Home Education Legalities in Quebec
Already among the least homeschool-friendly provinces in Canada, a change to Quebec’s homeschooling laws was implemented in July 2018 with strict requirements and oversight of homeschooling families. Having been consulted during the drafting process, the homeschooling community had been able to help the government somewhat understand the need for flexibility and support, including the option to show portfolios instead of making children take standardized tests, and many were therefore willing to come into compliance with the registration requirement.
However, the new government’s Education Minister, Jean-François Roberge, did not wait for the previous government’s new requirements to prove their efficacy in addressing the concerns it was intended to address. Instead, in March 2019, he put forth a proposal to implement even stricter changes to the regulations, including mandatory participation in the ministerial exams instead of the option to use portfolio assessments. At the time of this writing, everything is still up in the air, but it would appear his proposal will be going forward, in spite of the very active protests by the homeschooling community.
I will try my best to keep pace with the changes so as to keep this page up to date. Meanwhile, until Roberge’s changes go into effect, the 2018 laws and regulations still stand as follows:
Section 14 of the Education Act relates to the age of compulsory attendance. It goes from the first day of the school year that starts after the child has turned 6, to the last day of the school year in which the child turns 16, “or at the end of which he [sic] obtains a diploma awarded by the Minister, whichever occurs first.”
Section 15 lists exemptions from compulsory school attendance, with subsections 4a, 4b, 4c, and 4d relating to homeschooling. Under this section, a student is exempt from attendance if they are receiving “appropriate homeschooling,” provided the following conditions are met:
(a) a written notice to that effect is sent by his parents to the Minister and to the school board that has jurisdiction;
(b) a learning project to impart knowledge to the student, foster his social development and give him qualifications, by the development of basic skills, including literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills, and by the learning of French, is submitted to the Minister and implemented by his parents;
(c) the Minister monitors the homeschooling; and
d) any other conditions or procedures determined by government regulation are complied with, including conditions or procedures relating to the characteristics of the learning project, the annual evaluation of the child’s progress, and the process applicable in the event of problems related to the learning project or its implementation.
Section 17 deals with cases where there is a need to “regularize” a child’s educational situation, and gives school boards the directive to report cases to the director of youth protection when a child’s situation cannot be ascertained or regularized.
The Homeschooling Regulation provides greater detail about what parents and school boards must do, including what constitutes an acceptable learning program. Section 4 outlines two options from parents may choose:
The student’s learning project must
(1) provide for the application of the programs of study established by the Minister under section 461 of the Act, include the activities or content prescribed by the Minister in the broad areas of learning the Minister establishes under that section, and provide for the taking of the examinations imposed by the Minister under the first paragraph of section 463 of the Act and by the school board that has jurisdiction under the second paragraph of section 231 of the Act, on the basis of what would be included in the educational services received by the student if the student were attending a school; or
(2) otherwise consist of varied and stimulating activities conducive to the acquisition of a body of knowledge and skills, including the learning of the French language, another language and mathematics as well as at least one subject belonging to each of the following areas of learning:
(a) mathematics, science and technology;
(c) human development;
(d) in the case of a student who is 9 years of age on the date of the beginning of implementation of the learning project, social sciences.