Complaints in schools: new recourse for parents and students

  • August 30, 2023
  • Education, Family
Young student sitting in class and writing in a notebook on her desk

From now on, anyone who is dissatisfied with the services of a public or private educational institution in Québec can file a complaint with a regional student ombudsman. Here’s what you need to know.

Since August 28, 2023, the complaint processing procedure in effect in school environments involves:

Which educational environments?

This new recourse is accessible to students who attend an educational institution within the jurisdiction of:

Students who are homeschooled can also file a complaint about the services they receive or should receive from the school service centre responsible for them.

What kinds of problems?

For example:

Three steps at most

If there is a problem, begin by contacting the person directly concerned within the school (principal, teacher, non-teaching professional, support staff) or that person’s superior. This can be done verbally, but it is always suggested that you do so in writing.   The person has 10 working days to respond to you.

Has the deadline expired or are you dissatisfied with the answer you received? Contact the person in charge of processing complaints within the school service centre, the school board or the private educational institution concerned. Your oral or written complaint will be processed within 15 working days.

Are you still dissatisfied with the outcome or has the deadline expired? Contact the regional student ombudsman in your territory at 1-833-420-5233 or by email. Regional student ombudsmen have 20 working days to process your complaint and send their recommendations to the National Student Ombudsman.

The National Student Ombudsman has 5 working days to inform regional student ombudsmen of whether it intends to make its own recommendations. It then has 10 working days to examine your complaint and to substitute its recommendations for those of the regional student ombudsman.

What happens next?

The school service centre, school board or private educational institution has 10 working days to act on the recommendations.

Please note: the law prohibits any reprisal measure against anyone who, in good faith, files a complaint with a regional student ombudsman.