Highlights of Regulation 181/98

This document represents a summary of information, provided in Ontario Regulation 181/98, and should be read in conjunction with this Regulation. If any discrepancy exists between this document and the Regulation, the information in Regulation 181/98 applies.

Requirements of Regulation 181/98

The Education Act requires that school boards provide, or purchase from another board, special education programs and services for their exceptional pupils. This attachment provides information about the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC), and sets out the procedures involved in identifying a pupil as “exceptional”, deciding the pupil’s placement, or appealing such decisions when the parent does not agree with the IPRC.

Note: The word “parent” when used, includes guardian.


What is an IPRC?
Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards set up an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). An IPRC is composed of at least three persons, one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the board.
What is the role of the IPRC?
The IPRC will:
  • decide whether or not the student should be identified as exceptional;
  • identify the areas of the student’s exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education;
  • decide an appropriate placement for the student; and
  • review the identification and placement at least once in each school year.
Who is identified as an exceptional pupil?
The Education Act defines an exceptional pupil as “a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program....” Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.
What is a special education program?
A special education program is defined in the Education Act as an educational program that:
  • is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation; and
  • includes a plan (called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil.
What are special education services?
Special education services are defined in the Education Act as the facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program.
What is an IEP?
The IEP must be developed for a student, in consultation with the parent. It must include:
  • specific educational expectations;
  • an outline of the special education program and services that will be received;
  • a statement about the methods by which the student’s progress will be reviewed; and
  • for students 14 years and older (except those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness), a plan for transition to appropriate postsecondary school activities, such as work, further education, and community living.

The IEP must be completed within 30 days after the student has been placed in the program, and the principal must ensure that the parent receives a copy of it.

How is an IPRC meeting requested?
The principal of the student’s school:
  • must request an IPRC meeting for the student, upon receiving a written request from the parent;
  • may, with written notice to the parent, refer the student to an IPRC when the principal and the student’s teacher or teachers believe that the student may benefit from a special education program.

Within 15 days of receiving a written request, or giving the parent notice, the principal must provide a copy of the board’s Parents’ Guide to Special Education to the parent, as well as an acknowledgement of the parent’s request and a written statement of approximately when the IPRC will meet.

May parents attend the IPRC meeting?
Regulation 181/98 entitles parents and pupils 16 years of age or older:
  • to be present at and participate in all committee discussions about the student; and
  • to be present when the committee’s identification and placement decision is made.
Who else may attend an IPRC meeting?
  • the principal of the student’s school;
  • other resource people such as the student’s teacher, special education staff, board support staff, or the representative of an agency, who may provide further information or clarification;
  • a representative of the parent or student 16 years of age or older – that is, a person who may provide support or speak on behalf of the parent or student; and
  • an interpreter, if one is required, e.g., sign language, oral, specific language.
Who may request that others attend?
Either the parent or the principal of the student’s school may make a request for the attendance of others at the IPRC meeting.
What information will parents receive about the IPRC meeting?
At least 10 days in advance of the meeting, the chair of the IPRC will provide to the parent, written notification of the meeting and an invitation to attend the meeting as an important partner in considering their child’s placement. This letter will provide notification of the date, time, and place of the meeting, and it will ask the parent to indicate whether they will attend.

Before the IPRC meeting occurs, the parent will receive a written copy of any information about their child that the chair of the IPRC has received. This may include the results of assessments or a summary of information.

What if parents are unable to make the scheduled meeting?
If the parent is unable to make the scheduled meeting, he or she may:
  • contact the school principal to arrange an alternative date or time; or
  • let the school principal know he or she will not be attending, and as soon as possible after the meeting, the principal will forward to the parent, for their consideration and signature, the IPRC’s written statement of decision noting the decision of identification and placement and any recommendations regarding special education programs and services.
What happens at an IPRC meeting?
  • The chair introduces everyone and explains the purpose of the meeting.
  • The IPRC will review all available information about the student. They will:
    • consider an educational assessment;
    • consider, subject to the provisions of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, a health or psychological assessment conducted by a qualified practitioner if they feel that such an assessment is required to make a correct identification or placement decision;
    • interview the student, with the parent’s permission, if the child is less than 16 years of age, if they feel it would be useful to do so; and
    • consider any information that the parent submits about their child or that the student submits if he or she is 16 years of age or older.
  • The committee may discuss any proposal that has been made about a special education program or special education services for the student. Committee members will discuss any such proposal at the parent’s request, or at the request of the student if the student is 16 years of age or older.
  • Parents are encouraged to ask questions and join in the discussion.
  • Following the discussion, after all the information has been presented and considered, the committee will make its decision.
What will the IPRC consider in making its placement decision?
Before the IPRC can consider placing the student in a special education class, it must consider whether placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services will:
  • meet the student’s needs; and
  • be consistent with parental preferences.

