University of Saskatchewan > College of Education > Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit

Book coverA Guide to Alberta School Law

Edited by Kent Donlevy, Jerome Chomos and Keith Walker (2008)

Available from
Dr. J. Kent Donlevy B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., LL.B, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Barrister & Solicitor Associate Dean (Interim): Graduate Division of Educational Research

Vice-Chair: Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board Faculty of Education University of Calgary

2500 University Drive, N.W. Calgary, Alberta. T2N 1N4

Tel: (403) 220-2973 Fax: (403) 282-3005 E-mail:

$39.95 (plus GST & shipping) - ISBN 978-0-9811730-0-9

There are a number of Statutes (Acts), Regulations and Orders that directly relate to the provision and delivery of educational services in Alberta. These legal documents outline how "schooling" is to be governed and operated in the Province and elaborate a variety of salient and mundane topics. Sometimes we have found these documents difficult to access and insufficiently consolidated for practical use. It is our goal to provide an accessible, user-friendly guide to these legal parameters for teachers, aspiring teachers, trustees, school administrators, central office administration, parents, and interested community members.

Obviously, this is not a legal text but rather a non-legal interpretation of the Alberta School Act and a variety of other legal texts for the general informational use of laypersons. WHEN A PARTICULAR LEGAL OPINION IS SOUGHT, A LAWYER OUGHT TO BE CONSULTED. It is also important to note that the information and content found in this and other guides to school law is subject to change. The 14 Parts, Appendices, and reference, of this guide are provided as a starting place for questions and curiosities that parents, trustees, new and veteran teachers, school administrators, school support staff, school division personnel, and others may have about the formal elements of school law in Alberta. We have placed the content of Alberta school legislation under themes and headings:

PART 1.0: The Student. In this part we provide information on attendance at school, operation of schools, provision for education, types of schools, learning resources and particular programs in Alberta, language and culture programs, special education, and student health and welfare.

PART 2.0: Parents and the Community. This part of the guide defines who parents are, their rights and obligations, as well as outlining community use of school facilities.

PART 3.0: Teachers and Student Teachers. This part deals with teacher qualifications and certification, teacher classification, the hiring of teachers, conditions of employment, teachers' duties and functions, supervision of teachers, teacher suspension, dismissal, other disciplinary action, and student teachers.

PART 4.0: The School Principal. This section of the guide reviews the qualifications and appointment of principals, their employment status, duties and functions and describes the roles and functions of vice-principals and assistant principals.

PART 5.0: Non-Professional Personnel in Schools. This part is concerned with non-teaching school board employees, contractors, and volunteers within the school.

PART 6.0: Collective Bargaining in Alberta. Collective bargaining and settlement of disputes are briefly described in this section.

PART 7.0: Alberta Education – The Department of Learning. This section provides a description of the Alberta government department responsible for education* (“Alberta Education”) and outlines the Minister of Education's duties and powers. In addition, the appointment of ministry officials, and the legal instruments of the Minister of Education are described.

PART 8.0: School Division Structure and Governance. School districts and school boards are legally described, together with their membership, duties, and powers. Joint Boards, school districts, local school boards, and local school advisory committees are also reviewed.

PART 9.0: School Division Administration. The duties of Board chair, superintendent of education and superintendent of administration are outlined in this part of the guide.

PART 10.0: The Basics of School District Budgets. This part of the guide provides an overview of how education is financed in the Province of Alberta. The guide includes a brief description of the Alberta School Foundation Fund, and borrowing powers of Boards. This part of the guide also provides a description of legal status of school property.

PART 11.0: Separate Schools in Alberta. An overview of the history, relevant statutes, rights, and responsibilities of Catholic schools and teachers is provided.

PART 12.0: Francophone Education in Alberta. An overview of Francophone education, its establishment, structures, general program, funding and administration are outlined in this part of the guide.

PART 13.0: First Nations Education in Alberta. An overview of the key documents, trends and organizational patterns for provision of educational services to First Nations persons in Alberta is provided.

PART 14.0: Schools of Choice and Educational Programs. This section of the Guide provides an overview of the various options parents have beyond the Public, Separate, First Nations, and Francophone school systems. Included are charter and private school choices as well as home education, outreach and virtual programs. An overview of registration obligations, parental rights and responsibilities, boards of education responsibilities, monitoring authority and funding is provided.

PART 15.0: Appendices. In the appendices of this guide, we provide a collection of ethics codes, rights and freedoms documents, federal and provisional statutes pertaining to education in Alberta and key documents that relate to education in Alberta.

PART 16.0: References According to Sections of the Guide. *In this document we use the terms “Alberta Learning” and “Alberta Education” interchangeably. From time to time, the Alberta Government has chosen to change the name of the department or ministry which overseas education in the Province.

University of Saskatchewan > College of Education > Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit