Bill 52, Education Amendment Act (Learning to Age 18), 2006

Wynne, Hon Kathleen O. Minister of Education

Current Status: Royal Assent received Chapter Number: S.O. 2006 C.28

Viewing: Royal Assent (current version) pdf

Bill 52 2006

An Act to amend the Education Act respecting pupil learning to the age of 18 and equivalent learning

Note: This Act amends the Education Act. For the legislative history of the Act, see Public Statutes - Detailed Legislative History on www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.

Preamble

The people of Ontario and their Government:

Believe that all secondary school pupils deserve a strong education system that provides them with a good outcome and prepares them for a successful future in their destination of choice, whether that is a work placement with training, an apprenticeship, college or university;

Recognize that the education system must challenge and engage pupils with differing learning styles and make learning more relevant to them;

Recognize that the education system must continue to provide broad supports so pupils can succeed and graduate;

Understand the education system needs to instil in young people a lasting, positive attitude toward learning that will keep them motivated to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18;

Believe pupils must have a real choice through equivalent ways of learning that meet the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma;

Recognize the importance of providing pupils with academic preparation as well as skills that will prepare them for the workplace;

Understand that motivating pupils to stay in school depends on the combined efforts of educators, parents, employers and the wider community;

Recognize that each student deserves opportunities that build on their interests and that recognize their individual strengths; by building on the creativity and strength of Ontario's education system and by forging links with the wider community, we can create an environment committed to the success of every student; one that focuses on providing the care and support that each student needs to reach their potential;

Affirm that no initiative is more essential to the province's future than a plan that ensures young people keep learning until they graduate or turn 18, whether it is in classroom or through equivalent learning opportunities, such as an apprenticeship or workplace training program;

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Education Act

1.  (1)  Subsection 1 (1) of the Education Act is amended by adding the following definitions:

"driver's licence" has the same meaning as in the Highway Traffic Act; ("permis de conduire")

"equivalent learning" means a learning situation that falls outside the instruction traditionally provided by a board, that is approved under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection 8 (1) and for which a pupil's success can be reasonably evaluated; ("apprentissage équivalent")

(2)  Subsection 1 (2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

When authority or obligation of parent vests in pupil

(2)  Where by or under this Act any authority or right is vested in, or any obligation is imposed upon, or any reimbursement may be made to, a parent or guardian of a pupil, such authority, right, obligation or reimbursement shall be vested in or imposed upon or made, as the case may be,

(a) to the pupil, if he or she is 18 years old or older; and

(b) with respect to a pupil who is at least 16 years old but under 18 years old, to the pupil in such circumstances or for such purposes as may be prescribed by the regulations.

2.  (1)  Subsection 8 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

equivalent learning

3.0.1 establish policies, guidelines and standards with respect to equivalent learning and may,

i. require that boards develop and offer equivalent learning opportunities to their pupils in accordance with the policies, guidelines or standards,

ii. subject to subsection (2), in accordance with criteria set out in the policies, guidelines or standards, designate groups, organizations or entities that are approved to provide equivalent learning to pupils of a board,

iii. in accordance with criteria set out in the policies, guidelines or standards, designate programs, courses of study or other activities that are approved for the purposes of equivalent learning;

(2)  Subsection 8 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

agreements concerning equivalent learning

24.1 subject to subsection (2), enter into an agreement with one or more groups, organizations or entities respecting the provision of equivalent learning to pupils of one or more boards;

(3)  Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Minister's duties re equivalent learning

(2)  In determining whether to approve an organization or entity under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection (1) to provide equivalent learning and in entering agreements for the provision of equivalent learning under paragraph 24.1 of that subsection, the Minister shall have regard to the need to ensure that a pupil who participates in equivalent learning will not, by so doing, receive educational benefits of a lesser quality than those provided in the traditional education system.

Restriction re credits for equivalent learning

(2.1)  The Minister may not, in the exercise of his or her authority under subsection (1), authorize any person other than the principal of a school to issue a credit to a pupil for his or her participation in equivalent learning.

3.  Subsection 11 (8) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Regulations: excusal from compulsory attendance

(8)  Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the Minister may make regulations governing the excusal of persons who are at least 14 years old from compulsory attendance at school under Part II.

Same

(8.1)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (8), a regulation made under that subsection may,

(a) prescribe conditions under which and establish procedures by which a person may be excused from attendance at school;

(b) prescribe programs or other activities that participation in which will permit a person to be excused from attendance at school;

(c) prescribe criteria or standards for programs or other activities that participation in which will permit a person to be excused from attendance at school and establish procedures for determining whether the criteria or standards are satisfied.

