Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) reported progress on the Right to Read inquiry. It also confirmed its plan to continue to monitor progress on inquiry recommendations and renews its call to all partners in Ontario’s education system to do their part to uphold every student’s right to learn to read.
To mark Dyslexia Awareness Month and Learning Disabilities Month in October, the OHRC called on students, parents and educators to share their experiences about how their local school board is responding to the inquiry recommendations, and to continue to push for action, so all students in Ontario have equitable opportunities and outcomes. Highlighting stories of impact and people championing change is essential when monitoring the effects of the Right to Read inquiry.
In its Right to Read report released in February 2022, the OHRC included detailed findings and recommendations for government, school boards, faculties of education and others on curriculum and instruction, early screening, reading interventions, accommodation, professional assessments and systemic issues. If implemented properly, these recommendations will help to realize Ontario students’ right to learn to read and offer a significant opportunity to ensure real change through specific, systemic and concrete steps.
The OHRC has already seen several concrete steps arising from its inquiry. For example, Ontario’s Ministry of Education has committed to revising the elementary Language curriculum for September 2023, has released Effective early reading instruction: a guide for teachers, negotiated new Transfer Payment Agreements detailing how funds allocated for early reading interventions and assessments must be spent and is developing a French-language reading intervention program.
Also, some school boards, such as Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Limestone District School Board, Peel District School Board, Niagara Catholic District School Board, Waterloo Region District School Board and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, are reporting progress on bringing the recommendations to life. Some boards are preparing for upcoming curriculum changes by providing opportunities for large cohorts of educators to complete professional development in structured literacy. Other boards have set up interdisciplinary teams dedicated to implementing the recommendations and are committed to building capacity to address them in their strategic plans.
The OHRC recognizes that the work to implement the recommendations has just started and will monitor the implementation to ensure maximum success. As the next step, the OHRC will continue to work with the Ministry of Education and school boards, engage with parents, students and advocacy organizations to maintain the call for change, and delve deeper into how and when Ontario’s 72 public school boards/school authorities will implement the recommendations.
“Community members from across Ontario have played a key role throughout this inquiry, by contributing their lived experiences and expertise, and by continuing to encourage decision-takers to implement the OHRC’s recommendations,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Patricia DeGuire. “Their support of this report shows a community-wide commitment and effort to effect change. The benefits of realizing the right to learn to read, and the harm when this right is denied, can last beyond a lifetime.”
Beyond students with reading disabilities, the right to learn to read – and the OHRC recommendations – affect students across Ontario, including students with other disabilities, Indigenous, Black and other racialized students, multilingual students, and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The OHRC recognizes that education is essential to an individual’s personal, social and economic development. It is working to remove systemic barriers that students with disabilities face to access education services and to increase human rights accountability in Ontario’s public education system.
- Right to Read audiobook
- Community responses
- Organization responses
- Right to Read by the numbers
- Right to Read video
- Right to Read report release news conference video