Newsletter Vol. 20

Dear Parents,

Here we are at the home stretch. Summer is right around the corner! It is a time for reflection over a great year for our students and a moment to take a breath as we enjoy the warm weather and the break that is about to come for our children. 

That being said, we at EPCA have not slowed down. We launched a province-wide consultation on Bill 23: An Act to amend mainly the Education Act and to enact the Act respecting the Institut national d'excellence en education. We will compile all the reports we received from our stakeholders and build a comprehensive brief based on what we learn. We will submit this brief to the Minister of education in an effort to ensure that the voice of English parents is heard. 

 In tragic news, a child was struck crossing the street at her school and she remains in critical condition. As we have been doing for the past several months, EPCA will continue to advocate strongly for safe streets around schools. The government must listen! 

This month's newsletter highlights the future of education with the influence of Artificial Intelligence as described in a guest article by our colleague from LEARN. We are also pleased to provide additional resources for parents to help close out the school year and transition into summer school, if necessary. 

In closing, the new student ombudsman law comes into effect on August 28th. EPCA will hold a workshop for parents to explain the new complaints procedure. And finally, our newsletter in August, which will have all the information you will need regarding school governance... look out for that special issue. 

Thank you to all our parents and supporters. Have a great remainder of the school year. 

Press Release: EPCA has been excluded from hearings on Bill 23

May 30th, 2023

Montreal, May 30th, 2023 – The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) deplores the fact that it has been excluded by the government of Quebec for the parliamentary committee hearings on Bill 23: An Act to amend mainly the Education Act and to enact the Act respecting the Institut national d’excellence en education.

The hearings, which are set to begin in early June, will include only a select group of associations and individuals. All of the associations representing the French parent committees have been invited to participate, but EPCA has been excluded, despite having directly requested to participate.
EPCA represents the majority of the English parent committees in Québec, all of whom will be directly impacted by elements of the sweeping amendments to the education act proposed by the CAQ government. It is important to remember that English School Boards are one of the very few public institutions exclusively managed and controlled by the English-speaking community, so this exclusion is deeply troubling.

“It is very disappointing to not have our voices heard on such an important topic such as this. It is hard to understand why we would be excluded when all the other French parent groups are given to the opportunity to speak,” said EPCA President, Katherine Korakakis.

About the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA)
EPCA is a coalition of parent committees from English-language school boards across Quebec and is the official voice of parents of students in Quebec English-language school boards, representing nearly 100,000 students in the youth sector.

For more information contact:
Katherine Korakakis - President

National Student Ombudsman

Starting August 28, a new way for managing complaints in schools will be implemented across Quebec. This new process will be applied uniformly across Quebec and will replace the complaint examination procedures in place.

The National Student Ombudsman, a new independent organization outside the school network, will oversee implementing this new streamlined complaint procedure.

The National Student Ombudsman will conduct an impartial investigation, adhering to established protocols, to safeguard the rights of students and their parents.

The National Student Ombudsman’s mandate encompasses not only preschool, elementary, and secondary education both in the public and private sector, but also home schooling, vocational training, and adult education.

The revised national procedure will comprise a maximum of three steps and will adhere to the time limits specified in the National Student Ombudsman Act, thus improving its accessibility and simplicity.

3-step procedure

First step: Establish communication with the individual directly implicated or their immediate superior.

Prior to filing a complaint, the student or parent will initiate contact with the individual in question or their immediate superior. It is recommended to maintain a written record of the complaint from the outset, even though it can be communicated verbally, to facilitate the estimation of the processing duration. 

The processing of the complaint must be completed within a period of 10 business days.

Step 2: Speak with the Complaints Officer

If the student or parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of step 1 or if the complaint has not been processed within the time limit specified in the Act, they may contact the individual responsible for handling complaints designated by the school board, or by the private educational institution. This step can be performed verbally. It is recommended that you keep a written record of the actions taken.

The processing of the complaint must be completed within a maximum of 15 business days.

