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(This extract formed Appendix E “Parental Choice in Education” in the FISA BC Brief to the Royal Commission on Education, March 1, 1988, Mr. B. Sullivan, Q.C. Commissioner)
The stress that the brief makes on the rights of parents to exercise choice in the education of their children is a position that is widely recognized in both practice and law. The point is made by N. Finkelstein in “Legal and Constitutional Aspects of Public Funding for Private Schools in Ontario” January 29, 1985, when he states:
“In my view, given the consistency among the Canadian, American, and international law on the point, the liberty interest in s.7 of the Charter comprehends the right of parents to educate their children and establish private schools.” 1
The extent of the concept may be judged from the embodiment of the ideas of freedom, choice, and parental rights in various international documents. As Finkelstein argues:
“Another source of law which is likely to be persuasive is international law. Numerous international conventions recognize a liberty interest in parents to direct their children’s education and by implication, a concomitant right to establish private schools. 51 While international treaties have no direct application in Canada until implemented by competent legislation, 52they are evidence of what is done in other free and democratic societies. International law has been considered in both pre-Charter 53 and Charter cases, 54 and is thereby useful at least indirectly on questions of Canadian law.” 2
The BC Ministry of Education website contains the ACTS, Regulations, Orders, and Policies dealing with education.
As public bodies, public schools are governed according to the School Act and its related Regulations, Orders, and Policies.
As non-Government bodies, independent schools are regulated according to the Independent School Act and its related Regulations Orders, and Policies. That which occurs in the public system does not apply to independent schools, unless theIndependent School Act and its related Regulations, Orders, and Policies makes provision for such application. For example, graduation requirements from Grade 12 are the same for both public and independent schools.