There are many changes ahead for Ontario’s education system in the face of the 2012 Ontario budget: merging schools and school boards, school closures, pay freezes, and a cap on student credits are all on the government’s agenda with the aim of reducing the provincial deficit. In addition, students are facing issues that were not present a few decades ago – bullying/cyber-bullying, zero tolerance policies in response to school violence, and escalating student mental health issues, to name but a few.
Our Education Law Group is poised to respond to these challenges and more with legal advice and services that are timely and practical. We provide legal services to students and parents from public, private and separate schools throughout the province. Our assistance is three-fold: we can advise students and families of their legal rights; we can act as interveners on behalf of students with school administrators to achieve desired results; and we can represent students at tribunals or hearings.
- Our lawyers appear regularly before administrative boards and tribunals, Superior and Appeal courts in Ontario, and assist in the presentation of complex legal matters to members of the public and elected representatives. Within the Education Law Group, we can represent:
- Students in matters before the Child and Family Services Review Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice, and various university and school boards, and
- Parents in appeals to the Ontario Special Education Appeal Board and the Ontario Special Education Tribunal, as well as in complaints to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The Education Law Group can help you:
- Interpret and apply the Education Act and its regulations;
- Become informed about Education Law issues as they arise through the development of presentations, training programs and guides to address specific legal issues facing you on a variety of topics;
- Achieve positive results in resolving legal issues consistent with the requirements of administration and students;
- Understand the governmental decision-making process and the legal issues that may confront you as you exercise rights or seek remedies under applicable legislation;
- Navigate through government red tape to expedite the governmental decision-making process and, if necessary, compel the government to exercise its powers;
- Develop litigation and negotiation strategies to efficiently resolve legal disputes; and
- Ensure your elected representatives make informed decisions and that administration implement decisions in a manner that minimizes risk and complies with applicable law.
We can advise you on Education Law issues arising from:
- Student discipline and academic appeals, student attendance rights;
- Accommodation for special needs/disabilities and special education issues;
- Bullying/cyber-bullying, alleged harassment, and school safety issues;
- Unfair or unlawful expulsion, exclusions, suspension, and transfers;
- Children’s Aid Society investigations;
- College of Teachers complaints, investigations and hearings;
- Pay equity, employment relations, contract negotiations and Board of Arbitration and Board of Reference hearings before the Ontario College of Teachers; and
- Freedom of Information requests and Privacy Law.
Our advocacy experience enables us to assess and plan cases expeditiously and effectively. Your case will benefit from our legal research, case preparation, and oral advocacy skills, thereby ensuring it is properly and fully argued before tribunals, Courts and appellate bodies. We prepare our clients and witnesses carefully. We take pride in maintaining a positive and professional reputation with the court, opposing counsel and tribunals.
The lawyers in our group focus professionally on Education Law issues and participate in the affairs of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE), the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS), and the Education Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA). We have a broad range of litigation and consultation experience with public and private clients at both a governance and administration level and in proceedings before boards, tribunals and the courts. We have developed practical mediation and negotiation skills with an emphasis on consensual resolution of disputes.
We interact with other lawyers at Cohen Highley to offer our Education Law clients a full range of quality, professional legal services in Labour and Employment Law, Pension Litigation, Administrative Law and Ontario Human Rights Code Proceedings.