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Navigating the IPRC: Tips for Ontario Parents




The Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) is a crucial part of the special education process in schools. The IPRC is a school board committee that decides if a child is "exceptional" and requires special education programs and services. The IPRC also determines the best placement for the child within the school, and this decision is reviewed annually.


The IPRC process is determined by Regulation 181/98 of the Education Act in Ontario. This regulation includes a description of the IPRC process, the roles and responsibilities of the school, and the rights of parents and guardians to request an IPRC and appeal the decisions of identification and placement.


Why should you have your child identified as "exceptional" through the IPRC process?

When the school board committee determines that a student is "exceptional" and requires special education programs and services, the decision of the IPRC is an official recognition that the child needs additional support from the school board. As part of the IPRC process, the school board must:

  1. Invite the parents to the IPRC meeting to participate in the discussions

  2. Provide the parents with a Parent Guide about the IPRC process

  3. Inform the parents of their right, or the right of a student over age 16, to appeal the decision of identification or placement

In addition to these steps, the school board must also develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student within 30 school days.


The IPRC process usually begins after the school has been supporting the child for some time, and it is clear that the student needs additional support. The school team may have already met with the parents and decided that the student needs accommodations, such as specialized equipment or computer software, modifications to the grade level curriculum, or an alternative program. In some cases, the IPRC process may begin in kindergarten, especially if the student requires significant changes to the classroom environment or program.


Tips for preparing for the initial IPRC or annual review


Under Regulation 181/98, parents and guardians must be invited to the IPRC, and it is recommended that they make every effort to attend. The discussion at the IPRC should not be surprising to the family, as there should have been many meetings and conversations with the family before the IPRC. The school may call the IPRC or it may be requested by the parents. In either case, there should have been school team meetings and discussions with the parents before the IPRC is called.


Here are some tips for preparing for the initial IPRC or annual review:

  1. Be informed and involved in your child's education and support plans. This means staying up-to-date on your child's progress and being aware of any concerns or challenges they are facing.

  2. Attend the IPRC meeting and participate in the discussions. This is your opportunity to share your perspective and advocate for your child's needs.

  3. Bring any concerns or questions to the IPRC meeting. This can help the committee better understand your child's situation and make informed decisions.

  4. Consider bringing other individuals, such as advocates or support workers, to the IPRC meeting to help you participate in the discussions.

  5. If the IPRC decision is not in line with your wishes, you have the right to appeal the decision.

The IPRC process: a step-by-step outline

  1. The school team meets with the parents to discuss the student's needs and determines if the student requires accommodations, modifications, or an alternative program.

  2. If it is determined that the student requires an Iep, the school team may refer the student to the IPRC. 3. The school board must invite the parents to the IPRC meeting and provide them with a Parent Guide about the IPRC process.

  3. The IPRC meeting is held, and the committee discusses the student's strengths and needs, as well as the best placement for the student.

  4. The IPRC makes a decision on the student's identification and placement, and the parents are informed of the decision.

  5. The school board must develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student within 30 school days.

  6. The student's identification and placement are reviewed annually by the IPRC.


Appealing the IPRC decision


If the IPRC decision is not in line with the parents' wishes, they have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process involves requesting a review of the IPRC decision by the Superintendent of the school board. The Superintendent will review the decision and may uphold it, modify it, or send it back to the IPRC for further consideration.

If the parents are not satisfied with the Superintendent's decision, they can appeal to the Ontario Special Education Tribunal. This is a more formal process and requires legal representation. The tribunal will review the decision and may uphold it, modify it, or send it back to the IPRC for further consideration.


It is important for parents to be informed and involved in their child's education and support plans. This can help ensure that their child receives the appropriate accommodations, modifications, and support they need to succeed in school. Parents can contact their local school board for more information on the IPRC process and their rights.

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