Homeschooling has never been explicitly outlawed in Ontario. However, at one point, the Ministry of Education and school boards attempted to curtail homeschooling with intrusive inquiries, red tape, and court cases.
Through the work of the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents, OCHEC, HSLDA and other homeschool support groups, not only were these threats to homeschooling freedom prevented, but our regulatory freedom to homeschooling was, if not explicitly made into law, at least written out in policy form.
In 2002, the Policy/Program Memorandum 131 (PPM 131) was created. This document governs how the Ministry of Education and school boards are to treat homeschooling families. It covers the rights of homeschooling parents, the duties of school boards, and how to address if the school board has a concern about the quality of education provided.
The underlying assumption for this document is the same right advocated for by the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” — that parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. So the PPM 131 directs school boards to assume that “satisfactory education” (the term used in the PPM 131 and in the Education Act itself) is being given, unless proven otherwise. And the onus is on the school boards to prove that unsatisfactory education is given, rather than parents needing to prove that the education program they are providing is satisfactory.
“Satisfactory education” is not defined in either the Education Act nor PPM 131.
It is the OFTP’s interpretation that parents and legal guardians have the right and privilege to homeschool freely, without interference from schools, school staff, school boards or school board staff, child protection agencies or the Ministry of Education.