The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents

 1-800-704-0448

PPM 131

What is the legal status of Policy/Program Memorandum 131?

The purpose of a Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) is to provide clarification to legislation. In this case, PPM131 is intended to clarify and provide direction to School Boards and parents regarding sections of the Education Act. A PPM is not law and one cannot be prosecuted for not following the policy.

In support of the assertion that a policy is not legally enforceable, we refer you to the following documents:

1) On the Government of Canada Regulation website, there was a (now removed) pamphlet of the Department of Justice. Here is the relevant quote:

How are rules enforced?
– statutes: general application, legal sanctions/courts
– delegated legislation: general application, legal sanctions/courts
-contracts/agreements: application to parties, legal sanctions/courts
-voluntary codes: application within voluntary associations, internal sanctions
-standards: various
policy directives: internal application, disciplinary sanctions [emphasis added]

What Tools: The Panoply of Rules, presented at the Justice Instrument Choice Conference, March 26-27, 2002, by John Mark Keyes

2) On the website of the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR). Here are the relevant quotes:

Policies, Guidelines and Informal Standards
Have no legal authority [emphasis added] […]

Administrative Rulemaking by Richard Steinecke, presented at CLEAR’s 23rd Annual Conference, Toronto, Ontario, September, 2003

and

Policies, Guidelines and Informal Standards
Disadvantages:
Not legally enforceable [emphasis added] […]
as compared to Regulations:
Advantages:
-clear authorization in enabling statute
-legally enforceable […]

Administrative Rulemaking by Richard Steinecke, presented at CLEAR’s 23rd Annual Conference, Toronto, Ontario, September, 2003

One thing that may help it sink in that following the policy is not a legal requirement, is the fact that not all school boards follow it to the letter either: some of them do not comply with its directive that they reply to a letter of intent with a letter of acknowledgement.