.

The Charter of the French Language distinguishes between three types of situations allowing eligibility for education in English education in Quebec:

  • that of children who are permanently established in Québec and who can obtain a declaration of eligibility for education in English;
  • that of children who are permanently established in Québec and who can receive education in English under a specific authorization;
  • that of children who are temporarily residing in Québec and who can obtain a temporary authorization to receive education in English.

Please note that the Québec Government requires that students in English-language private schools that are subsidized by the government have a Declaration of Eligibility.

Gouvernement du Québec, Eligibility: Who can attend a school that teaches in English?

To have a child declared eligible to receive an education in English, the parent or legal guardian of the child must apply to the school board or private school where he or she wishes to enroll the child to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility.

Click here to learn more about the application process.

A school board is the administrative body that oversees a community comprised of students, parents, teachers, professionals, support services, administrators, and commissioners in a specific territory. There are nine English-language school boards in the province of Québec, all of which promote excellence in public education.

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) represents the interest of parents to the Minister of Education and Higher Education.

You must first verify whether your child is eligible to obtain a certificate of eligibility.

Click here to learn more about the application process.

It is possible to get an exemption for your child with special needs so that they can enroll in an English-language school, even though they would not normally be eligible for education in English. Your child must fit into one of the following three categories:

  1. Children having serious learning disabilities demonstrated by a generalized academic delay of two or more years.
  2. Children having serious learning disabilities demonstrated by a delay of one year or more in written communication or mathematics, if the disabilities are caused by characterized dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysorthographia that is persistent despite corrective intervention by a specialized teacher; or
  3. Children having serious learning disabilities demonstrated by a language, perception and psychomotor disability caused by a mental deficiency or by a severe socio-affective maladjustment or by a physical or sensory impairment that is persistent despite corrective intervention by a professional within the meaning of the Professional Code (chapter C-26) who is certified to treat such an impairment or deficiency in children.

The first step is to make an inquiry to your school board. They will provide additional information regarding the steps required. Please note that this can be a long process and may require an independent evaluation of your child.

Click here to learn more about exemptions.

You can visit EPCA website and follow-up on social media

Would you like to contact us?

Des commentaires ? des suggestions ?