Identification, Placement & Review

An exceptional pupil is a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program. Students are identified as exceptional according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.

The decision as to whether a child is exceptional is made by the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). The IPRC is a committee composed of a least 3 persons, one of whom must be a principal or Supervisory Officer of the Board.


  • Decides whether or not a child should be identified as exceptional
  • Identifies the areas of a child’s exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education and Training
  • Decides an appropriate placement for a child (a list of placement options offered by the Board is included in this booklet)
  • Reviews the identification and placement at least once in each school year.

Frequently Asked IPRC Related Questions

The principal of your child’s school:

  • must request an IPRC meeting for your child, upon receiving your written request
  • may, with written notice to you, refer your child to an IPRC when school staff believes that your child may benefit from a Special Education program.

Within 15 days of receiving your request, or giving you notice, the principal must provide you with a copy of this guide and a written statement of approximately when the IPRC will meet.

Regulation 181/98 entitles parents and pupils 16 years of age or older:

  • to be present at and participate in all IPRC discussions
  • to be present when the Committee’s identification and placement decision is made.
  • the principal of your child’s school
  • other resource people such as your child’s teacher, Special Education staff, Board support staff, or the representative of an agency, who may provide further information or clarification
  • your representative – that is, a person who may support you or speak on behalf of you or your child
  • an interpreter, if one is required. (You may request the services of an interpreter through the principal of your child’s school.)

Either you or the principal of your child’s school may make a request for the attendance of others at the IPRC meeting.

At least 10 days in advance of the meeting, the Chair of the IPRC will provide you with notification of the meeting and invite you to attend as an important partner in considering your child’s placement. You will be notified of the date, time, and place of the meeting, and asked to indicate if you will attend. Before the IPRC meeting occurs, you will receive a written copy of any information about your child that the Chair of the IPRC has received. This may include the results of assessments and a summary of information.

If you are unable to make the scheduled meeting, you may:

  • contact the principal to arrange an alternate date or time
  • let the principal know you will not be attending. As soon as possible after the meeting, the principal will forward to you, for your consideration and signature, the IPRC’s written statement noting the decision of identification and placement and any recommendations regarding Special Education programs and services.
  • The Chair introduces everyone and explains the purpose of the meeting.
  • The IPRC reviews all available information about your child.
The Committee members will:
  • consider an educational assessment of your child
  • consider, subject to the provisions of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, a health or psychological assessment of your child conducted by a qualified practitioner if they believe that such an assessment is required to make a correct identification or placement decision
  • interview your child, with your consent if your child is less than 16 years of age, if they believe it would be useful to do so
  • consider any information that you submit about your child or that your child submits if he or she is 16 years of age or older.

The Committee may discuss any proposal that has been made about a Special Education program or Special Education services for the child. Committee members will discuss any such proposal at your request, or at the request of your child if the child is 16 years of age or older. You are encouraged to ask questions and join in the discussion. Following the discussion, after all the information has been presented and considered, the Committee will make its decision.

Before the IPRC can consider placing your child in a Special Education class, it must consider whether placement in a regular class with appropriate Special Education services will:

  • meet your child’s needs
  • be consistent with your preferences.

If the Committee decides that your child should be placed in a Special Education class, it must state the reasons for that decision in its written statement of decision.

The IPRC’s written statement of decision will:

  • state whether or not the Committee has identified your child as exceptional.

Where the Committee has identified your child as exceptional, the IPRC summary will include:

  • the categories and definitions of any exceptionalities as they are defined by the Ministry of Education
  • the IPRC’s description of your child’s strengths and needs
  • the IPRC’s placement decision
  • the IPRC’s recommendations regarding a Special Education program and Special Education services;

Where the IPRC has decided that your child should be placed in a Special Education class, the reasons for that decision will be included.

  • If you agree with the IPRC decision, you will be asked to indicate, by signing your name, that you agree with the identification and placement decisions made by the IPRC. The statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting or taken/sent home and returned.
  • If the IPRC has identified your child as an exceptional pupil and you have agreed with the IPRC identification and placement decision, the Board will promptly notify the principal of the school at which time the Special Education program is to be provided of the need to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child.
  • A review IPRC meeting will be held within each school year, unless the principal of the school where the Special Education program is being provided receives written notice from you, the parent, dispensing with the annual review.
  • You may request a review IPRC meeting any time after your child has been in a Special Education program for 3 months.
  • The review IPRC considers the same type of information that was originally considered.
  • The IPRC will review the placement and identification decisions and decide whether they should be continued or whether different decisions should be made.

If you do not agree with either the identification or placement decision made by the IPRC, you may:

  • within 15 days of receipt of the decision, request that the IPRC hold a second meeting to discuss your concerns


  • within 30 days of receipt of the decision, file a notice of appeal with the Director of Education, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board.

If you do not consent to the IPRC decision and you do not appeal it, the Board will instruct the principal to implement the IPRC decision.

If you disagree with the IPRC’s identification of your child as exceptional or with the placement decision of the IPRC, you may within 30 days of receipt of the original decision or within 15 days of receipt of the decision from the second meeting described previously, give written notification of your intention to appeal the decision to the Director of Education, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, 459 W. Victoria Avenue, Thunder Bay, ON P7C 0A4.

The notice of appeal must
  • indicate the decision with which you disagree
  • include a statement that sets out your reasons for disagreeing.
What happens in the appeal process?

The appeal process involves the following steps:

  1. The Board will establish a Special Education Appeal Board to hear your appeal. The Appeal Board will be composed of three persons (one of whom is to be selected by you, the parent) who have no prior knowledge of the matter under appeal.
  2. The Chair of the Appeal Board will arrange a meeting to take place at a convenient time and place, but no later than 30 days after he or she has been selected (unless parents and Board both provide written consent to a later date).
  3. The Appeal Board will receive the material reviewed by the IPRC and may interview any persons who may be able to contribute information about the matter under appeal.
  4. You, the parent, and your child, if he or she is 16 years old or over, are entitled to be present at and to participate in all discussions.
The Appeal Board must make its recommendation within three days of the meeting ending. It may:
  • agree with the IPRC and recommend that the decision be implemented
  • disagree with the IPRC and make a recommendation to the Board about your child’s identification or placement, or both.

The Appeal Board will report its recommendations in writing to you and to the School Board, providing the reasons for its recommendations.

Within 30 days of receiving the Appeal Board’s written statement, the School Board will decide what action it will take with respect to the recommendations. (Boards are not required to follow the Appeal Board recommendations).

You may accept the decision of the School Board or you may appeal to a Special Education Tribunal. You may request a hearing by writing to the secretary of the Special Education Tribunal. Information about making an application to the Tribunal will be included with the Appeal Board’s decision.

© Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board 2023