The specific nature of regulation of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning has remained quite stable over the sixteen year period that the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada report has been active. While many provinces and territories continue to have some reference to distance education in the Education Act or Schools Act, in most instances these references simply define distance education or give the Minister of Education in that province or territory the ability to create, approve or regulate K-12 distance education. Many of these references have also become antiquated given the present realities of K-12 distance and online learning. Table 4 provides a summary of regulations showing that the most dominant trend affecting the regulation of K-12 distance and online learning is that approximately a third of all jurisdictions use policy handbooks to regulate K-12 distance and online learning, sometimes in combination with a formal agreement or contract.

Table 4. Summary of the K-12 distance and online learning regulation by jurisdiction

  Legislation Policy Handbook Agreements Memorandum of Understanding





















This is not to suggest that the actual regulations have remained stable. Over the course of the 2022-23 school year there was continued implementation of changes that had begun during previous school years in jurisdictions like Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. However, there was also some major changes that were both proposed and implemented in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

While there had been a review of the K-12 education system as a whole, as well as a review of the distance and online learning options that were provided throughout the pandemic, in April 2022 the Government of Manitoba embarked on a process to “create a system where all Manitoba students succeed, no matter their circumstances, their background, or where they live” (Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning, 2022, para. 2). This system was to include “a provincial remote learning strategy, including an online high school, to enhance access to programming and learning across the province” (pp. 15 & 23). Following consultations by the IBM Canada K‒12 Educational Consulting Team in September 2022 (Saftich et al., 2022), and then a process established by the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Learning that concluded in April 2023 with the release of the Provincial Online High School – What We Heard Report and Next Steps report. To date this process has not changed the actual provision of K-12 e-learning in the province (which still relies upon programming provided by InformNet, the Teacher Mediated Option, and the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine – and will continue to do so throughout the 2023-24 school year). However, there have been a number of regulatory changes that have been made that are described in the Manitoba profile found later in this report (e.g., the most notable of which is the continued use of the term “remote learning” to describe all forms of K-12 distance learning in the province).

In terms of Saskatchewan, the change within the e-learning landscape occurred rather quickly. In June 2022 the Provincial Auditor of Saskatchewan (2022) released its 2022 Report – Volume 1: Report of the Provincial Auditor to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, which included a performance “audit of Sun West School Division No. 207’s processes for supporting students to complete Grades 10 to 12 distance education courses for the period ending November 30, 2021” (p. 126). Only four months later, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education (2022) announced that it was “centralizing online learning for Saskatchewan students starting in the 2023-24 school year. Under the management of a new Treasury Board Crown Corporation, this centralized approach will provide Kindergarten to Grade 12 classes to any Saskatchewan school student who chooses to study online” (para. 1). The amendments to the Education Act were passed in December 2022 to redefine “online learning” and establish this centralized online learning provider (Government of Saskatchewan, 2023a). Around the same time it was announced that the Sun West School Division’s Distance Learning Centre would become the new Treasury Board Crown Corporation (Warick, 2022). Along with this centralized provider, the Ministry of Education also created a process where education authorities could apply to become an approved online learning provider, ensuring that those authorities followed the Provincial Quality Assurance Framework that was released in March 2023 (Government of Saskatchewan, 2023c). While these changes do not take effect until the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, it took less than a year for the province to announce and then implement major changes to the delivery and regulation of K-12 e-learning.

The remaining jurisdictions saw little or no change in the nature of regulation.

2023: Nature of K-12 E-Learning Regulation

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