Each school board and school authority must establish a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). These committees are made up of elected school board trustees and representatives from local associations with an interest in special education.

A committee:

  • provides important advice on special education to their local board or school authority
  • makes recommendations to their board or authority on anything that impacts the establishment, development and delivery of special education programs and services

This page is a convenient source of information about the Special Education Advisory Committee regulation (O. Reg. 464/97). It is for your information only. It should not be used as or considered legal document. If you need details or exact language, please refer to the Ontario Regulation 464/97.

Committee membership

Committees for district school boards

A SEAC for a district school board is made up of:

  • Representatives from up to 12 local associations or affiliated associations/organizations.
    • Alternates can attend and participate in SEAC meetings if the local association member cannot be present.
  • The lesser of three people or 25% of the total number of board trustees rounded down to the nearest whole number, if:
    • one or two board trustees are appointed each trustee must have an alternate
    • three trustees are appointed there are no alternates
  • One or two people to represent the interests of First Nations students attending board schools under a tuition agreement.
  • One or more additional members at large who are not:
    • representatives of a local association
    • trustees of the board
    • members of another board committee

Committees for school authorities

The SEAC of a school authority is made up of:

  • one representative and one alternate from each of two local associations
  • one trustee and one alternate
  • up to two First Nations representatives if there are First Nations representative(s) on the school authority
  • two members at large and two alternates (who are not members of the board) if there are no local associations

Information about local associations

Under the regulation, a local association is an organization of parents that:

  • operates locally within the area of jurisdiction of a board
  • is affiliated with an association or organization that is:
    • incorporated under a federal or provincial law
    • not of professional educators
  • operates throughout Ontario to further the interests and well-being of one or more groups of exceptional children or adults

The board can limit the number of local associations that are represented on the committee if there are more than 12 local associations wishing to be represented. If there are 12 local associations represented on a SEAC, those 12 local associations cannot nominate members at large.

Alternate representatives

Local associations should nominate an alternate representative. As an alternate, you can prepare for your role on the SEAC by:

  • participating in the board's orientation session for SEAC members
  • attending SEAC and board meetings as an observer
  • attending SEAC meetings as an alternate when requested to do so by the local association member

Removal of members

A member of a SEAC is removed if they:

  • are convicted of an indictable offence
  • miss three consecutive regular meetings of the committee without being authorized to do so by a resolution entered in the minutes
  • cease to hold the qualifications to be appointed to the committee

Term of office

A new SEAC is formed every four years after the election of the board of trustees.

The school board appoints SEAC members. They serve for the term of office of board members and until a new board is organized.

Read the law about elections of the board of trustees


A SEAC member must be:

  • qualified to vote for members of the school board
  • a resident in the school board jurisdiction

Members appointed to represent First Nations students do not need to meet this requirement, as First Nations students may attend board schools under a tuition agreement.

Employees of a school board cannot be a member on the SEAC of the board that employs them. However, they can be members of another school board’s SEAC if they are eligible to vote for members of that school board.

Read the regulation.

Roles and responsibilities

Special Education Advisory Committees

A Special Education Advisory Committee:

  • may make recommendations to the district school board or school authority on anything impacting the establishment, development, and delivery of special education programs and services
  • may participate in the annual review of the board's Special Education Plan
  • participates in the board's annual budget process as it relates to special education
  • reviews the financial statements of the board as they relate to special education

District school boards and school authorities

District school boards and school authorities:

  • establish a SEAC
  • provide an opportunity for the SEAC to be heard by the board or a board committee before the board or committee makes any decisions about recommendations put forward to them by the SEAC
  • make available the personnel and facilities that the board considers necessary for the proper functioning of the committee (for example, personnel and facilities needed to hold meetings using electronic means)
  • provide SEAC members and their alternates with information and orientation within a reasonable time after a SEAC member is appointed

Orientation and training

District school boards and school authorities must provide relevant in-service training sessions for all members during regular SEAC meetings or in an alternative forum on an ongoing basis.

Orientation and training sessions for SEAC members may focus on:

  • sections of the Education Act relating to special education
  • regulations regarding special education
  • ministry policy statements, including policy/program memoranda
  • ministry publications
  • board policies regarding special education programs and services
  • the school board's Special Education Plan and the requirement to report on the provision of their special education programs and services
  • the roles and responsibilities of the SEAC
  • the funding of special education

Questions to ask school board trustees or administrators

Here are some questions to ask school board trustees or administrators so you can fulfil your duties as a SEAC member:

  • How does the school board provide the SEAC with financial statements, information and training that help members understand how the board allocates funding for special education programs and services?
  • What procedures does the board have in place to ensure that SEAC is provided with the opportunity to participate in the:
    • review of the board's special education plan
    • budget process as it relates to special education
    • review of the board financial statements as the statements relate to the provision of special education programs and services (see s. 12 of O. Reg 464/97)

Rules and procedures for meetings

These are rules and procedures for SEAC meetings:

  • When a member with an appointed alternate cannot attend a committee meeting, the member must notify the alternate and the alternate should attend the meeting.
  • Where a seat of the committee is vacant and has not yet been filled, the alternate for the member must act in the member's place for all purposes.
  • A majority of the members of a SEAC is a quorum, and "a vote of a majority of the members present at a meeting is necessary to bind the committee."
  • Every member or alternate at a meeting is entitled to one vote each.
  • At their first meeting, the committee members shall elect one member as the chair and one as the vice-chair.
  • The chair or vice-chair (in the absence of the chair) shall preside at meetings. If the chair and vice-chair are not present at a meeting, the members who are present can elect a chair for that meeting.
  • The chair may vote with the other members of the committee. If there is the same number of votes for and against the motion is lost.
  • The committee shall meet at least 10 times during each school year.