Student Services

Dispute Resolution: When parents and school divisions disagree

School divisions and parents sometimes disagree about the education of students, and it is necessary that a timely, fair, and open dispute resolution process be available at the local school and school division levels. A variety of informal and formal procedures are used to identify issues and find meaningful solutions to the issues in dispute (e.g., problem solving, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration). The education of students with special learning needs and abilities involves an even closer working relationship, as parents* are integral members of the student-specific planning team.

Both informal and formal processes are available to parents School Divisions in Manitoba have information available to parents about the local or school division policy. It is important to read the school division policy and to follow the line of communication provided.

Informal Process

Whenever possible, disputes should be resolved as close to the local level as possible. To assist parents and educators, Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning has developed a resource for problem solving and informal dispute resolution for schools, families and communities. A number of suggestions are included in the following documents:

Working Together: A Guide to Positive Problem solving for Schools, Families and Communities

Formal Process

The Amendment to the Public Schools Act: Appropriate Educational Programming required that a dispute resolution process be developed for use when there is a disagreement about the appropriateness of the educational programming or placement being provided by the school board to a pupil , as identified in the student specific plan **

The formal process will be used to resolve issues that cannot be resolved at the school division level. Local processes must have been completed, including an appeal and decision by the Board of Trustees.

The formal dispute resolution process has been developed for use at the provincial level. The details are included in the Manitoba regulations 155/2005 (Adobe icon 112 KB ) and further information is available in the following documents:

* The term parents refers to both parents and guardians and is used with the recognition that in some cases only one parent may be involved in a child’s education or that the significant adult in the life of many students may not be their parent. This term may also apply to a student who has reached the age of majority.

** The term student-specific plan reflects terminology currently used in the field to represent the global term individual education plan (IEP), as referenced in section 5 of The Appropriate Educational Programming Regulation 155/05.


General Enquiries
Inclusion Support Branch
Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning
Telephone: 204-945-7907
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7907