Student Voice Initiative

In modern schools... Leadership happens through Meaningful Student Involvement. Learn more at Student Voice Initiative, or SVI, is a national organization in Canada that works with school boards to strengthen student engagement in Canada.

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From the perspective that students on school boards are the ultimate solution for effective student voice, SVI provides tailored expertise and action planning to help boards, districts and divisions build and improve robust student engagement models. They also share the stories of exceptional student engagement successes across the country to encourage change in education systems across the globe.

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Sunshine Coast Student Trustee

In British Columbia, the Board of Education of School District No. 46, called Sunshine Coast, created a permanent seat for a student trustee on the board in 2013.

District Student Leadership Team, or DSLT

Two senior students from each of the district’s high schools form a district student leadership team to support the student trustee.

Through a thoughtful consensus process, the team agreed that one of their number will be the Student Trustee for the 2013/ 2014 school year. They selected another student to be their Chair.

Meeting frequently, the DSLT helps the student trustee to understand issues that are relevant and important to the district’s student body and to provide a venue for student discussion and support.  The team meets monthly with the district superintendent.

Silas White, chair of the Sunshine Coast school board, said in a local newspaper article,

“…We are making decisions that affect students all the time, yet with no direct connection to our students’ point of view…A student trustee will enrich our dialogue and decision-making with perspectives and first-hand knowledge which we, frankly, are decades removed from.”

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Student Voice in Canadian Education Agencies

Canadian Student Voice Directory from SoundOut.

Following are a variety of examples of student voice in Canadian education agencies.

Student voice is happening in a growing number of agencies in Canada.

Every province in the nation has a Ministry of Education, as well as local education districts for both public schools and religious schools. These all deal with early childhood education, K-12 schools and higher education. Other government education agencies address specific populations, including Native communities and others.

Local Districts / Divisions

Every province is divided into districts or divisions. Board members or trustees are elected to lead the district. School boards follow their province’s common curriculum.

The Canadian K-12 Education System © 2015 Adam Fletcher for SoundOut
The Canadian K-12 Education System

Ministries of Education

  • Alberta Education
  • British Columbia Ministry of Education
  • Manitoba Education and Literacy
  • New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education
  • Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture
  • Nunavut Department of Education
  • Northwest Territories Department of Education and Employment
  • Ontario Ministry of Education
  • Prince Edward Island Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Québec Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports
  • Saskatchewan Education
  • Yukon Education

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Province-by-Province Laws Affecting Student Involvement in Decision-Making

Canadian Student Voice Directory from SoundOut.
What laws affect students involvement in education decision-making?

Across Canada, there is increasing interest in involving in education decision-making. Many provinces and district school boards use laws as a reason whether or not to involve students. This page is a province-by-province summary of laws affecting student involvement in decision-making, and was compiled for SoundOut.

The practice of relying on laws can ensure rigor and sustainability in students’ roles.

The following section identifies whether it is legal to involve students in several provinces. If a province is not listed, we do not currently have information. Please share your thoughts, ideas, information, concerns and other comments below.

The following shows there is a genuine absence of policies across Canada providing for student involvement in policy-making.



Summary of the law(s) on student involvement in decision-making.
  • As of 1995, the Alberta Education Act allowed for student involvement at the local level on school councils.
British Columbia
  • The B.C. Department of Education has initiated policies for student involvement in policy-making at the local school level through the BC School Accreditation Program.
  • The department has not produced policies providing for student involvement at the departmental level.
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
  • The Ontario Department of Education has established policies that provide for student involvement at the district level as non-voting trustees on district boards
  • The Ontario Department of Education has no policies for student involvement at the departmental level.
  • Section 55 of the Ontario Education Act allows students serving as district trustees to have the same participation as adult trustees in terms of making presentations and raising concerns.
  • Student trustees are not permitted to vote on policies.
Prince Edward Island
  • The Saskatchewan School Boards Association has established policies that provide for student involvement at the local and district levels.
  • The Department of Education has not created any policies providing for student involvement at the departmental level.
  • The Ministry of Education does not have a formal avenue for student involvement.


As of 1999, students had representation in policy-making at the local level on school councils in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. *


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Please cite this information as follows:

Fletcher, A. and Kunst, K. (2015) Students on School Boards Toolbox. Olympia, WA: SoundOut. Retrieved [xx/xx/20xx] from

Canadian Student Voice Directory

Canadian Student Voice Directory


The following is a directory of student voice activities across the Canada.

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