If your child is facing suspension or expulsion, these serious disciplinary actions can have a dramatic impact on their school career and beyond. Because of the serious nature of these actions, they should not be handed out lightly. Additionally, children in publicly funded schools are entitled to have the allegations fairly and impartially investigated, and have an appeal process for expulsion and any suspension that is longer than one day. This process is also available to   private school students also, depending on the circumstances.


In publicly funded schools, a student can evoke his or her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This provides for a fair hearing, but this process can be quite complex. Because of this complexity and other factors, a lawyer is not only helpful for navigating the law but dramatically increasing the chances of reducing or eliminating punishment.


When a child is suspended or expelled, the school must provide a detailed letter which includes:

  • Explanation of the penalty the school is imposing
  • Precise length of any suspension
  • The events or behavior that the school says led to that penalty
  • Appeal options that are available to contest the suspension or expulsion

Failure to include all of these items may invalidate the suspension or expulsion. Also, the school must give students and parents the chance to have their say before making a final decision on the punishment. This often occurs before the penalty is imposed and the school writes the letter. It is also relevant to note that there are specific procedures in place to ensure a school conducts a thorough investigation of the event.


The appeal process is very similar between school boards, although each Board has its own procedure for the hearing of suspension appeals. The Education Act does have some consistencies that it expects from each school, however. For example, the school must provide information about the appeal process when they inform the student about the suspension or expulsion. This includes the deadlines for the appeal process which can be quite short.


Public schools have two ways that suspension and expulsion can be given out:

  1. Activities for which a principal may suspend a student but does not have to: These activities are ones which the principal is legally allowed to suspend a student, but they are not required to. These activities are listed in section 306 of the Education Act. In deciding whether to suspend a student for the type of conduct described in that section, the principal must consider mitigating factors, both in terms of whether suspension is appropriate and, if so, for how long.
  2. Activities for which a principal must expel a student and may expel the student. 310 of the Education Act defines these. This section details activities that must result in, at least, suspension. This, most notably, includes repeated bullying. During the suspension for one of these acts, an investigation must be performed to see if the activity requires expulsion.


Private schools are not covered under the same rules and laws as public schools. They, typically have their own set of rules by which they may decide to suspend or expel a student.

DSF lawyers can help you navigate these rules with the same expertise we offer our public-school clients.


At DSF, we fight for every child’s right to a safe and secure education. Our experienced team has expertise in the complex and changing laws regarding bullying, disciplinary action and other educational and legal matters.  We will work with you to examine the disciplinary actions that have been taken against your child and ensure they get a fair outcome for their case.

We offer multiple convenient locations in TorontoWhitby, Barrie and more to serve our clients better. Find the office closest to you by calling us at  416-449-1400 or by visiting our locations page.

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