September 8, 2017

Bill 144 – Act to amend the Education Act and other legislative provisions concerning mainly free educational services and compulsory school attendance

Corps

In a letter to the Committee on Culture and Education, the Québec Ombudsman commented on Bill 144 – Act to amend the Education Act and other legislative provisions concerning mainly free educational services and compulsory school attendance.

More specifically, the Québec Ombudsman’s comments were about the recommendations it made in two special reports, one on homeschooling, and the other on access to public education for children with a precarious immigration status.

Homeschooling

The Québec Ombudsman agrees with the proposed amendments and will follow with interest the overhaul of the normative and administrative framework for homeschooling. The framework will specify by regulation the responsibilities of school boards and the means by which they will fulfill them. Special attention will be paid to the evaluation of children’s learning and the procedure in the event of litigation with parents, notably to regularize the situation of children who are not exempted from school attendance.

Access to public education for children with a precarious immigration status

While acknowledging the improvements proposed by the Bill, the Québec Ombudsman is critical that certain categories of students will still have to pay fees to attend elementary or secondary school. It therefore urges the legislator to favour the most inclusive approach possible so that children who ordinarily reside in Québec, even if this is not the case for the person having parental authority, benefit from free education.