Special Education Further Steps

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Tribunal's Decision

Once the hearing has ended, the panel meets to talk about the facts, information presented, and the law. Only panel members who heard all the evidence will take part in making the decision. The decision is based only on the evidence given at the hearing.

The Tribunal will consider both what the student needs and what the Board is able to offer. They will be guided by what is in the "best interest of the student." 

The panel's decision may be to grant your appeal, deny your appeal, or grant your appeal in part (give you part of the remedies you seek but not all).

Timeline for Decision

Sometimes the tribunal may give an interim decision, within a week or so, without written reasons. Usually, the tribunal will give its decision with reasons and any orders it will make, within 90 days of the hearing. 

Following the Hearing

The tribunal may continue to take an interest in how its decision is applied. This is called “remaining seized of the case.” The tribunal may do this on its own or because it has been asked to by a party. See Practice Direction - Seized Cases for more information. The tribunal usually stays involved if doing so is in the best interest of the student.

If you win the decision, but feel that the school board is not following what they were told to do, you can get a court order to force them to do so. If you decide to get a court order, it may be a good idea to get help from a representative before going to the court, though you don't have to.

Other Options

The decision of the tribunal is final and binding. You do not have the right to appeal or to apply for a re-hearing. If you think that the hearing was unfair, or that the decision was not reasonable or correct, you can ask a court for a judicial review. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer first.

Three months after the decision, you can also ask for another IPRC. If you are not happy with the new IPRC, you can begin the appeal process again.

NOTE *** Any new appeal must be based on the new IPRC alone. The tribunal will not hear about older matters that it has already decided on.

Ombudsman Ontario

The Ombudsman does not have the power to overturn decisions or change tribunal decisions, but If you believe you were treated unfairly by an administrative tribunal you can make a formal complaint with the Ombudsman.  If the Ombudsman agrees, he can make recommendations to the tribunal to address the problem, and he can also make recommendations about government legislation, policies or programs.  For more information on the powers of the Ombudsman over tribunals, go to: Ombudsman Ontario


There is no fee to make an appeal before the Ontario Special Education Tribunal.  The costs to make an appeal will be for transportation to get to the hearing, for any reports or travel for witnesses you want to bring to the appeal, and for other similar aspects of your appeal.

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More Information

Ontario Regulation 181/98: Identification and Placement of Exceptional Pupils

Education Act, Section 57

Statutory Powers Procedure Act

Ontario Special Education Tribunal Rules of Procedure

Practice Direction on Representation before Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Mediation Practice Directions

Consent Orders

2015 Annual Report of the Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education


People for Education

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