Step 3: involves reaching out to the Regional Student Ombudsman.

If the complaint remains unresolved or exceeds the time limit specified in the Act after Step 2, the Regional Student Ombudsman responsible for the student’s or parent’s region may be contacted. The Regional Student Ombudsman can aid in drafting a written complaint for the student or parent.

The Regional Student Ombudsman must conclude the complaint review and findings within 20 working days. The Regional Student Ombudsman will provide recommendations to the relevant educational institution. The institution will have 10 working days to respond in writing regarding how it will implement these recommendations.


Starting August 28, 2023, individuals will have the ability to report incidents of sexual violence against students enrolled in public or private educational institutions. Reports can be generated by various individuals such as teachers, school professionals, employees, educational institution administrators, students, and parents.

Individuals who have observed an incident of sexual violence and desire to file a complaint may directly approach the Regional Student Ombudsman. The Regional Student Ombudsman will promptly handle these reports. The Regional Student Ombudsman will take all necessary steps to ensure that the confidentiality of identifying information is maintained, except with the consent of the person making the report.

Newsletter Vol.19

Dear Parents,

Myself and EPCA have had a very busy month working on your behalf. We are always so happy to be able to work with parents - and on behalf of parents - to advance the priorities of the anglophone parent community in Quebec. Remember to contact us with your ideas on how EPCA can help you and for suggestions for future newsletter topics. Here are some updates on initiatives we discussed in the previous newsletter.

Road safety around schools is critical to all of us. We worked with a group of dedicated parents to organize demonstrations in schools on March 15th. On Friday, 21 April, we also took part in a nonpartisan press conference. Parents presented a binder containing resolutions passed by more than 50 municipalities in Quebec urging the government to increase funding for road safety and make roads more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. We will continue to work hard to send a clear message to the government that road safety is a critical priority for today's parents and hope to gain support from as many municipalities as possible to make real changes in our communities.

On the capacity-building front, we have held workshops for parents on a variety of topics, including Evolving from Colour Blindness, Homework 101, and the transition from Elementary to Secondary school. We also partnered with Canadian Parents for French for a Family Movie Night. We had a fantastic turnout and will continue to offer workshops until the end of the school year, including on topics such as A Parent's Role in their Child's Friendships, Social Media and Internet Safety (check out our Facebook Page) and others listed later in this edition of our newsletter.

As we are nearing the end of the school year, we've focused this issue on keeping our kids engaged and on helping parents understand the ministry exams... what they are, when they occur, and how you can help prepare your child to face this challenge head on. We wish you and your students the best of luck in the coming months!

Answers to Participant Question-Homework 101 Workshop


1. 13, 10, 8, different levels of homework involvement for each child as a single parent. How to manage that?

I’m not sure where you shop but if you go to Walmart, Amazon or anywhere else, perhaps pick out, with the children (those who are interested) a calendar with stickers. They can also buy their own stickers at the dollar store. Every Sunday, you sit down together and plan your week for an hour together. It’s family time, it’s connection time and it’s schedule time. Yes, you may need to cook, clean, have friends over and many other things. SCHEDULE the 1-hour block of this is for us. They schedule what needs to be done and at what times so you can feel more in control. What needs to REALLY be done each night? You aren’t sure, ask each teacher. Tell them that you are struggling with balancing this and would like to know what you should focus on and how to focus on it. Their teachers will be your best resource! The 13-year-old should be able to do their homework on their own. If they are struggling, find out why. What areas are they struggling with? What’s their focus? What do they see/not see? 

2. My frustration is that I feel that his reading level decreases a lot from the day we practice to one
days later. How to help with retention?

I am not sure how old your child is but I only started to REALLY understand what I was reading around the age of 23. Are they reading every day for 10-15 minutes? Focused reading, not slouched, on the couch, zoning off into some other place, really focused. If it’s focused reading for 5 minutes because that’s all they are capable of for the moment, take it. And congratulate them. Wow! Good job. You did really great reading during that time! Let’s do something else now. You are trying to get them to create small habits at their young age. Depending on the age, if they get through 3 pages, congratulate them; maybe 4 tomorrow. Small shifts. 

