The Legality of Home Education in Québec
Home education is certainly legal in Québec. However, the only article of law that makes mention of this option is Section 15(4) of the Education Act, and this section of the law is subject to diverse interpretations.
Section 15(4) of the Education Act stipulates:
15. The following students are exempt from compulsory school attendance:
(4) a student who receives home schooling and benefits from an educational experience which, according to an evaluation made by or for the school board, are equivalent to what is provided at school. Following are some points to retain:
- the law does not require that parents hold certain qualifications;
- the law does not state that prior authorization or permission must be granted by the school board in order for children to be taught at home;
- there is no mention of mandatory home visits by a school board representative to evaluate the premises and/or educational materials and/or the children;
- school board policies and procedures do not have force of law;
- parents are not required to sign a contract;
- “evaluation” does not necessarily mean “exams”, at school or elsewhere.
Article 18 of the Education Act allows a school principal to file a complaint with Youth Protection Services (YPS) where a student is frequently absent from school without reason. This article should apply solely in situations of non motivated absences for a child who is registered at school and who should normally be in attendance. It has nothing to do with home education and administrative disputes between parent-educators and school administrators.
In actual application of the above for your particular situation,Home School Legal Defence Association of Canada (HSLDA) is in a position to assist you. HSLDA represents thousands of families across Canada, including hundreds in Québec, and counsels parents with regards to negotiations with school administrators and/or social workers. HSLDA’s work consists of discussing with parents what is required by law and how, in their particular context, they can meet these requirements while maintaining the greatest freedom possible for their homeschool. Since each family has is particularities, and HSLDA’s counsel is on a case-by-case basis and according to what the parents consider is best for their children, there is no set procedure that would necessarily be appropriate for all homeschooling families in general. This will also depend on individual school board policy as well as the attitude of school administrators towards the family, among other things.
It is strongly recommended that families become members of HSLDA before starting any negotiations with their school board, otherwise HSLDA may be limited in its intervention on their behalf. Families who benefit from HSLDA’s counsel from the outset of their negotiations often have less difficulty in having their rights respected.