District School Board Name

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Philosophy of the Board [optional]


  1. If you wish to receive this parents' guide in Braille, large-print, or audio format, please contact the board at the address or telephone number shown on the last page of this guide.
  2. When used in this guide, the word “parent(s)” refers to both parent(s) and guardian(s). It may also be taken to include caregivers or close family members who are responsible for raising the child.

The Education Act requires that school boards provide, or purchase from another board, special education programs and services for their exceptional pupils. The purpose of this parents' guide is to provide you with information about the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC), and to set out for you the procedures involved in identifying a pupil as “exceptional”, deciding the pupil's placement, or appealing such decisions if you do not agree with the IPRC.

If, after reading this guide, you require more information, please see the board's list of contacts at the end of the document.

What is an IPRC?
Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards set up IPRCs. An IPRC is composed of at least 3 people, one of whom must be a principal or a supervisory officer of the board.

[School boards may list the members, identifying the member who is a principal or a supervisory officer.]


Parents are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting.

What is the role of the IPRC?
The IPRC will:

  • decide whether or not your child should be identified as exceptional;
  • identify the areas of your child's exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education;
  • decide an appropriate placement for your child [here the board should list the full range of placement options offered by the board]; and
  • review the identification and placement at least once in each school year.

Who is identified as an exceptional pupil?
The Education Act defines an exceptional pupil as “a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program....” Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.

What is a special education program?
A special education program is defined in the Education Act as an educational program that:

  • is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation; and
  • includes a plan (called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil.

What are special education services?
Special education services are defined in the Education Act as the facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program.

What is an IEP?
The IEP must be developed for your child, in consultation with you. It must include:

  • a description of the student's strengths and needs and specific educational expectations;
  • an outline of the special education program and services that will be received;
  • a statement about the methods by which your child's progress will be reviewed; and
  • a transition plan that includes the specific goals, actions required, person(s) responsible for actions, and timelines for each educational transition where the student requires support.

The IEP must be completed within 30 days after your child has been placed in the program, and the principal must ensure that you receive a copy of it.

How is an IPRC meeting requested?
The principal of your child's school:

  • must request an IPRC meeting for your child, upon receiving your written request;
  • may, with written notice to you, refer your child to an IPRC when the principal and the child's teacher or teachers believe that your child may benefit from a special education program.

Within 15 days of receiving your request, or giving you notice, the principal must provide you with a copy of this guide and a written statement of approximately when the IPRC will meet.

May parents attend the IPRC meeting?
Regulation 181/98 entitles parents and pupils 16 years of age or older:

  • to be present at and participate in all committee discussions about your child; and
  • to be present when the committee's identification and placement decision is made.

Who else may attend an IPRC meeting?

  • the principal of your child's school;
  • other resource people such as your child's teacher, special education staff, board support staff, or the representative of an agency, who may provide further information or clarification;
  • your representative – that is, a person who may support you or speak on behalf of you or your child; and
  • an interpreter, if one is required. (You may request the services of an interpreter through the principal of your child's school.) [Boards may wish to list the types of interpreters available, e.g., sign language, oral, specific language.]

Who may request that they attend?
Either you or the principal of your child's school may make a request for the attendance of others at the IPRC meeting.

What information will parents receive about the IPRC meeting?
At least 10 days in advance of the meeting, the chair of the IPRC will provide you with written notification of the meeting and an invitation to attend as an important partner in considering your child's placement. This letter will notify you of the date, time, and place of the meeting, and it will ask you to indicate whether you will attend.

Before the IPRC meeting occurs, you will receive a written copy of any information about your child that the chair of the IPRC has received. This may include the results of assessments or a summary of information.

What if parents are unable to make the scheduled meeting?
If you are unable to make the scheduled meeting, you may:

  • contact the school principal to arrange an alternative date or time; or
  • let the school principal know you will not be attending. As soon as possible after the meeting, the principal will forward to you, for your consideration and signature, the IPRC's written statement of decision noting the decision of identification and placement and any recommendations regarding special education programs and services.

What happens at an IPRC meeting?

  • The chair introduces everyone and explains the purpose of the meeting.
  • The IPRC will review all available information about your child.
    The members will:
    • consider an educational assessment of your child;
    • consider, subject to the provisions of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, a health or psychological assessment of your child conducted by a qualified practitioner, if they feel that such an assessment is required to make a correct identification or placement decision;
    • interview your child, with your consent if your child is less than 16 years of age, if they feel it would be useful to do so; and
    • consider any information that you submit about your child or that your child submits if he or she is 16 years of age or older.
  • The committee may discuss any proposal that has been made about a special education program or special education services for the child. Committee members will discuss any such proposal at your request or at the request of your child, if the child is 16 years of age or older.
  • You are encouraged to ask questions and join in the discussion.
  • Following the discussion, after all the information has been presented and considered, the committee will make its decision.

What will the IPRC consider in making its placement decision?
Before the IPRC can consider placing your child in a special education class, it must consider whether placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services will:

  • meet your child's needs; and
  • be consistent with your preferences.

If, after considering all of the information presented to it, the IPRC is satisfied that placement in a regular class will meet your child's needs and that such a decision is consistent with your preferences, the committee will decide in favour of placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services.

If the committee decides that your child should be placed in a special education class, it must state the reasons for that decision in its written statement of decision.

What will the IPRC's written statement of decision include?
The IPRC's written statement of decision will state:

  • whether the IPRC has identified your child as exceptional;
  • where the IPRC has identified your child as exceptional,
    • the categories and definitions of any exceptionalities identified, as they are defined by the Ministry of Education;
    • the IPRC's description of your child's strengths and needs;
    • the IPRC's placement decision; and
    • the IPRC's recommendations regarding a special education program and special education services;
  • where the IPRC has decided that your child should be placed in a special education class, the reasons for that decision.