3. I try to help their homework, but they don’t want to do the homework. It seems like I’m doing the homework, not them. How to overcome this issue? 

If you are doing their work, which I’m not there to see what is really happening, but they won’t do it if you are already. It’s easy for them. What I love about what you wrote is that you are obviously VERY involved in what they are doing. Great job! Now, how can you get them more involved? Again, without knowing the children’s ages, it’s difficult to say how much independence the child “should” have but they are capable of doing at least 5 minutes. Every Sunday, plan out your week together. What needs to be done? What needs to be finished later but started now? How much time will that require? Can I just write the introduction the first week? Break it down for them so that they can start SMALL. Again, if it’s ONLY one sentence they can do at a time, go for it! Start shifting those small habits!

4. My daughter will rush through her homework; she will not take her time. How to get them to take their times doing homework? 

This is normal for a lot of kids. If you could rush to get all of your 8-hour workday done in one hour and your boss told you that you can go home and do whatever you want as long as it’s done, would you?What are your concerns about the rushing? Retention? Not caring? Not understanding? Is there proof of this already? Hold old is your daughter and what has her schooling/grades been like so far? How much time are they doing homework? Is 15 minutes enough for their age? Are you setting a timer together? Are they reviewing their work before putting it back in their bag? What habits do you want to be creating and why? Create those. 

5. Homework takes long time, sometimes they forget the book or the material, or the other reads too slow…, how parents can address these issues?

The first thing that stands out to me is the reading too slow. Maybe that’s their pace? And if it is, saying it’s too slow rather than, “Let’s set a goal for this week that you can read this page in 45 seconds instead of a minute?” may deter them. We want to build confidence. Again, I only started to really understand things when I was 23, much too late but nobody if confidence boost and learning for me. The other thing that stands out to me is reminders, and lots of them. Make family habits in the morning, in the car, before leaving for school etc. “What are we doing tonight? What do we need to go over? Is there a test coming up? I love you!” and then off they go. Create these schedule-shifting habits. Is this going to happen 100% before the end of the school year, probably not. But will you get maybe a 5% increase? Possibly. Check-off list that you can print out of all of the books that they are using; you can laminate it and they can check it off every morning with the washable marker to give them a verbal and visual reminder of what needs to be brought home. Remember, they have a HABIT of forgetting and they need to exercise that part of their brain. You’re training the habit.

6. It’s after 7pm by the time we are home and dinner is done – so they are exhausted, how to motivate them to do homework?

That sounds exhausting for you! I would be too tired to do homework at 7, after dinner has settled in my stomach too! What is your schedule like? Where can adjustments be made? Crock pot? Would you rather homework be done between 5 and 7? Depending how old your children are, can work be done at school? Is there a school program? Can one be made? What are the most important things that need to get done? Look at schedules and times and see what can be shifted, added or taken away, (example cooking versus 10-minute dinner prep tonight.)

7. New to French, French as a new subject, my child needs help, ways to help with French?

There are fun apps you can download to help kids learn French in a fun way. I would see if the teacher can do one hour of tutoring after school or at lunch to help your child. There are often older kids in school who are willing to help and get programs going too. At home, watch tv in French for 5 minutes, longer if you can. Ultimately, if you could watch tv in French all the time, that would be great. 

8. Rushing to get to any screen, sometimes rush through the homework to watch TV. How to get them to focus on homework?

It is so hard to set limits, times, rules around all this kind of stuff. What do you feel comfortable with? If you say, only 1 hour of tv per night from 7-8 and everything must be done beforehand properly, do you feel comfortable with that? This is something that you’ll have to see how you feel about it. 

9. Not understanding that learning is important. It is like a chore, annoying chore. How to change their perspective of homework?

