EDUC 5421
Legal Issues in Education

3.0 Credits

NOTE: To register for this course, please email or call 250-377-6048.


This course examines educational governance, policy and laws with an emphasis on their effects on students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Course themes include student and parent rights, labour law, child protection, collective bargaining, and the governance of schools in B.C., Canada and internationally.

Delivery Method

Online, Paced.


Meets the admission requirements to the MEd.


The main goals of this course are to acquaint you with the Legal Framework for Education and the impact of the law on education environments. We will accomplish this through an analysis of a pre charter framework and a post charter framework.More specifically, once you have finished the course, you should be able to:

  • Write in a concise and defensible administrative style, suitable for formal reports, letters, and other administrative communications
  • Show evidence of graduate level research skills
  • Discuss the background and historical perspective of education law in Canada and other countries
  • Outline the implications of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on public education
  • Discuss the changing legal framework for public education in Canada and other countries
  • Outline the structure of school governance in B.C., Canada, and internationally
  • Describe the legal and policy-making context of schools in B.C. (School Act, Child & Family law, Labour law)
  • Discuss educator responsibilities regarding child protection
  • Compare and contrast the legal rights of students, teachers, administrators and parents
  • Describe the legal processes involved in labour relations, collective agreements, and the collective bargaining process in the public education sector.
  • Compare and contrast the legal roles of unionized, nonunionized, and excluded staff
  • Analyze legal and arbitration documents within an educational context.

Course Outline

The course is divided into twelve units, which are further divided into topics of study:

  • Unit 1: Introduction and the Pre Charter Framework
  • Unit 2: Negligence and the Criminal Code
  • Unit 3: The Transition to a Post Charter Framework
  • Unit 4: The Post Charter Framework
  • Unit 5: The Impact of the Charter on School Environments
  • Unit 6: The Criminal Law and the Implications for Schools
  • Unit 7: Education Governing Legislation
  • Unit 8: Comparative Education Governance Systems
  • Unit 9: Legislation Affecting Educator Roles
  • Unit 10: Contractual Obligations of Educators
  • unit 11: Collective Bargaining
  • Unit 12: Labor Relations in the Public Education Sector

Maximum Completion

16 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

MacKay, A. W., L. Sutherland & K. Pochini. Teachers & The Law: Diverse Roles & New Challenges. 3e. Emond Montgomery Publications, 2013.
Type: Textbook: ISBN: 978-1-55239-523-3

Online students are responsible for sourcing and ordering their own textbooks. You can order the text through the TRU Bookstore at A textbook list will be provided with a registration package when you are eligible to register. If you have any questions please contact the MEd program at

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the "Mail" tool in the Learning Environment or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final project and 70% overall. The following chart shows how the final grade is determined for this course.

Assignment 1: Reaction Paper 1 10%
Assignment 2: Reaction Paper 2 10%
Assignment 3: Individual Presentation 15%
Assignment 4: Group Presentation 15%
Assignment 5: Online discussions and reflective journal 20%
Final Project * 30%
Total 100%

* Mandatory