What happens after the IPRC has made its decision?

  • If you agree with the IPRC decision, you will be asked to indicate, by signing your name, that you agree with the identification and placement decisions made by the IPRC.
  • If the IPRC has identified your child as an exceptional pupil and if you agree with the IPRC identification and placement decisions, the board will promptly notify the principal of the school at which the special education program is to be provided of the need to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child.

Once a child has been placed in a special education program, can the placement be reviewed?

  • A review IPRC meeting will be held within the school year, unless the principal of the school at which the special education program is being provided receives written notice from you, the parent, dispensing with the annual review.
  • You may request a review IPRC meeting any time after your child has been in a special education program for 3 months.

What does a review IPRC consider and decide?

  • With your written permission, the IPRC conducting the review will consider the progress your child has made in relation to the IEP. It will consider the same type of information that was originally considered by the IPRC, as well as any new information.
  • The IPRC will review the placement and identification decisions and decide whether they should be continued or whether a different decision should now be made.

What can parents do if they disagree with the IPRC decision?

  • If you do not agree with either the identification or the placement decision made by the IPRC, you may:
    • within 15 days of receipt of the decision, request that the IPRC hold a second meeting to discuss your concerns; or
    • within 30 days of receipt of the decision, file a notice of appeal with [boards should fill in the name and address of the secretary of the board].
  • If you do not agree with the decision after the second meeting, you may file a notice of appeal within 15 days of your receipt of the decision.

If you do not consent to the IPRC decision but you do not appeal it, the board will instruct the principal to implement the IPRC decision.

How do I appeal an IPRC decision?
If you disagree with the IPRC's identification of your child as exceptional or with the placement decision of the IPRC, you may, within 30 days of receipt of the original decision or within 15 days of receipt of the decision from the second meeting described above, give written notification of your intention to appeal the decision to [boards should fill in the name and address of the secretary of the board].

The notice of appeal must:

  • indicate the decision with which you disagree; and
  • include a statement that sets out your reasons for disagreeing.

What happens in the appeal process?
The appeal process involves the following steps:

  • The board will establish a special education appeal board to hear your appeal. The appeal board will be composed of three persons who have no prior knowledge of the matter under appeal, one of whom is to be selected by you, the parent.
  • The chair of the appeal board will arrange a meeting to take place at a convenient time and place, but no later than 30 days after he or she has been selected (unless parents and board provide written consent to a later date).
  • The appeal board will receive the material reviewed by the IPRC and may interview any persons who may be able to contribute information about the matter under appeal.
  • You, the parent, and your child, if he or she is 16 years old or over, are entitled to be present at, and to participate in, all discussions.
  • The appeal board must make its recommendation within 3 days of the meeting's ending. It may:
    • agree with the IPRC and recommend that the decision be implemented; or
    • disagree with the IPRC and make a recommendation to the board about your child's identification or placement or both.
  • The appeal board will report its recommendations in writing, to you and to the school board, providing the reasons for its recommendations.
  • Within 30 days of receiving the appeal board's written statement, the school board will decide what action it will take with respect to the recommendations (boards are not required to follow the appeal board recommendation).
  • You may accept the decision of the school board or you may appeal to a Special Education Tribunal. You may request a hearing by writing to the secretary of the Special Education Tribunal. Information about making an application to the tribunal will be included with the appeal board's decision.

What special education programs and services are provided by the board?
[This section should indicate the extent to which the board provides special education programs and services and the extent to which it purchases them from another board or boards.]

What organizations are available to assist parents?
Many parent organizations are available to provide information and support to parents of exceptional children.

[Boards should list here the local associations eligible for membership on their SEAC. Some boards may need to include the provincial office of a major exceptionality group if there is no local association for that group in the community.]

What are the ministry's Provincial and Demonstration Schools?
The ministry operates Provincial and Demonstration Schools throughout Ontario for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing, who are blind or have low vision, who are deafblind, and/or who have severe learning disabilities, as well as those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Residential programs are offered at the schools Monday to Friday, for students who live too far from school to travel daily.

English–language Demonstration Schools for students with severe learning disabilities

Amethyst School
1515 Cheapside Street
London, ON N5V 3N9
Tel: 519-453-4408

Sagonaska School
350 Dundas Street West
Belleville, ON K8P 1B2
Tel: 613-967-2830

Trillium School
347 Ontario Street South
Milton, ON L9T 3X9
Tel: 905-878-8428

Provincial Schools for the Deaf

Ernest C. Drury School
255 Ontario Street South
Milton, ON L9T 2M5
Tel: 905-878-2851
TTY: 905-878-7195

Robarts School
1515 Cheapside Street
London, ON N5V 3N9
Tel: 519-453-4400
TTY: 519-453-4400

Sir James Whitney School
350 Dundas Street West
Belleville, ON K8P 1B2
Tel: 613-967-2823 or 1-800-501-6240
TTY: 613-967-2823

Provincial School for the blind and deafblind

W. Ross Macdonald School
350 Brant Avenue
Brantford, ON N3T 3J9
Tel: 519-759-0730 or 1-866-618-9092

French–language Provincial School for the Deaf and Demonstration School for students with severe learning disabilities

Centre Jules–Léger
281 Lanark Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 6R8
Tel: 613-761-9300
TTY: 613-761-9302

Where can parents obtain additional information?
Additional information can be obtained from:

  • the school principal [provide name, school address, and school telephone number]; or
  • [provide the name, address, and telephone number of a contact at the district school board].