The true practice of education law is a blend of law and educational philosophy. It is impossible to deliver proper legal advice without a strong understanding of educational administration, teaching methods and practices, student discipline and the school environment. We have experience working with educators and school boards in a range of educational institutions, including in the post secondary sector, and our lawyers have served as members of school boards and university boards of governors, and acted as chairs or vice-chairs on such boards and on national bodies.
Our work with has enabled us to develop an in-depth understanding of the philosophy, needs and goals educational institutions may face and to deliver services with the expertise to best match their objectives, including those for cost-efficiencies. Our team works closely with a variety of educational institutions to develop consistent policies and procedures, across a range of school environments. We understand the complexity of a student environment and the student issues it entails, including stress, poverty, mental illness, violence in the workplace and health and safety. We can assist educational institutions in resolving student issues in a manner that will reduce confrontation and minimize adverse publicity.
The lawyers at McInnes Cooper regularly provide opinions to school boards and post-secondary schools in the following areas:
- Teacher disciplinary matters, including suspension and termination of teachers under legislation and progressive discipline;
- Labour relations matters, including bargaining unit exclusions, strikes and lockouts, interpretation of collective agreements with teachers, secretaries, teacher’s assistants, librarians, custodians and trades people;
- Pension and Benefits matters;
- Privacy matters, including student searches;
- Intellectual Property mattes, including development and commercialization of technologies and other Intellectual Property;
- Governance matters, including drafting and interpretation of Board By-Laws and Rules of Order;
- Tenders and procurement;
- Real property, environmental and infrastructure issues, including public/private partnerships
- Student disciplinary matters, including student suspensions and student discipline policies and student searches; Interpretation of education legislation, and Provincial education policies and procedures;
- Selection criteria for hiring teachers, and staff reductions and layoffs;
- Job descriptions and performance evaluations;
- Policies, including student records policies, harassment policies, student discipline policies;
- Cross cultural understanding and human rights;
- School population policies, enrolment matters and school closures; and
- Teachers’ negligence.