Bill 15 on Parental Rights

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Parent educators have expressed concern about Bill 15, which seeks to amend the Youth Protection Act and its explanatory notes.

AQED has sought legal advice, which indicates that there are no proposed changes that explicitly address home education, or provisions that address educational neglect and school attendance. Some of the changes may impact parent educators, but only in a general way, as parents.

The proposal seeks to add a new section to the law entitled Parents’ Responsibilities:

” 11.4. An intervention made in respect of a child under this Act does not deprive his parents of the rights conferred on them and does not relieve them of their obligations under the Civil Code as the persons having parental authority, unless a provision of this Act provides otherwise.

Consequently, the parents, in particular:

(a) have, the rights and duties of custody, supervision and education of their children;

(b) shall maintain their children; and

(c) exercise parental authority together.

” 11.5. The parents must, whenever possible, take an active part in implementing the measures designed to put an end to and prevent the recurrence of the situation in which the security or development of their child is in danger. “

In practice, this is not a big change, as parents are already expected to be responsible and actively involved in the implementation of these measures. However, the new law will be more explicit in this regard. It would be easier to interpret, for example, that it is the parents’ responsibility to find out about exam dates or to apply for exemption from compulsory school attendance.

Other general changes may have implications for court intervention: 

  • The bill establishes systemic legal representation for children and provides for the possibility of an agreement or settlement with only one parent.1
  • The Bill also proposes a relaxed approach to the disclosure of confidential information.2

There is a provision in the rights section dealing with the child’s right to receive adequate services from a school-based organization that seems puzzling. Section 9 of the bill proposes a reorganization of section 8 of the act and the addition of “…and with the required intensity”. We do not know what the legislature is trying to address. It may be useful to see what, if any, debate has taken place on this issue or what, if any, comments have been made by elected officials. AQED will be discussing this with elected officials to understand the intent behind the choice of words.

In summary, Bill 15 does not appear to explicitly target homeschooling families. AQED will continue to monitor the implementation of the legislation and its impact on our community.


1Bill 15, s.45: replaced s. 76.3 in the Youth Protection Act
2Bill 15, s. 6: replaced s. 4 with new s. 4.5 in the Youth Protection Act