Homeschool Laws in Ontario

Homeschooling is Legal

Link to Homeschool Laws in Ontario:

Compulsory Attendance:

Ontario Education Act Section 21(1)

Ages: Children that attain the age of 6 years by the first day of school in any year until age 18 or having obtained a secondary school graduation diploma or equivalent.

Days: Not specified.

Subjects: Not specified.

Homeschool Statutes:

None – On June 17, 2002, the Ministry of Education released Policy/Program Memorandum No.131. It was addressed to school boards/officials and sought to clear up the confusion that existed between the school boards and home educators as to who was responsible for determining whether a child is receiving “satisfactory instruction” at home. PPM 131 makes it abundantly clear that “satisfactory instruction” should be assumed to be taking place in the homeschool setting. PPM 131 is not a statute or regulation and, therefore, does not have the full force of law.

Teacher Qualifications: None

Standardized Tests: None

PPM 131 information may be requested by school boards, but this is a policy, not law or regulation. Policy/Program Memorandum No.131

Alternative Statutes Allowing for Homeschools:

Ontario Education Act Section 21(2)(a): Provides that a child is excused from attendance if “receiving satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere”.

1. If there is a disagreement between the parent and school board as to whether the child is receiving “satisfactory instruction” and therefore excused from compulsory attendance, the Education Act requires an inquiry to be held.

2. Such inquiry into the validity of the reason for non-attendance at school may only be ordered by the provincial attendance counsellor and conducted by a person or persons who are not employees of a school board. (Section 24(2) Education Act).

3. In Lambton County Board of Education v. Beauchamp 1O R.F.L. 354, the court has stated that in order to establish the fact that the child is not receiving “satisfactory instruction” it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the parent is failing in this area. “The educational authorities must conclusively prove their case through the introduction of substantial, detailed and expert testimony if necessary”. “Satisfactory instruction” is not defined by the Education Act.

4. The Supreme Court of Canada in Alder v. Ontario (Dec. 1996) stated that section 21 of the Education Act mandates compulsory education but not compulsory school attendance.

5. The wording of s.21(2)(a) of the Education Act allows parents to enroll their children in “private schools” that have home based classrooms. Nothing in the Act requires students enrolled in a private school to be taught at the same location. While private schools escape the intensive scrutiny of the school boards, they must file an annual “notice of intention to operate”, furnish statistics and submit to inspections.

Public To Home?

Letter of Intent: If you are removing children from a school, we recommend you write a letter to your school board telling of your intention to continue your child(ren)’s education elsewhere. If you have never sent your children to school, there is no need to inform anyone. However, feel free to do so if you wish. The sample letter listed below (Appendix B) provides the minimally requested information (name, gender, and date of birth).

Membership in HSLDA – Home School Legal Defense Association may provide legal services regarding some charges arising from homeschooling. These occasions are much fewer and far between than during the past history of home education, as the general public becomes more aware and accepting of home education.  HSLDA also provides access to a liability insurance provider (additional fee) for homeschool events your children may participate in.

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