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Equal access for to education for students with disabilities: Ontario Human Rights Commission commitments

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Under section 29 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has a mandate to forward human rights policy through education, monitoring, communication, research, inquiries and initiating investigations.  In this regard, the Commission makes the following commitments:

Guidelines: The Commission will develop Guidelines on Accessible Education, which will address disability and the duty to accommodate in the educational sector. These guidelines will outline the Commission’s interpretation of the legal responsibilities of all parties to the accommodation process with respect to:  access to education, combating negative attitudes and stereotypes, determining and providing appropriate accommodations, respecting the confidentiality of persons with disabilities, developing a dignified and effective accommodation process, and applying the undue hardship standard.  The Guidelines will also incorporate an intersectional analysis of discrimination.

Monitoring:  The Commission will monitor progress on the actions required of government, school boards, educators, and students with disabilities.  If required actions are not addressed over the next 12 months, the Commission may undertake inquiries, and consider initiating a complaint.

Compliance:  The Commission will continue to ensure priority handling of disability and education complaints at the primary and secondary levels involving disputes about access to education services.  We will consider the appropriateness of naming government ministries as respondents in human rights complaints involving disability and education, particularly those complaints alleging inadequate provision of special education services.  Also, we will employ an intersectional approach to discrimination in our work, including policy development, compliance and litigation of complaints.

Education:  The Commission will continue to promote and increase awareness and understanding of human rights issues relating to disability and education.  We will prepare educational tools, including a tool for educators on disability issues and human right obligations in the classroom.

Communications:  The Commission will ensure that other service providers, namely test-providers and publishers, are also aware of their responsibilities under the Code.

For further information or copies of the Commission’s Consultation Report entitled The Opportunity to Succeed:  Achieving Barrier-free Access for Students with Disabilities, please visit our Web site at or call 1-800-387-9080 (toll-free), (416) 326-9511 (in Toronto), 1-800-308-5561 (TTY toll-free), (416) 326-0603 (TTY Local).