First off, find out what they are struggling with. A lot of kids put on masks of “it’s annoying” when really, it’s “Mom, I’m struggling and it’s easier for me to get in trouble and say it’s boring rather than admit that I have no clue what I’m doing”. See if this is happening but tread lightly. Reinforcements? If you can do 4 days of homework consistently, you can stay up an hour later, get a special activity (ice cream) etc. It depends on their age. Kids need and WANT structure. So, if there is an alarm at 4 pm every day and a plate of apples beside it, they’ll get used to that routine. Also, start talking about their dreams and what they want to accomplish in life. What will you need to get that, go there?

10. How to stay involved without micromanaging?

This is hard to understand just by reading as I am not sure what behaviours you are engaging in to lead you to believe this is happening. Again, it’s always about age and capabilities/learned behaviours. Schedules, timers, reinforcements, small increments. Look through all the other questions too. 

11. as they go to high school you do not always receive the same feedback about assignments. Finding time to be consistent with homework assignments. How to do it

You are right, it’s important to be consistent.  What will help you do that? Schedules, timers, calendars, speaking with the teacher weekly. Having the teacher set up an app for the class? Sitting down with your child weekly and seeing what needs to be done and showing them how to schedule their assignments?

12. Not consistent homework practice year over year (teacher to another) makes it hard to develop a habit, how to make it into a habit?

What are your current practices at home? What would you like that to be instead? What would you be comfortable with? Do you need/want to do homework every night? What do you want to implement?

13. How to get my 13-year-old son to stay on top of his homework? I wanted him to be on his own by now; but he still needs me or else he will not study before hand and look at his homework, I
still need to study with him or else he goes from 70 to 40s grades. He rushes through his homework; does the minimal. I try to motivate him by not having his electronics or losing
sports privileges. Not sure what do too anymore.

There’s more going on than just homework. If he still needs you, then he needs you. What other areas of life does he feel he may need you in? Ask him. He may be struggling to learn things. Maybe he has difficulty at school and just isn’t saying anything. Can you set up a meeting with his teacher? What other areas is he struggling? After finding this out, if it’s only homework, then he just isn’t getting it and needs someone else to explain this to him differently because maybe it was just too overwhelming at school to grasp all of the concepts. Is tutoring an option? After school, at lunch, on weekends?


A group of parents and children deliver their message and a piece of art on road safety on the way to and from school at the National Assembly 

Quebec City, April 20, 2023 – Following the demonstrations held on January 24 and March 15 in the schools, a group of parents and children from the Let’s put an end to road insecurity on the school route movement will speak at a non-partisan press briefing initiated by MNA Étienne Grandmont on Friday, April 21 at 9:30 a.m. This will be followed at 10:00 a.m. by an appeal to the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault. 

The parents will table at the National Assembly dozens of resolutions signed by municipalities and MRCs from across Quebec calling on the government to increase budgets for safety around schools and to ease development standards to protect the lives of children who choose to use physical means of transportation to get to school. 

Children from École des Berges in St. Roch will present Ms. Guilbault with a large piece of original art illustrating their demands for change. They hope that she will be present to welcome them and receive their symbolic work. 


  • 9:30 a.m. Press briefing and questions with reporters 
  • 9:50 a.m. Meeting of the children with the Minister Geneviève Guilbault (to be confirmed)
  • 10:00 a.m. Questioning of the Minister on the subject of road safety on school roads 

The movement is calling for:

  • An increase in the budgets dedicated to road safety; 
  • The implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Mobility Policy in order to adopt a “zero accident vision”. 
  • The modification of road safety standards in order to shift the paradigm from “all cars” to the benefit of the most vulnerable road users, as stipulated in the Highway Safety Code.

For more information on the event, please contact:

Katherine Korakakis (514)-668-8672

Annie Mathieu (418)-255-7374 

                                                   -30 –

Newsletter Vol. 18

Dear Parents,

Our kids had a well-deserved spring break and I hope you were able to enjoy it with them! Now we are nearing the end of the school year, which can make motivation more difficult. As parents and primary educators for our children, we play a critical role in their success. Let us be role models for them by talking to them positively about school and its importance and encouraging them to pursue their interests, overcome obstacles, and seek assistance when needed.

