Ontario Regulation 464/97
Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC)
A Question and Answer Guide
Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs) play a vital role in the success of special education programs and services in Ontario’s publicly funded schools.
SEACs are Special Education Advisory Committees established since 1980 as part of the revision of Bill 82. SEACs are referenced in Regulation 464/467. Section 57.1 of the Education Act requires
each board to establish a SEAC. Each SEAC must convene at least 10 times per year.
What does SEAC oversee?
The Special Education Advisory Committee
- Makes recommendations to the school board with regard to special education
- Participates in the board’s annual review of its Special Education Plan
- Participates in the board’s annual budget process as it relates to special education
- Reviews the financial statements of the board as they relate to special education
What is SEAC’s role in Quality Assurance?
SEACs focus on three areas to assure quality in special education:
- School Board Special Education Plans
- Individual Education Plans
- Public Relations
How is SEAC involved in School Board Education Plans?
With the assistance of SEAC, school boards must review the plan once a year and send any amendments to the Minister of Education. Every two years, boards must prepare and approve a report of the special education programs and services. The standards stipulate that in developing and modifying their special education plan, boards must take into consideration issues and feedback
from members of the community including parents, members of school councils, community organizations, and students. This public consultation, which takes place with the assistance of the board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), must be maintained on a continuous basis throughout the year.
How is SEAC involved in Individual Education Plans?
A school board’s Special Education plan is reviewed yearly by the Ministry of Education. The SEAC has the opportunity to provide comment and advice to the board when the results of the Ministry’s review are received and when the board develops its response for inclusion in the board’s Special Education Plan. As the Ministry moves, over time, to having school boards develop and implement procedures for quality assurance for the implementation of IEPs, the SEACs will have an important
role to play in providing further advice to boards.
How is SEAC involved in public relations?
Parents or members of the public may contact a member of their school board’s Special Education Advisory Committee to discuss their point of view about the board’s system-wide planning and development of special education programs and services. Members of the public may attend a SEAC
meeting to make their views known to the Committee on special education issues, and through it, to the district school board.
Who Is a Member of SEAC?
SEAC membership is composed of representatives from:
- up to 12 local parent associations, affiliated with provincially incorporated associations which further the interests of exceptional pupils or adults, and which do not represent professional educators;
- one, two or three board members, depending on the size of the board
- one or two representatives for Aboriginal pupils where appropriate; and
- may include one or more members at large.
Are there any guidelines in choosing SEAC members?
The following are some guidelines from the Ministry publication, “Special Education: A Guide for Educators” that have been useful to boards:
- The SEAC seats for representatives of local associations should be used to bring to the committee the perspective of parents of children with a wide range of exceptionalities.
- Representatives of local associations should bring the perspective and the resources of a provincial or a national association that is incorporated and operates throughout Ontario to further the interests of one or more groups of exceptional pupils;
- The representative of the local association nominated by the association is normally the person appointed by the board.
- The association selects as its representative, a member who lives within the jurisdiction of the board, the actual address of the “branch” of the association should not be significant.