Provincial code of conduct

Ontario's provincial code of conduct for the education sector sets clear standards of behaviour that individual school boards must follow. The standards of behaviour in school boards' codes of conduct must also follow the provincial code of conduct.

Who the code applies to

The code of conduct applies to everyone in the publicly-funded school system, including:

  • students
  • parents or guardians
  • volunteers
  • teachers
  • early childhood educators
  • other staff members

The code applies:

  • on school property
  • on school buses
  • at school-related events or activities
  • to before and after school programs
  • in other circumstances that could have an impact on the school climate

Fundamental values

  • Everyone has a responsibility to promote a safe environment.
  • Everyone should be aware of their rights, as active and engaged citizens. Everyone should also protect their own rights and the rights of others. Responsible citizenship involves taking part in the civic life of the school.
  • All members of the school community are to be treated with respect and dignity, especially those in positions of authority.
  • Everyone has a responsibility to resolve conflicts in a way that is civil and respectful. Insults, hurtful acts and a lack of respect for others disrupt learning and teaching in a school community.
  • Everyone is expected to resolve conflicts without using violence. Physical aggression is not a responsible way to deal with other people. No one should use an object to injure another person or threaten to use an object to injure another person. Violence and threats are unacceptable and puts everyone's safety at risk.

Standards of behaviour

The two key focus areas for the standards of behaviour are:

  • respect, civility and responsible citizenship
  • safety

Respect, civility and responsible citizenship

All school community members must:

  • respect and follow all applicable laws
  • show honesty and integrity
  • respect differences in people
  • treat others with dignity and respect at all times, especially when there is disagreement
  • respect and treat others fairly, regardless of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, creed, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability
  • respect the rights of others
  • show care and respect for school property and the property of others
  • take the proper steps to help those in need
  • respect all members of the school community, especially those in a position of authority
  • respect the need of others to work in an environment that is good for learning and teaching, including by ensuring that cellphones and other personal mobile devices are only used during instructional time for:
    • educational purposes (as directed by an educator)
    • health and medical purposes
    • special education needs support
  • seek help from school staff to resolve conflict peacefully, if necessary
  • not swear at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority


All school community members must not:

  • start or join in any form of bullying, whether in-person or through technology (for example, email or cell phones)
  • commit sexual assault
  • traffic weapons or illegal drugs
  • commit robbery
  • give alcohol or cannabis to a minor
  • be in possession of a weapon, including firearms
  • use any object to threaten or intimidate another person
  • injure anyone with an object
  • be in possession of alcohol, cannabis (except when the person is authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes) or illegal drugs
  • be under the influence of alcohol, cannabis (except when the person is authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes) or illegal drugs
  • give others alcohol, illegal drugs or cannabis (unless the receiver is someone who has been authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes)
  • inflict, or encourage others to inflict, bodily harm
  • start or join in hate propaganda or other types of behaviour caused by hate or bias
  • commit vandalism that causes large-scale damage to property on school premises

Roles and responsibilities

School boards

School boards direct their schools to ensure opportunity, excellence and accountability in the education system.

School boards must:

  • develop policies that set out how their schools will put in place and enforce the provincial code of conduct and all other rules that they develop as related to the provincial standards that promote and support respect, civility, responsible citizenship and safety
  • seek input from school councils, Parent Involvement Committees, Special Education Advisory Committee, Indigenous Education Advisory Council, students, staff, parents, volunteers and the community members
  • review these policies regularly with students, staff, parents, volunteers and the community members
  • establish a process that clearly communicates the provincial code of conduct to all parents, students, staff and members of the school community to gain their commitment and support
  • ensure an effective approach to intervene and respond to all violations that relate to the standards for respect, civility, responsible citizenship and safety
  • give opportunities for all staff to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to promote student achievement and well-being in a safe, inclusive and accepting learning environment


Principals, under the direction of their school board, take a leadership role in the daily operation of a school.

Principals provide this leadership by:

  • caring for the school community and commitment to student achievement and well-being in a safe, inclusive and accepting learning environment
  • holding everyone under their authority responsible for their behaviour and actions
  • empowering students to be positive leaders in their school and community
  • communicating regularly and meaningfully with all members of their school community

Teachers and school staff

Teachers and school staff, under the leadership of their principals, help maintain a positive learning environment and hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour.

Teachers and school staff uphold these high standards as role models when they:

  • help students work to their full potential and develop their self-worth
  • empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school and community
  • communicate regularly with parents
  • maintain consistent and fair standards of behaviour for all students
  • show respect for all students, staff, parents, volunteers and members of the school community
  • prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship


Everyone should treat students with respect and dignity. In return, students must show respect for themselves and for others.

Students show respect and responsibility when they:

  • come to school prepared, on time and ready to learn
  • show respect for themselves, for others and for those in authority
  • refrain from bringing anything to school that may risk the safety of others
  • follow the rules and takes responsibility for their own actions

Parents and guardians

Parents and guardians have an important role in the education of their children and can help school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students.

Parents and guardians play this important role when they:

  • are engaged in their child's schoolwork and progress
  • communicate regularly with the school
  • make sure their child is properly dressed and prepared for school
  • ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time
  • inform the school promptly about their child's absence or late arrival
  • become familiar with the provincial code of conduct, the board's code of conduct and school rules
  • encourage and help their child follow the rules of behaviour
  • help school staff deal with disciplinary issues involving their child

Community partners

School boards may enhance partnerships or create new partnerships with community agencies and members of the community. Community agencies offer resources that school boards can use to deliver prevention or intervention programs. Community members need to support and respect the rules of their local schools.


The police play an essential role in making our schools and communities safer. Police investigate incidents by following the protocol developed with the local school board. Police and local school boards base their protocols on a provincial model developed by:

  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
  • Ministry of Education