If, after considering all of the information presented to it, the IPRC is satisfied that placement in a regular class will meet the student’s needs and that such a decision is consistent with parental preferences, the committee will decide in favour of placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services.

If the committee decides that the student should be placed in a special education class, it must state the reasons for that decision in its written statement of decision.

What will the IPRC’s written statement of decision include?
The IPRC’s written statement of decision will state:
  • whether the IPRC has identified the student as exceptional;
  • where the IPRC has identified the student as exceptional,
  • the categories and definitions of any exceptionalities identified, as they are defined by the Ministry of Education;
  • the IPRC’s description of the student’s strengths and needs;
  • the IPRC’s placement decision; and
  • the IPRC’s recommendations regarding a special education program and special education services;
  • where the IPRC has decided that the student should be placed in a special education class, the reasons for that decision.
What happens after the IPRC has made its decision?
  • If the parent agrees with the IPRC decision, he or she will be asked to indicate, by signing their name, agreement with the identification and placement decisions made by the IPRC. The statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting or taken home and returned.
  • If the IPRC has identified the student as an exceptional pupil and the parent agreed with the IPRC identification and placement decision, the board will promptly notify the principal of the school at which the special education program is to be provided of the need to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student.
Once a child has been placed in a special education program, can the placement be reviewed?
  • A review IPRC meeting will be held within the school year, unless the principal of the school at which the special education program is being provided receives written notice from the parent, dispensing with the annual review.
  • The parent may request a review IPRC meeting any time after their child has been in a special education program for 3 months.
What does a review IPRC consider and decide?
  • The review IPRC considers the same type of information that was originally considered.
  • With the parent’s written permission, the IPRC conducting the review will consider the progress the student has made in relation to the IEP.
  • The IPRC will review the placement and identification decisions and decide whether they should be continued or whether a different decision should now be made.
What can parents do if they disagree with the IPRC decision?
  • If the parent does not agree with either the identification or placement decision made by the IPRC, he or she may:
  • within 15 days of receipt of the decision, request that the IPRC hold a second meeting to discuss their concerns; or
  • within 30 days of receipt of the decision, file a notice of appeal with the secretary of the board.
  • If the parent does not agree with the decision after the second meeting, he or she may file a notice of appeal within 15 days of receipt of the decision.

If the parent does not consent to the IPRC decision and does not appeal it, the board will instruct the principal to implement the IPRC decision.

How does the parent appeal an IPRC decision?
If the parent disagrees with the IPRC’s identification of their child as exceptional or with the placement decision of the IPRC, he or she may, within 30 days of receipt of the original decision or within 15 days of receipt of the decision from the second meeting described above, give written notification of their intention to appeal the decision to the secretary of the board.

The notice of appeal must:

  • indicate the decision with which the parent disagrees; and
  • include a statement that sets out his or her reasons for disagreeing.
What happens in the appeal process?
The appeal process involves the following steps:
  • The board will establish a special education appeal board to hear the appeal. The appeal board will be composed of three persons (one of whom is to be selected by the parent) who have no prior knowledge of the matter under appeal.
  • The chair of the appeal board will arrange a meeting to take place at a convenient time and place, but no later than 30 days after he or she has been selected (unless parents and board both provide written consent to a later date).
  • The appeal board will receive the material reviewed by the IPRC and may interview any persons who may be able to contribute information about the matter under appeal.
  • The parent, and student, if he or she is 16 years old or over, are entitled to be present at, and to participate in, all discussions.
  • The appeal board must make its recommendation within 3 days of the meeting ending. It may:
    • agree with the IPRC and recommend that the decision be implemented; or
    • disagree with the IPRC and make a recommendation to the board about the student’s identification, placement, or both.
  • The appeal board will report its recommendations in writing, to the parent and to the school board, providing the reasons for its recommendations.
  • Within 30 days of receiving the appeal board’s written statement, the school board will decide what action it will take with respect to the recommendations (boards are not required to follow the appeal board recommendation).
  • The parent may accept the decision of the school board, or may appeal to a Special Education Tribunal. The parent may request a hearing by writing to the secretary of the Special Education Tribunal. Information about making an application to the tribunal will be included with the appeal board’s decision.