CLF advocates for the rights of homeschooling families in Quebec

While the government has a legitimate interest in ensuring that all students meet certain educational standards, it must respect a degree of autonomy and freedom for parents to determine the nature and content of their children’s education. Otherwise, families are denied the right to educate their children “in keeping with their convictions”, as guaranteed by the Quebec Charter.
— CLF’s submission

CLF has made written submissions to Quebec’s Ministry of Education, urging respect for the autonomy of families who homeschool in accordance with their children’s specific needs and best interests, and with the family’s own convictions and beliefs.

As reported by the Homeschool Legal Defence Association (HSLDA), Quebec’s Ministry of Education recently proposed changes to the Homeschooling Regulation which would require homeschooled students to “acquire a body of knowledge and various skills” in relation to Ministry approved curriculum, and to submit to “any examination imposed by the Minister” to demonstrate same. 

CLF’s submission explains why this is of concern to families who homeschool:

“It appears that the proposed regulation will force homeschoolers to undergo examinations to demonstrate their knowledge of specific content drawn entirely from the government’s curriculum, as it is taught in public schools. If so, this will effectively require homeschool families to adopt and teach the state’s specific curriculum, denying them the autonomy to adopt their own curriculum as suited to their children’s needs. We appreciate that, technically, families may still teach their own curriculum, but practically speaking, students would only be successful in writing the state examination if they study the state’s curriculum. This defeats the very purpose of homeschooling, which is to offer an alternative form of education.”
— CLF’s submission

CLF stressed in its submission that, while “the government has a legitimate interest in ensuring that all students in Quebec receive an adequate education,” it does not have “the right to dictate every aspect of each child’s education – parents maintain a ‘measure of control’ in this respect” (citing E.T. v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, 2017 ONCA 893 at para. 47). 

CLF’s submission surveys numerous legal protections in Quebec, Canadian, and international law, all of which support the fundamental rights of families to “determine the religious and moral education of their children, including determinations surrounding homeschooling”. 

Endorsing the submissions of the Association of Christian Parent Educators of Quebec (ACPEQ) and HSLDA, CLF explains why “the existing Homeschooling Regulation reflects a more appropriate balancing of state interests with family autonomy by allowing the Ministry of Education to evaluate a student’s progress without disadvantaging pupils who have pursued an alternative, but academically sufficient, home education”.

CLF’s submission calls on the Ministry of Education to “revise the amendments and revert to the current Homeschooling Regulation, to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of Quebec families are fully honoured and protected.”

Canadian law recognizes that, ultimately, that “the right of parents to care for their children and make decisions for their wellbeing, including decisions about education, is primary, and the state’s authority is secondary to that parental right”. It is important, therefore, that any laws regulating the act of homeschooling respect those primary parental rights
— CLF’s submission (citing E.T. v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, 2017 ONCA 893 at para. 65)

Read more:

Read CLF’s submission to the Quebec Minister of Education in French and English.

Read about CLF’s earlier submission to the Ontario government on the development of a Parents’ Bill of Rights.