Truancy is when a school-age child does not attend school for three or more days in a row without a valid excuse for his or her absence.
A parent or legal guardian is responsible to ensure children between the ages of eight and 17 attend school regularly. However, if the parent shows he or she took every reasonable step so that the child attends school, generally the court will not punish them. If the judge finds the parent could have prevented the truancy, the parent or guardian may be found guilty of a summary offence and fined up to $300 or required to complete an education program.
A child can also get in trouble for being truant. If an attendance or law enforcement officer is told the particular child is truant, he or she can arrest the child and return them to the public school in which the child should be enrolled. If the judge finds the truancy is not the parent's fault, and the child is 13 or older, the child could be forced to pay a fine up to $300 or enter into an education program. Also, if the child has a driver's license, it can be suspended up to 90 days for the first truancy offense and up to six months for subsequent offenses. If the child does not have a license, their chance to apply for one can be suspended up to 90 days for the first offense and six months for additional offenses.
Truancy does not apply to children involved in home-schooling programs.