Online learning graduation requirement

Students are required to earn two online learning credits to graduate from secondary school, beginning with every student who entered Grade 9 in the 2020-21 school year. The graduation requirement is intended to support students in developing familiarity and comfort with learning and working in a fully online environment, as well as developing digital literacy and other important transferable skills that they will need for success after secondary school, including in post-secondary education and the workplace.

Definition of online learning for this graduation requirement

  • Online learning credits that count towards the requirement are earned through courses that rely primarily on communication between students and educators through the internet or another digital platform.
  • Online learning credits that count do not generally require students to be physically present with one another or with their educator in the school, except where required for:
    • examinations and other final evaluations
    • occasional meetings with educators and other school staff, and
    • access to internet connectivity, learning devices, or other supports (for example, guidance, special education and mental health and well-being supports, and required initial assessment and in-person learning for English language learners and students of Actualisation linguistique en français (ALF) or Programme d’appui aux nouveaux arrivants (PANA) at their early stages of language acquisition)
  • In online learning courses delivered by schools in the publicly funded education system, coursework is teacher-led.
  • Students from the same online class may follow different timetables and be from different schools or school boards.
  • Students in publicly funded schools complete their online coursework with the support of a certified Ontario educator with whom they communicate, and who provides instruction, ongoing feedback, assessment, evaluation and reporting as needed, including implementing any accommodations and/or modifications identified in the student’s Individual Education Plan.

In-person courses that use digital learning tools in a physical classroom do not count towards the online graduation requirement, nor do remote learning courses that rely on a minimum requirement for synchronous learning.

There is one exception: up to one secondary school credit that was completed by students who were in Grade 9 during the province-wide school closures (from April 2021 to June 2021) may be counted towards the graduation requirement, in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selection of courses should consider future pathways, the ability and interests of the student to learn in a fully online environment and any potential supports that may be needed. Meeting the online learning graduation requirement should not pose a barrier to graduation for students. As with all learning, students taking online courses will have access to the supports they need through their school, (e.g., guidance, nutrition programs, extra-curricular activities and services for English-language learners). If a student in a publicly-funded school has an Individual Education Plan, the plan should be shared, when appropriate, with an educator instructing an online course delivered by another publicly-funded school board, with the necessary consent.

Parents/guardians may choose to opt their children out of the mandatory online learning credits required for graduation. To opt out, a parent/guardian must submit an opt-out form to the school. Students 18 years of age or older, or who are 16 or 17 years of age and have withdrawn from parental control, can also opt out of the graduation requirement by submitting an opt-out form to the school. School boards must also allow for students and parents/guardians to opt back into the online learning graduation requirement should their decision change.

Check with your local school if you have questions regarding the registration or opt-out process. The opt-out form will be available to students/families in June 2023.