Student and Parent Rights

The National Student Ombudsman is responsible for the application of the complaint and reporting procedure in Québec’s school community.

As part of this national and standardized procedure, the National Student Ombudsman can count on the presence of regional student ombudsmen throughout Québec. Together, they ensure that the rights of students and their parents are respected and thus contribute to the continuous improvement of the services offered in the education system.

Complain

In the event of dissatisfaction with the school services they have received, are receiving, should have received or require, a student or their parents may file a complaint in accordance with a procedure consisting of no more than three steps:

Step 1 – Directly affected person or his/her supervisor

To file a complaint, the student or his/her parent must first contact the person directly concerned or his/her immediate supervisor.

The complaint can be verbal, but it is best to make it in writing.

The person receiving the complaint has 10 business days to respond to it.

Step 2 – Complaints Officer

If the student or his or her parent remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint or if the 10 business day period has passed, he or she may then contact the person in charge of handling complaints at the school service centre, school board or private educational institution, as the case may be.

The complaint can be verbal, but it is best to make it in writing.

The person responsible for handling complaints has 15 working days to respond.

Person in charge of complaint handling at the elementary school level

  • Zoubida Laayoun
  • zoubida@emms.ca
  • (514) 484-8845

Person responsible for handling complaints at the high school level

  • Khadija Nakhli
  • khadija@emms.ca
  • (514) 484-5084

Complaint Form

Step 3 – Regional Student Ombudsperson

If the student or their parent is still dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint, or if the 15 working day deadline has passed, they can contact the regional student ombudsman in their region. The student or parent will assist the student or parent in formulating the complaint in writing.

The student or their parent can choose the method of communication that suits them best between:

  • Web Complaint Form: pne.gouv.qc.ca/formulaire
  • Phone or text: 1-833-420-5233
  • Email: plaintes-pne@pne.gouv.qc.ca

The Regional Student Ombudsman has 20 working days to review the complaint and issue its findings. If the complaint is well founded, it may make recommendations to the school service centre, the school board or the private educational institution.

However, before they are forwarded, the findings are reviewed by the National Student Ombudsman, who has a maximum of 5 working days to decide whether to examine the complaint itself. In this case, the student has 10 working days to complete the review and, if necessary, substitute his conclusions or recommendations for those of the regional student ombudsman.

The regional student ombudsman then informs the complainant and the school service centre, school board or private educational institution of the findings, as well as any recommendations.

The school service centre, school board or private educational institution has 10 working days to inform the complainant and the regional student ombudsman of the action it intends to take on the findings and recommendations and, if applicable, the reasons justifying its refusal to act on them.

It should be noted that in the event of an act of sexual violence, a student or one of his or her parents may contact the regional student ombudsman directly if he or she wishes.

Make a report

A report, which can be made by any person, is only possible in the case of an act of sexual violence 1 committed against a student attending an educational institution.

Such a report is made directly to the Regional Student Ombudsman, without having to go through the first two steps of the process, by:

  • a teacher
  • a professional working in a school environment
  • an employee who is a member of the administration of an educational institution
  • another student or one of their parents
  • etc.

The reporting person will be able to choose the method of communication that suits him or her best between:

Reports are dealt with on an urgent basis. The confidentiality of the information identifying the person making a report is maintained, except with the consent of the person making the report. If required by law, the regional student ombudsman communicates the identity of the person to the director of youth protection.

The Regional Student Ombudsman may also deal with a case of sexual violence on his or her own initiative.

1 Sexual violence is defined as “any form of violence committed through sexual practices or by targeting sexuality, including sexual assault. This concept also includes any other misconduct that manifests itself in particular by unwanted gestures, words, behaviours or attitudes of a sexual nature, including that relating to sexual or gender diversity, expressed directly or indirectly, including by technological means. For more information on acts of sexual violence, you can visit the Government of Quebec’s page on forms of violence.

Protection from retaliation

The National Student Ombudsman Act protects from reprisal or threat of reprisal persons who file a complaint or make a report, cooperate in the handling of a complaint or report, or accompany a person who makes a complaint or report.

It is also prohibited to threaten a person with retaliatory measures to refrain from filing a complaint or making a report.

For the student or his or her parents who make a complaint or report, the following are presumed to be retaliatory measures:

  • Depriving them of rights
  • The application of a different treatment
  • Suspension or expulsion of the student

For staff of an educational institution who make a report or cooperate in the investigation of a complaint or report, retaliation is presumed to be:

  • His demotion
  • Suspension
  • His dismissal
  • His Movement
  • Any disciplinary action or other measure affecting the employee’s employment or working conditions

Fines for an individual who retaliates or threatens to retaliate can range from $2,000 to $20,000. These fines can range from $10,000 to $250,000 for corporations.