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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

EDUC 5421: Legal Issues in Education

NOTE: To register for this course, please email or call 250-377-6067.

This course is an examination of educational governance, policy, and laws, and the changing legal framework for education in Canada determined by the Canadian Constitution. Precedent-setting cases will be reviewed and analyzed with the intent to provide guidance on the rights and obligations of students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Course themes include student and parent rights; education law and Indigenous Peoples; issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion; education law and information technology; labour law; child protection; collective bargaining; and the governance of schools in British Columbia, Canada, and internationally.

Learning outcomes

  • Discuss how and why the education governance system in Canada is structured.
  • Describe the history and governance structure of Indigenous education in Canada and its relationship to issues affecting Indigenous Peoples today.
  • Explain the implications of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the education system as it relates to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Analyze the legal and policy making context for a variety of issues that affect schools in British Columbia and the specifics of education governance and related legislation in British Columbia.
  • Outline the legal components necessary for a finding of negligence and its relationship to educational malpractice.
  • Describe issues related to the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers and administrators.
  • Outline the arbitration and collective bargaining process in the public education sector in British Columbia.
  • Compare and contrast the structure of education governance in Canada and the education governance structures in other countries.

Course topics

  • Week 1: Canadian Education Governance
  • Week 2: Negligence and the Criminal Code
  • Week 3: The Transition to a Post-Charter Framework
  • Week 4: The History of Federal Legislation and the Canadian Constitution Regarding Indigenous Peoples
  • Week 5: Impact of the Charter on School Environments
  • Week 6: Legislation Related to Schools
  • Week 7: Legislation Governing Education
  • Week 8: Comparative Education Governance Systems
  • Week 9: Legislation Affecting Educator Roles
  • Week 10: Labour Relations and Contractual Obligations of Educators
  • Week 11: Information Technology, Social Media, and Teachers’ Intellectual Rights and Responsibilities When Online
  • Week 12: Grievances, Arbitrations, and the Future Judicialization of Education

Required text and materials

Online MEd students are responsible for sourcing and/or ordering their own books. Please see the list of required textbooks here:
Students may be able to order the text through the TRU Bookstore at

Please note, if students choose to source their own textbooks, publishers may offer several package options that include additional resource material not required in your course. Students may choose to purchase any package as long as it includes the correct author, title and edition listed for the course. 

If students have any questions about obtaining the correct textbook, please contact


To complete this course successfully, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project. 

Assignment 1: Reaction Paper 1 10%
Assignment 2: Applying Legal Concepts (Individual Presentation) 15%
Assignment 3: Indigenous Education Legislation 10%
Assignment 4: Weeks 1–6 Reflective Journal and Discussion 10%
Assignment 5: Legislation Questions 5%
Assignment 6: Case Study (Group Presentation)


Assignment 7: Weeks 7–12 Reflective Journal and Discussion 10%
Mandatory Final Project: Fictional Case Study 30%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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