Regulations: when authority of parent vests in pupil

(8.2)  Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the Minister may make regulations, for the purposes of clause 1 (2) (b), prescribing the circumstances in which or purposes for which an authority or right shall be vested in, an obligation imposed upon or a reimbursement made to a pupil who is at least 16 years old but under 18 years old.

4.  Section 18 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Definition of "guardian": ss. 21, 24, 26, 28, 30

18.  In sections 21, 24, 26, 28 and 30,

"guardian", in addition to having the meaning ascribed in section 1, includes anyone who has received into his or her home a person, other than his or her own child, of compulsory school age and that person resides with him or her or is in his or her care.

5.  (1)  Subsections 21 (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Compulsory attendance

(1)  Unless excused under this section,

(a) every person who attains the age of six years on or before the first school day in September in any year shall attend an elementary or secondary school on every school day from the first school day in September in that year until the person attains the age of 18 years; and

(b) every person who attains the age of six years after the first school day in September in any year shall attend an elementary or secondary school on every school day from the first school day in September in the next succeeding year until the last school day in June in the year in which the person attains the age of 18 years.

Participation in equivalent learning

(1.1)  A person shall be considered to be attending school when he or she is participating in equivalent learning if the equivalent learning program, course of study or other activity and the group, organization or entity providing it have been approved under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection 8 (1).

When attendance excused

(2)  A person is excused from attendance at school if,

(a) the person is receiving satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere;

(b) the person is unable to attend school by reason of sickness or other unavoidable cause;

(c) transportation is not provided by a board for the person and there is no school that he or she has a right to attend situated,

(i) within 1.6 kilometres from the person's residence measured by the nearest road if he or she has not attained the age of seven years on or before the first school day in September in the year in question, or

(ii) within 3.2 kilometres from the person's residence measured by the nearest road if he or she has attained the age of seven years but not the age of 10 years on or before the first school day in September in the year in question, or

(iii) within 4.8 kilometres from the person's residence measured by the nearest road if he or she has attained the age of 10 years on or before the first school day in September in the year in question;

(d) the person has obtained a secondary school graduation diploma or has completed a course that gives equivalent standing;

(e) the person is absent from school for the purpose of receiving instruction in music and the period of absence does not exceed one-half day in any week;

(f) the person is suspended, expelled or excluded from attendance at school under any Act or under the regulations;

(g) the person is absent on a day regarded as a holy day by the church or religious denomination to which he or she belongs; or

(h) the person is absent or excused as authorized under this Act and the regulations.

Blind, deaf or developmental disability

(3)  The fact that a person is blind, deaf or has a developmental disability is not of itself an unavoidable cause under clause (2) (b).

Person under compulsory age

(4)  Where a person under compulsory school age has been enrolled as a pupil in an elementary school, this section applies during the period for which the person is enrolled as if he or she were of compulsory school age.

Duty of parent, etc.

(5)  The parent or guardian of a person who is required to attend school under this section shall cause the person to attend school as required by this section unless the person is at least 16 years old and has withdrawn from parental control.

(2)  Section 21 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Persons 16 and over - religious rights

(7)  Nothing in this section requires a person who is at least 16 years old and has withdrawn from parental control to attend,

(a) a Roman Catholic separate school, if he or she is qualified under section 36 to be a resident pupil in respect of a secondary school district of a public board; and

(b) a public school, if he or she is qualified under section 36 to be a resident pupil in respect of a separate school zone of a separate district school board.

6.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Transition, person who has already left school

21.1  (1)  In this section,

"changeover date" means the day subsection 5 (1) of the Education Amendment Act (Learning to Age 18), 2006 comes into force.

Same

(2)  Subsection 21 (1), as it reads on the day before the changeover date, continues to apply on the changeover date with respect to a person who, before that day, turns 16 and,

(a) stops attending school; or

(b) if that day falls outside the school year, does not attend school at the commencement of the subsequent school year.

Same

(3)  Despite subsection (2), if at any time after the changeover date a person described in subsection (2) begins attending school again, subsection 21 (1), as it reads on the changeover date, subsequently applies with respect to that person.

Same

(4)  For greater certainty, subsection 21 (1), as it reads on the changeover date, applies on and after that day with respect to a person who, before that day, turns 16 and,

(a) does not stop attending school; or

(b) if that day does not fall within a school year, attends school at the commencement of the subsequent school year.

