Getting an English certificate for Bill 101 in Québec for Homeschooling Children: The Process & Eligibility
So, I had to try and obtain what I call an “English certificate” from Québec to be able to homeschool Little Bun in English.
Long story short, I wanted to send him to French school in Québec but because of COVID-19 fears, and that children and/or caregivers needed medical exemptions with VERY SPECIFIC health issues (e.g. lung disease, etc) were the only ones to be able to do schooling remotely.
I was out of luck unless I wanted to move back to Ontario and put him through schooling there, which was offered both in-school and remotely, but not in Québec. (WHY!)
So.. I guess I am homeschooling in English in Québec at least for Grade One.
The process was not as easy to understand. I’ll tackle getting the homeschooling portion first.
I am writing this guide only as a parent who found it stressful and difficult to navigate how to homeschool in English because of COVID-19.
HOMESCHOOLING in Québec
It is your right as a parent, at any time, to take your child out and do homeschooling.
You must inform the government within 30 days of doing so, or before September 30th. Or if you take your kid out October 1st, you have to inform them within 30 days that you have done so, or face possible criminal charges for child neglect.
It is your right to homeschool but you cannot simply just take your child out and not inform anyone.
PROCESS TO HOMESCHOOL in Québec
You have to fill in a form that states your intent to homeschool here.. and there is a great homeschooling overview, and FAQ on the whole homeschooling business.
After you fill in the form and email it, you have to create a learning plan.
In Québec, you must homeschool in French, unless you obtain the English Certificate / Exemption.
So in the form, if you are schooling in ENGLISH, you must check that you have the English exemption if you plan on schooling in English, but obviously, first you have to get the English exemption certificate (see my notes below).
The learning plan template is here to fill in.
You can then choose for evaluation, either you submit a body of work stating what your child did all year (assignments, exams, activities), or have a professional evaluate your child based on what they should have learned.
There’s a site called the AQED that helps homeschooling parents here, however if you want to become a member and obtain their templates for each grade, it’s $8 a month.
I just filled it in the way I thought it should be done. The less detail the better, the AQED suggests otherwise they will evaluate your child on EVERYTHING listed on there.
ENGLISH CERTIFICATE / EXEMPTION in Québec
You must bring a bunch of documents, and they vary depending on what your status is as a Canadian resident or citizen is, your child’s status and eligibility.
Only very specific groups of people can obtain this exemption, everyone else must send their kids or homeschool in French.
Once you get the certificate, you have to renew the document yearly as well.
The eligibility standard requirements are all listed here for admissions of various flavours from Canadian residents, to parents who are just studying in Canada, to citizens, to immigrants, etc.
Look at which one you fall into / qualify for and then read the documents required, CAREFULLY.
With COVID-19 you must now make an appointment if you are a new registrant at this number:
(514) 483 – 7200 (extension 7254)
How to dial an extension:
Once you hear the speaker, just dial the extension 7254 to be transferred to make an appointment.
I was schooled in Ontario for all of elementary, high school and university
The only schools they care about for this eligibility are ELEMENTARY schools in this case. High schools/secondary schools and universities DO NOT APPLY.
Ontarians, also need at least FIVE YEARS in elementary schooling done in 100% English to qualify. The other provinces need only 4 years.
Also, If you did French immersion, you do not qualify for the certificate.
For the letter from the Ontario school board, you need to obtain an “OSR” (Ontario Student Record). Just search “OSR” for your school board, and see what they say in terms of how to get one.
It would also greatly help that your school board will write a letter stating CLEARLY that the language of instruction was done 100% in English.
The documents I had to bring were:
- Letter from my Ontario school board stating my grades, years I went to school, elementary schools I went to, and them clearly stating what percentage of my education was in English or French.
- My Canadian passport (birth certificate also qualifies), but they have to be ORIGINALS not copies
- My driver’s license or utility bill, or tax bill that showed my address in Québec with my name (cellphone bills do not qualify)
- My son’s birth certificate (the long one that shows both parents’ names NOT the one that shows the short one)
- My immigration papers to show the date I landed in Canada as a child (IM90)
They will photocopy and stamp all of these documents.
SPECIAL PROCEDURES FOR HOMESCHOOLING IN ENGLISH
If you have applied to homeschool above, you must send the emailed Acknowledgement from the government or the “Accuse the réception” of the document of intent to homeschool to the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) via email to them.
(The form asks for the English Exemption certificate first, but we actually checked off we had it, knowing we’d get it, and then got the English Exemption afterwards within 2 weeks).
You must also send the learning plan that you have completed once it is done (September 30th is the deadline in most cases, or 30 days after you declare your Intent to Homeschool).