Summary – Meeting with AQED members about the lawsuit against mandatory ministry exams.

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On March 9th, the committee on political and public action held a zoom meeting to update AQED members. 

It began with a reminder that the ministry exams are now mandatory, a requirement which has been in effect since the 2021-2022 school year. The committee outlined the steps that AQED has taken since 2019, when we learned that this requirement was included in the new homeschooling regulations. AQED has, among other things, written a brief regarding this Regulation,  met with several MPs, alerted the Ombudsman, who produced a report on the situation, met with the Direction of the DEM on several occasions, and has made many suggestions. Another brief was written by the association’s volunteers regarding ministry exams in the context of home education. The opposing parties met on several occasions, and a few meetings were held with the office of the Minister of Education. However, AQED has never had any contact with Minister Roberge, and it is not for lack of trying. His department even refused our requests to convene the Provincial Advisory Panel on Homeschooling. It is therefore understandable that as soon as the CAQ’s draft regulation was announced, AQED was proactive!

You probably think, as we do, that the exams are merely a symptom of the harm that the new regulation brings. They impose the QEP on us, and we lose freedom. Why not tackle the whole thing? After several discussions with our lawyers, we realized that it is easier to demonstrate damages related to the exams than it is to demonstrate harm related to the imposition of a program. However, we plan to take the case further in the future if the current one ends on a positive note.

Here is an outline of the steps the committee has taken since the decision to hire a legal team at Goldwater & Dubé.

In February 2022, we put together our case for an emergency injunction. Unfortunately, it was difficult for us to define specific harm to families, as the exams hadn’t happened yet. Our lawyers made it clear to us that the damages must be very concrete to demonstrate a state of emergency.

Once the exams were taken, we had a statement of the situation, the harms that took place and actual evidence. We also had to adjust our case by adding new information revealed in a letter sent in July: that the DEM could withdraw the right to homeschool, for the following year, for families who did not meet the mandatory requirement of taking the ministry exams. The regulations do not allow for one year to be tied to another in this way. We weighed whether we would continue with an emergency injunction or proceed to a full-blown trial, considering that the exams had already taken place. However, despite having evidence of concrete damages, we still had no valid arguments demonstrating an emergency in the eyes of the court. Since the DEM had made the families who had not taken the exams sign letters of promise to retake the exams, and then issued them their exemption for 2022-2023, we decided to amend our case to a true request for trial. 

We had several discussions with the attorneys to get a firm schedule to ensure we would be heard in time for the 2022-2023 exams. Our attorneys did an outstanding job of obtaining an effective timeline. At the time, the expected date to file the current case was February 17.

This tight schedule led to a large workload in a short period of time. We had to find experts to support our case in record time. We obtained two expert witnesses: one in assessment equity and another that focused more on special needs children. Then it was time to select the witnesses. We read and reread each testimony we received. Seven families who had taken or would be taking the exams were selected and each one had a different story to tell. 

In November 2022, the questioning of our witnesses by the lawyers of the Ministry took place. We were able to learn about the angles they favored. We were attacked on the credibility of the association—among other things, on how we verify our members. They also tried to blame challenges faced by families on the SSCs/SBs rather than on the DEM and the Ministry.

In January 2023, both the committee and our lawyers prepared for the interrogation of the Ministry’s witnesses.  It was clear then that the decision to impose examinations was not the result of a well thought out decision on the part of the Ministry, since there was no consultation or study on the subject. Our lawyers were able to see that some of our arguments were working very well while others were not. 

At that point, our case was still scheduled to be filed on February 17,  which would have given us a court date 3-4 weeks later. 

Unfortunately, the Ministry’s lawyers decided to contest one of our expert witnesses. It is therefore no longer possible to file our case in court as our witness is likely to change. We could have simply abandoned this witness, but we decided to move forward anyway,  as we had chosen them for good reasons and they will bring weight to our case. Our lawyers have to go before a judge to debate this issue, and this will not happen before May.

With the 2023 exams approaching, the issue of a request for an emergency injunction has come up again, but we still cannot claim that this situation is an emergency despite the actual harm. We are currently working on an agreement with the DEM for this year’s exams. 

We are satisfied with the work of our lawyer; there was a lot of education to be done, but they now have a very good understanding of our reality and our issues.


Here is a short resume of our case: 

  • We wish to invalidate the section of the Regulation (15.1) regarding ministry exams as well as the fact that in the case of school sanction, the exams are worth 100% of the student’s grade. 
  • We want parents to have access to ministerial exams if they wish, but it must be equitable.

For the sanction of studies, we suggest that the parent, the SSC/SB or a private school evaluate the learning achieved by that student in that year or that the DEM create an evaluation service.

We know that you are concerned about the situation and we remind you that AQED can help you if you are experiencing problems with the mandatory exams.


Wondering what you can do to support AQED?

We need volunteers for a number of tasks (including communications) and fundraising. This is a battle between what we can do as volunteers and as a non-profit organization and what an institution with many resources can do. Contact us at [email protected]

In addition, each one of you can be a spokesperson for the beautiful reality of homeschooling. Educate your friends and neighbors about the issues we face!

Another update on the legal file will be made at the AGM in June.