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Education Law Frequently Asked Questions

The Kingston Community Legal Clinic thanks the Queen’s Law Pro Bono Students Canada chapter 2011 for creating the following frequently asked questions.

What can a student do if they have been suspended or expelled?

In Ontario, a suspension or expulsion may be appealed.

If suspended, you must send a written appeal request to the supervisory officer of the school board within 10 school days of the start of the suspension.1 For information on the Limestone District School Board’s suspension procedures and appeal process, go to: http://www.limestone.on.ca/board/documents

If expelled, you may appeal to a tribunal within 30 days after you receive the expulsion notice. All relevant information on how to appeal will be included in the expulsion notice.2 For information on the Limestone District School Board’s expulsion procedures and appeal process, go to: http://www.limestone.on.ca/board/documents

For general information regarding expulsion and suspension, see the Government of Ontario website, http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/safeschools

How long can a suspension last?

The minimum duration of a suspension is one school day and the maximum duration is 20 school days.3

How long can an expulsion last?

Expulsions can last for an indefinite period of time.4

Can anyone search a student’s locker?

Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) states that everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. At school, a principal may, in maintaining order and discipline, search a student or locker. However, school authorities must have reasonable grounds to believe there has been a breach of school regulations and the search being undertaken will reveal evidence of that breach. Random or arbitrary searches or searches based on groundless suspicion will likely contravene the Charter.5

What services must a school provide to a student with physical or mental disabilities?

Students with physical or mental disabilities are recognized as “exceptional pupils” in Ontario.6 Exceptional pupils must be provided with the facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary and appropriate for that pupil’s apparent strengths and needs. It is the duty of a school board to either provide these programs and services, or enter an agreement with another board to ensure the needs of exceptional children in their district are met.7 For more information on the services and programs offered by the Limestone District School Board, go to:

Are foreign credentials recognized in Canada?

Determining whether and how foreign credentials are recognized in Canada depends on the particular qualifications and the type of occupation they pertain to. For instance, if the occupation is regulated, recognition is determined by a regulatory body. If the occupation in question is not regulated, often the recognition of qualifications may be based on the discretion of the employer. For more information, see:

Do all students have to attend school?

Yes. It is illegal for children between the ages of 6 and 16 not to be in school. If your 17th birthday is between the first day of school and December 31st, you may stop attending school at the end of the school year. However, if you turn 18 between January first and the end of August, you can stop attending school on your 18th birthday.8

Can a school set minimum attendance standards?

You must attend school every day, subject to a few exceptions such as illness, religious holidays, or if you are participating in equivalent learning, etc.9 Anyone under 16 who refuses to attend or is habitually absent from school can be charged with truancy.10

Are there childcare services available for students who have children?

If you have a child and wish to remain in school, there are several government programs and subsidies designed to help pay for childcare services. Information about these programs may be found on the government of Ontario website, at:

1. Safe Schools,"Suspension and Expulsion: What Parents need
    to Know
", online: Ontario Ministry of Education     <http://www.edu.gov.on.ca>.

2. Ibid

3. Education Act, RSO 1990, c E-2 s 306(4).

4. Supra, note 1.

5.TDSB Operational Procedures, “Search and Seizure”, online:    Toronto District School Board <http://www.tdsb.on.ca>.

6. Supra, note 3 at s 1.

7. Ibid, at s 170(1).

8. Justice for Children and Youth, “Your age & the law”, online:     CLEONet <http://www.cleonet.ca>.

9. Supra, note 3 at s 21.

10. Ibid, “Do I have the right to attend school”. Supra, note 3      at s 30.



Nov 10, 2017

Annual General Meeting 2017

Mary Birdsell, Executive Director, Justice for Children & Youth is our guest speaker. The topic is education rights.

Oct 16, 2017

Your Education Rights

Kingston Community Legal Clinic, in conjunction with TAG - The Action Group on Access to Justice, invites you to a free seminar on the legal rights of children in schools, as part of Access to Justice Week 2017

Jul 20, 2017

Education Law Blog

Students' Right Against Search and Seizure

Jul 06, 2017

Education Law Blog

Expulsion Part IV - Program for Expelled Students

Jun 23, 2017

Education Law Blog

Expulsion Part III - Mitigating Factors