Student Input

Prince Edward Island’s Education Act Student Regulations provides a rare case of student input, yet it still excludes homeless students.

To enrol your child in either the English or French “school system” you have to provide their “residence address and telephone number” as well as those “of each parent of the child” and “confirmation of the Canadian citizenship or temporary or permanent resident status of the child or a parent of the child.”

You can’t be on the province-wide Hearing Committee for student discipline unless you’re “a resident of Prince Edward Island” and “at least eighteen years of age,” disenfranchising homeless youth from input into that committee.

Housing and Children

A public “Social Development and Housing Mandate Letter” from 2019 addressed by PEI Premier Dennis King to the PEI Minister of Social Development and Housing, calls on the Minister to:

“work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to make substantive progress [to] … Implement measures to address the realities of the current housing situation in PEI, and to improve availability and affordability … Continue to work on the community needs assessment to determine shelter requirements for vulnerable Islanders and identify and expand support for accessibility of emergency shelters … [and] [w]ork proactively with the Office of the Child Advocate and the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning to assist and support children and youth at risk…”

This implies that the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (PEI’s Ministry of Education equivalent) is implicated in the issue of vulnerable youth, who are in turn connected to housing and shelters (although that Department lacks policies on youth homelessness so far), which seems like a potential inroad from which to argue for the explicit cross-over of youth homelessness initiatives into school policies.

The PEI Education Act, which mirrors every provincial/territorial education policy, captures the address with the “primary domicile in the province” language:

  1. Right to access to education … (1) Every person is entitled to have access to the education program in a school … if the person … is a resident of the province; … and … is a Canadian citizen or is a child of a Canadian citizen, or is lawfully admitted to Canada for temporary or permanent residence or is a child of a person lawfully admitted on that basis.
  2. Resident in the province … For the purposes of section 42, a person is a resident of the province if the person (a) is living with a parent who has his or her primary domicile in the province; or (b) is an independent student who has his or her primary domicile in the province.