Public school officials in Canada frequently require home school families to submit to home visits by governmental observers as part of the educational program evaluation, even though this practice raises significant constitutional concerns.
No statute in any of the provinces requires school officials to conduct home visits of home schoolers. In fact, the practice is probably unconstitutional under the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Article 8 of the Charter states that “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”
This provision of the Canadian Charter mirrors the Fourth Amendment in the United States Constitution. Both of these provisions are rooted in English common law.
Under English common law, the government could not simply search someone’s house on the mere suspicion that criminal activity might be going on there. The authorities had to collect evidence and then show it to a magistrate, showing that there “probable cause” to suspect that something illegal was happening at the place in question. Only on showing of probable cause could a judge or magistrate issue a search warrant.
Traditionally, there is no need for a search warrant if the homeowner or the occupant gives permission for the police to enter the property and search the premises. Home schoolers in Canada routinely waive their constitutional rights and allow the home visits, many times not realizing that the Canadian Charter allows them to say “no.”
HSLDA in Canada and the Untied States has been urging its members not to agree to home visits. In Canada school officials have no statutory authority to conduct such “visits,” and they are violating the Canadian Charter. Home schoolers need to stand strong against this unnecessary intrusion into their lives. Please contact HSLDA if you have any questions about home visits by governmental officials.
Saskatchewan Separate School Restricts Home Schoolers
In Saskatchewan, as in several other provinces, home school families can be overseen by separate schools. Usually these separate schools are Catholic schools, and they receive tax funds, unlike private schools in the United States. One Catholic school board in Saskatchewan is requiring home school families to submit to requirements more burdensome than the local public school’s requirements for home schoolers. The separate school board is requiring the families to read through their curricula and show, point for point, where it meets the educational scope and sequences of the separate schools. Home schoolers under this school’s supervision must also submit to home visits. Of course, none of this is required by Saskatchewan’s laws. HSLDA attorneys are trying to resolve the matter.
HSLDA Lawyer to Speak in British Columbia
HSLDA attorney Jordan Lorence will be speaking at a Gregg Harris conference on February 26-27, 1993 in Abbottsford, British Columbia, near Vancouver.