EPCA held a Bill 96 webinar which had hundreds of participants in attendance. We heard your concerns and are doing everything we can to advocate and make your voices heard.

On March 14th, EPCA - in partnership with Mettons fin à l'insécurité routière sur le trajet scolaire - held a provide-wide protest against road hazards near schools. We have demanded that the government develop a road safety strategy and take action to make the areas around schools safer. We are now writing municipal counsellors and municipalities across the province of Quebec asking them to adopt motions that request the provincial government to quickly and significantly increase the budget allocated to the development of proven and effective safety measures around Quebec schools.

Finally, disruptions in educational services, exacerbated in part by labour shortages, are depriving students of services critical to their success and well-being. It is currently impossible to reconcile the current situation with our demand for a service for every need, for every student. We will continue to work with partners in the education community in an attempt to find a solution to the impasse.

I'd like to conclude on a high note by inviting you to browse and participate in our spring workshops! We have something for everyone, and I hope to see you there.

Thank you for contributing to the educational success of your child and thank you for being there for your community!

EPCA calls on the government to put in road safety safeguards around schools

Montreal, 7 March 2023 – The English Parents’ Committee Association of Quebec (EPCA) supports the Make School Zone Safe Initiative and encourages all parents to organize protests in front of Quebec's English schools on March 15, 2023.

Deeply moved by Mariia's death in downtown Montreal last December and the tragedy at a Laval daycare, EPCA President Katherine Korakakis is urging the Quebec government to address child safety immediately.

"It is unacceptable that in 2023, parents are afraid to send their children to school on foot or by bike, and that they see road safety violations every day near schools, daycares, and parks. The government must put in place safeguards to prevent incidents like this from occurring.”

Ms. Korakakis supports the plan to rally all parents on March 15 to call for an increase in funding for road safety, the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Mobility Policy to adopt a "zero accident vision," and adjustments to development standards intended to shift the paradigm from "all to the car" to the advantage of the most vulnerable road users, as outlined in the Highway Safety Code.

"On March 15, let's send a clear message to the government that it's time to do its duty and make a change. Every accident is one too many,” concludes Ms. Korakakis.

Details on how to join the movement on March 15 prior to the start of the first bell:

About the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA)
EPCA is a coalition of parent committees from English-language school boards across Quebec and is the official voice of parents of students in Quebec English-language school boards, representing nearly 100,000 students in the youth sector.

For more information contact:
Katherine Korakakis - President

Newsletter Vol. 17

Dear Parents,

As we progress into the new year, there are so many things going on in the Quebec educational system. Many new laws are being implemented in Quebec that have a significant impact on the educational system and, by extension, our children. EPCA remains vigilant about the effects of the laws on our students and is working with our partners and parents across the province to mitigate any potential negative impacts to the best of our abilities.

Second report cards are coming out now - if your student hasn't yet received theirs, they should be getting it soon and you can check the MozaĂŻk portal. It can be a stressful time for both children and parents, but EPCA has provided someone tips and tricks in this newsletter (and in past editions and on our Facebook page and our website) for having conversations around progress with children and teachers in Parent Teacher interviews.

Stay tuned for a survey on educational projects in response to the Minister's priority to increase access across Quebec to educational projects, including things like Sport Etude and Arts. EPCA wants to hear your thoughts on this initiative.

On a personal note, I want to acknowledge that the last month has been filled with tragedy and, as parents ourselves, everyone at EPCA feels the pain as well.

I'd like to wish everyone all the best for the next month. I hope to see you at one of the many events and workshops EPCA is putting on over the next little bit with our partners, including a series of workshops with OMETZ and movie nights with Canadian Parents for French!

How can parents support their child’s mental health through emotional learning?

