Date of Issue: February 1, 2013

Effective:  Until revoked or modified

Subject: Supporting transitions for students with special education needs

Application: Directors of Education
Supervisory Officers and Secretary-Treasurers of School Authorities Superintendents of Schools
Principals of Elementary Schools Principals of Secondary Schools


This memorandum sets out for school boardsfootnote 1 and schools new requirements for transition plans for students with special education needs from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Effective transition planning is important. Individualized transition plans that reflect a student's strengths and needs provide the foundation for successful transitional experiences that support the building of student resiliency. Articulating student transition needs can also be a valuable component of developing an individual student profile. It is expected that the implementation of the requirements set out in this memorandum will result in continuity of programs and services for students with special education needs and will support improved student achievement and well-being.

Current context

Transition requirements are set out in the following regulatory and policy documents.

Ontario Regulation 181/98 states that, for exceptional students who are age 14 or over and who are not identified solely as gifted, the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) must include a transition plan for the student's transition from school to work, further education, and/or community living.

Policy/Program Memorandum No. 140, “Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)”, May 17, 2007, states that school board staff must plan for the transition between various activities and settings involving students with autism spectrum disorders.

For students in care and/or treatment, custody, and correctional facilities, the document entitled Guidelines for Approval of Educational Programs for Pupils in Government Approved Care and/or Treatment Custody and Correctional Facilities (2005–06) outlines how the facility and the board that is providing the educational program will work together to create transition plans for students in these facilities.


The school principal is responsible for ensuring that student transition plans are developed, implemented, and maintained in accordance with the requirements of this memorandum.

A transition plan must be developed for all students who have an IEP, whether or not they have been identified as exceptional by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) and including those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness. The transition plan is developed as part of the IEP.

At the discretion of the board, a transition plan may also be developed for students who receive special education programs and/or services but do not have an IEP and have not been identified as exceptional.

All transition plans must be developed in consultation with the parent(s),footnote 2 the student (as appropriate), the postsecondary institution (where appropriate), and relevant community agencies and/or partners, as necessary.

For students who have an IEP, the transition plan must be reviewed as part of the review of the IEP. The results of each review should be used to update the transition plan.

The physical, emotional, and learning needs of the student are considered when developing a transition plan, to determine if the student requires support when making transitions. Students make transitions in a variety of contexts: upon entry to school; between grades; from one program area or subject to another; when moving from school to school or from an outside agency/facility to a school; from elementary to secondary school; and from secondary school to the next appropriate pathway.

If the student has no particular need of support during transitions, the transition plan should state that no actions are required. When transition needs are identified for the student, school board staff must ensure that a transition plan is in place that addresses those needs.

Every transition plan will identify specific transition goals, support needs, the actions required to achieve the goals, roles and responsibilities, and timelines for the implementation and/or completion of each of the identified actions.

The transition plan must be stored in the Ontario Student Record (OSR) documentation folder.


The requirements of this memorandum take effect September 2, 2014.


School boards and community partners have developed a wide range of strategies, tools, and resources to provide effective transition planning for students. School boards are encouraged to continue to collaborate with community partners and to utilize these resources and supports when implementing the requirements for transition plans set out in this memorandum.


  • footnote[1] Back to paragraph In this memorandum, school board(s) and board(s) refers to all district school boards and the following school authorities: James Bay Lowlands Secondary District School Area Board, Moose Factory Island District School Area Board, Moosonee District School Area Board, and Penetanguishene Protestant Separate School Board.
  • footnote[2] Back to paragraph In this memorandum, parent(s) refers to parent(s) and guardian(s).