7.  (1)  Subsections 30 (1), (2) and (3) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Offences: non-attendance

Liability of parent or guardian

(1)  A parent or guardian of a person required to attend school under section 21 who neglects or refuses to cause that person to attend school is, unless the person is 16 years old or older, guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $200.

Bond for attendance

(2)  The court may, in addition to or instead of imposing a fine, require a parent or guardian convicted of an offence under subsection (1) to submit to the Minister of Finance a personal bond, in a form prescribed by the court, in the penal sum of $200 with one or more sureties as required, conditioned that the parent or guardian shall cause the person to attend school as required under section 21 and, upon breach of the condition, the bond is forfeit to the Crown.

Employment during school hours

(3)  Anyone who employs during school hours a person required to attend school under section 21 is, unless the person is 16 years old or older, guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $200.

(2)  Subsections 30 (1), (2) and (3) of the Act, as re-enacted by subsection (1), are repealed and the following substituted:

Offences: non-attendance

Liability of parent or guardian

(1)  A parent or guardian of a person required to attend school under section 21 who neglects or refuses to cause that person to attend school is, unless the person is at least 16 years old and has withdrawn from parental control, guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000.

Bond for attendance

(2)  The court may, in addition to or instead of imposing a fine, require a parent or guardian convicted of an offence under subsection (1) to submit to the Minister of Finance a personal bond, in a form prescribed by the court, in the penal sum of $1,000 with one or more sureties as required, conditioned that the parent or guardian shall cause the person to attend school as required under section 21 and, upon breach of the condition, the bond is forfeit to the Crown.

Employment during school hours

(3)  Subject to subsection (3.1), anyone who employs during school hours a person required to attend school under section 21 is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000.

Exception

(3.1)  Subsection (3) does not apply when the person required to attend school is employed during school hours as part of equivalent learning if the equivalent learning and the group, organization or entity providing it have been approved under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection 8 (1).

(3)  Subsection 30 (5) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Habitually absent from school

(5)  A person who is required by law to attend school and who refuses to attend or who is habitually absent from school is, unless the person is 16 years old or older, guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to the penalties under Part VI of the Provincial Offences Act and subsection 266 (2) of this Act applies in any proceeding under this section.

(4)  Subsection 30 (5) of the Act, as re-enacted by subsection (3), is repealed and the following substituted:

Habitually absent from school

(5)  A person who is required to attend school under section 21 and who refuses to attend or is habitually absent is guilty of an offence and for that purpose the following apply:

1. Subsection 266 (2) of this Act applies in a proceeding under this subsection.

2. A proceeding under this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with Part VI of the Provincial Offences Act.

3. Every reference to "sixteen years" in the definition of "young person" in section 93 of the Provincial Offences Act shall be read as a reference to "18 years".

4. A court may, on convicting a person of an offence under this subsection, impose any penalty under Part VI of the Provincial Offences Act.

Additional penalty: driver's licence suspension

(5.1)  In addition to any other penalty it imposes on convicting a person of an offence under subsection (5), a court may order that the person's driver's licence be suspended and for that purpose the following apply:

1. The order shall specify a date on which the suspension ends, which shall be no later than the date on which the person is no longer required to attend school under section 21.

2. Once the suspension ends, the person may apply for the reinstatement of his or her licence to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles appointed under the Highway Traffic Act.

(5)  Section 30 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(6.1)  No proceeding under subsection (5) shall be instituted against a person who has attained the age of 18 years.

(6)  Subsection 30 (7) of the Act is amended by striking out "child" and substituting "person".

8.  (1)  Subsection 36 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(a.1) subject to any regulations made under section 43.3, the person is 16 or 17 years of age, has withdrawn from parental control and resides in the secondary school district;

(2)  Clause 36 (1) (c) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(c) the person is not a supporter of any board, is at least 18 years of age and resides in the secondary school district.

(3)  Subsection 36 (2) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(a.1) subject to any regulations made under section 43.3, the person is 16 or 17 years of age, has withdrawn from parental control, is a French-speaking person and resides in the secondary school district;

(4)  Clause 36 (2) (c) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(c) the person is a French-speaking person, is not a supporter of any board, is at least 18 years of age and resides in the secondary school district.