Part 3 of 3. 3 tips you can implement to support your child’s social-emotional learning and mental health

Written by Cindy Hovington, Ph.D. Founder of Curious Neuron or @curious_neuron, Host of the Curious Neuron Podcast and Co-Founder of Wondergrade

With several pediatric organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declaring that we are in a children’s mental health crisis, we need to find ways to educate kids about healthy ways to cope with emotions. The main takeaway from this 3 part series on mental health is that there are many skills we can teach our kids that contribute to their mental health. In Part 1, we learned about the importance of our own mental health as parents as well as assessing behavior changes since this can be linked to their emotional well-being or mental health. Part 2 of this series highlighted the importance of practicing gratitude, self-compassion and connectedness (which have all been tied to protecting our mental health!). In the final part of this series, let’s break down 3 important strategies you can teach your child to help them move past uncomfortable emotions.

A little reminder that emotion regulation is an important skill that needs to be developed over time. Emotions help us to respond to a perceived or real environmental stimulus. Even though we don’t have a perfect definition of what an emotion is, we can define them as a biological state that results from feelings, behaviors, and thoughts.

We feel a variety of emotions (as we talked about in this Instagram post) and knowing them is one of the first steps toward good emotion regulation. Dr. Marc Brackett’s work at Yale and his book called Permission to Feel are great starting points to help us identify 64 emotions we can experience at various levels of intensity.

Emotion regulation (ER) is when a person understands their different emotions and can influence when and how they experience and express them. An individual that is not capable of managing their emotional response to everyday events is more susceptible to psychopathology.

To help with emotion regulation, different strategies have been used. Over the years they have been divided as:

Adaptive and/or protective (when they successfully reduce negative state and restore emotional balance);

Maladaptive and/or risk factors (if they only provide short-term relief and fail to reduce negative affect).

Adaptative ER strategies lead to good psychological well-being whereas maladaptive ER strategies have a strong association with a wide range of psychopathology (depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorder symptoms).

A review in 2009 found that three emotion regulation strategies have been associated with protection against psychopathology (adaptive):

Reappraisal (when you try to look at the positive side of a stressful situation. Self-compassion and gratitude play a large role here as well);

Problem-solving (conscious attempts to change a stressful situation or contain its consequences – you don’t modify the emotion, but modify or eliminate the stressor);

Acceptance (component of mindfulness, the ability to be present and accept thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they are to promote good outcomes).

Three strategies have been associated with risk factors for psychopathology (maladaptive):

Suppression (suppression of emotional expression – could work in short term, but over time is less effective in regulating emotions);

Avoidance (the opposite of acceptance);

Rumination the habit of obsessing over negative events that happened in the past (source: Verywell Mind)

Now that we have the science, here are 3 takeaways that will support your child’s mental health:

  1. It starts with your child’s environment. How are you and anyone in your child’s home modeling healthy emotion regulation?
  2. Create habits that support their emotional well-being such as mindfulness, gratitude, a community and self-compassion.
  3. Teach them adaptive coping strategies. We often don’t have control over our environment and what causes us distress, however, we have control over how we respond to distress. The more we can learn to control our response, the happier we feel.

All 3 of these points lead to an emotional well child and adult with a lower risk of mental illness. It isn’t easy work but we can all create small goals to support our child’s mental health. I hope this series was helpful! Feel free to reach out through if you have any questions!

Meet Dr. Cindy Hovington

Cindy Hovington is a mom of 3 and has a doctorate degree in Neuroscience from McGill University. She is the Founder of Curious Neuron, an online science-based resource focused on emotional learning and mental health in kids of all ages. Curious Neuron has a community of over 129,000 parents on Instagram (@curious_neuron) and recently launched their YouTube channel. She is the host of the Curious Neuron Podcast, a top parenting podcast in Canada, the US and the UK. She is also the co-founder of Wondergrade, an app that helps children ages 3-8 develop healthy emotional coping skills. You can try the app free for 2 weeks here or visit Dr. Hovington is a regular parenting expert on CJAD800 and has been highlighted in Montreal Times, Today’s Parent, and the Bump. She has worked with companies such as Pampers, Airbnb and Pok Pok.