(5)  Subsection 36 (3) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(a.1) subject to any regulations made under section 43.3, the person is 16 or 17 years of age, has withdrawn from parental control, is a Roman Catholic and resides in the separate school zone;

(6)  Clause 36 (3) (c) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(c) the person is a Roman Catholic, is not a supporter of any board, is at least 18 years of age and resides in the secondary school district.

(7)  Subsection 36 (4) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(a.1) subject to any regulations made under section 43.3, the person is 16 or 17 years of age, has withdrawn from parental control, is a French-speaking person and a Roman Catholic and resides in the separate school zone;

(8)  Clause 36 (4) (c) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(c) the person is a French-speaking person and a Roman Catholic, is not a supporter of any board, is at least 18 years of age and resides in the secondary school district.

9.  Subsection 42 (13) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Additional exemptions

(13)  In addition to the exemptions provided for in subsection (11), no person who is qualified to be a resident pupil in respect of a secondary school operated by a public board who attends a secondary school operated by a Roman Catholic board shall be required to take part in any program or course of study in religious education on written application to the Board of,

(a) the parent or guardian of the person;

(b) in the case of a person who is 16 or 17 years old who has withdrawn from parental control, the person himself or herself;

(c) in the case of a person who is 18 years old or older, the person himself or herself.

10.  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Regulations: attendance rights of 16 and 17 year olds

43.3  (1)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing circumstances in which a person who would otherwise be qualified as a resident pupil under clauses 36 (1) (a.1), 36 (2) (a.1), 36 (3) (a.1) and 36 (4) (a.1) shall not be so qualified.

General or particular

(2)  A regulation under this section may be general or particular.

11.  Subsection 170 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

equivalent learning

7.3 in accordance with any policies, guidelines or standards issued under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection 8 (1), develop and offer equivalent learning opportunities to their pupils;

12.  (1)  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Agreements re equivalent learning

189.1  (1)  Subject to subsection (2), one or more boards may enter into an agreement with one or more groups, organizations or entities approved under paragraph 3.0.1 of subsection 8 (1) to provide for equivalent learning opportunities for pupils of the board or boards and every such agreement shall address such matters and include such requirements as the Minister may specify.

Minister's approval

(2)  Prior to entering into an agreement, a board shall submit the proposed agreement to the Minister for his or her approval.

(2)  On the later of the day subsection (1) comes into force and July 1, 2008, subsection 189.1 (2) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), is repealed and the following substituted:

Minister's approval

(2)  The Minister may require boards to submit proposed agreements for his or her approval before entering into them.

13.  Clause 230 (a) of the Act is amended by striking out "paragraph 2 or 3" and substituting "paragraph 2, 3 or 3.0.1".

Commencement and Short Title

Commencement

14.  (1)  Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Same

(2)  Sections 2 and 3, subsections 7 (2), (4) and (5) and sections 11, 12 and 13 come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

15.  The short title of this Act is the Education Amendment Act (Learning to Age 18), 2006.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This Explanatory Note was written as a reader's aid to Bill 52 and does not form part of the law. Bill 52 has been enacted as Chapter 28 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2006.

The Education Act is amended to raise the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 and to enable the development of learning opportunities for pupils that fall outside the instruction traditionally provided by a board, termed "equivalent learning" in the Act.

Certain other amendments are made to the Education Act that relate generally to the changes described above, such as the following:

1. Regulations may be made prescribing circumstances in which a right or obligation that normally rests with the parent or guardian of a pupil who is under 18 will instead rest with a pupil if he or she is at least 16 years old.

2. The Minister may establish policies, guidelines and standards with respect to equivalent learning and require boards to develop and offer equivalent learning opportunities to their pupils. The Minister may designate groups, organizations and entities and programs, courses of study or other activities that are approved for the purposes of equivalent learning. The Minister and boards may both enter into agreements with other parties regarding the provision of equivalent learning to board pupils.

3. The fines for offences related to non-attendance at school set out in section 30 are raised from $200 to $1,000.

4. When a person of compulsory school age is charged with being habitually absent from school, the proceeding is conducted in accordance with Part VI (Young Persons) of the Provincial Offences Act and, for that purpose, Part VI of that Act shall be read as if it applies to persons under 18 years old (it normally applies to persons under 16 years old).

5. A court is empowered to order the suspension of a driver's licence of a person who is convicted of being habitually absent from school. The person's licence would be reinstated no later than the date on which the person is no longer required to attend school under section 21 of the Act.

6. The right to become qualified as a resident pupil is extended in section 36 to persons who are 16 or 17 years old and have withdrawn from parental control and to persons who are at least 18 years old.

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