School Boards and Schools
- Make all classroom materials (handouts, etc.) available in alternative formats in a timely manner.
- Review local level practices to determine ways in which accommodation can be provided in a more timely manner.
- Decide their curriculum book lists in a timely fashion so that alternative formats may be arranged for students with disabilities.
- Provide interim accommodation for students pending the completion of professional assessments.
- Consistent with the Commission’s Disability Policy, educators use discretion in their application of the Safe Schools Act and must assess whether appropriate accommodation has been provided to a student with a disability, and implement practices of progressive discipline, if discipline is appropriate, before that student can be either suspended or expelled.
- School boards to collect and analyze data on suspension and expulsions under the Safe Schools Act to ensure that the Act is not having an adverse impact on individuals protected under the Code. School boards to ensure that individual data is collected in a manner that is provided for in the Commission’s Guidelines on Special Programs, and is used only to address inequities and to promote compliance with the Code. School boards to take steps to ensure the confidentiality of students in this process.
- Consider the unique situations of students with disabilities who are also members of other historically disadvantaged groups when assessing these students through the IPRC and IEP processes.
- Design and deliver workshops for parents who are new Canadians and/or whose first language is not English to assist them in understanding and participating in the special education system.
- Engage in educational activities designed to raise student awareness of disability issues and to combat negative attitudes and stereotypes about persons with disabilities.
- Arrange and conduct information seminars for parents on the accommodation process and aspects of the special education system more generally.
- School boards and school personnel abide by human rights obligations when engaging in the accommodation process.
- Prepare accessibility plans that, in addition to meeting requirements under the ODA:
➢ set goals, identify steps being taken and report on achievements made with respect to adhering to the principles of inclusion by design, barrier removal, most appropriate or next best or interim accommodation of remaining needs, individualization, confidentiality, and shared responsibilities in the accommodation process. Accessibility plans should also report on policies, procedures and mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, education and training, input, dispute resolution and accountability;
➢ include timelines, performance measures and accountability structures; and
➢ respect the dignity and the right to integration and participation of students with disabilities in the process of planning for and implementing accessibility.
- Private post-secondary institutions, including private career colleges, private universities, and professional accreditation bodies should also develop and make public accessibility plans that incorporate the broad definition of accessibility outlined above; include timelines, performance measures and accountability structures; include monitoring and review mechanisms; and are developed through a process that respects the dignity and right to integration and full participation of persons with disabilities.
- Review their policies with respect to part-time students, with a view to identifying and removing barriers to students with disabilities.
- Take steps to develop and implement appropriate education strategies for faculty and staff with respect to disability-related issues.
- Work together to develop and share best practices for service delivery and supports for students with disabilities.
- Develop and implement dispute resolution procedures for accommodation requests that comply with the Code and the Disability Policy.
- Institute and communicate to staff and faculty confidentiality guidelines with respect to students with disabilities that comply with the requirements of the Code and Policy.
- That faculty make all classroom materials (handouts, etc.) available in alternative formats in a timely manner.
- Take steps to move away from reliance, in their admissions procedures, on tests that fail to provide appropriate accommodation and confidentiality for students with disabilities.
- Encourage educators to adopt the principals of universal design when developing course curricula, and delivery and evaluation methodologies.
- Ensure that staff and faculty comply with the requirements of the Code and the Disability Policy with respect to appropriate accommodation.
- Reaffirm their primary responsibility, as institutions, to ensure that they provide equal, non-discriminatory educational services to students with disabilities.
- That the Ontario Building Code be amended to reflect the legal requirements set out in the Human Rights Code.
- That, irrespective of when the Building Code is amended, the government, and educational institutions comply with the requirements of the Human Rights Code and the principles outlined in the Disability Policy when constructing buildings, making renovations, and designing programs and services.
- Federal and provincial subsidies be made available only to publishers which provide access to alternative formats simultaneous with print publication.
- Take steps to ensure that students with disabilities have access to sufficient funding to ensure equal access to education.
- That the government better co-ordinate special education service delivery among its different ministries.
Primary and Secondary
- That the Ministry of Education review the adequacy of resources provided to school boards to ensure that school boards are able to provide timely access to appropriate accommodation for all students with disabilities.
- That the Ministry of Education implement and report back on the Provincial Auditor’s recommendation that it establish procedures to monitor the costs and effectiveness of special education programs and services.
- That the Ministry of Education review and consider the recommendations contained in the report of the Task Force on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians, particularly item 15 which recommends that governments at all levels use “the force of procurement” to promote the adoption of universal design standards for accessibility. The report recommends that only materials complying with such standards should be purchased.
- That the Ministry of Education ensure that educators receive proper training in the use of assistive devices.
- That the Ministry of Education develop a system to better monitor the application of its Guide for Accommodations, Special Provisions, Deferrals and Exemptions in the administering of the Grade 10 literacy test, and that it ensure that students are accommodated in accordance with the Code.
- That the Ministry of Education establish programs to recruit specialized professionals currently under-represented in the special education system. That this initiative provide incentives to encourage special education professionals to make their services available in rural and remote parts of Ontario.
- That the Ministry of Education follow the recommendation of the Education Equality Task Force to “develop a funding policy for the transportation of students with special needs” and that this policy be in compliance with the Code.
- That private schools be required to submit accessibility plans to the Ministry of Education demonstrating efforts to the point of undue hardship to ensure equal access to their services for persons with disabilities.
- That the Ministry of Education review special education practices and procedures to determine ways in which delay can be minimized.
- That the Ministry of Education and school boards review whether students are being required unnecessarily to obtain professional assessments in cases where disability-related needs are already known and established. That, where possible, the Ministry of Education and school boards provide accommodation to students without requiring professional assessments.
- That the Ministry of Education provide appropriate training to educators on how to deal effectively with students whose disabilities may cause them to be disruptive in school.
- That the Ministry of Education, school boards and schools develop programs and activities that promote awareness of the unique experience of students with disabilities who are also members of other historically disadvantaged groups.
- That the Ministry of Education monitor its Professional Learning Program to determine its ability to prepare teachers to deal effectively with disability issues and to treat students with disabilities with dignity, respect and sensitivity.
- That the Ministry of Education, school boards and school staff review special education practices and procedures to ensure that accommodation is governed by the principle of individualization rather than by generalizations about specific disabilities.
- That the Ministry of Education ensure that any system of funding that it administers, ISA or otherwise, complies with human rights law and policy. Specifically, that such a system avoids labelling and focuses on the disability-related needs of each individual in its assessment process.
- That the Ministry of Education review the IPRC process and make any changes necessary to ensure that it meets both the procedural and substantive components of the duty to accommodate as mandated by the Code and the Commission’s Disability Policy.
- That the Ministry of Education develop and implement an effective mechanism for resolving disputes that arise in the accommodation process.
- That the Ministry of Education provide to parents plain language guides on the accommodation process in multiple languages prior to the IPRC meeting.
- That the Ministry of Education ensure that educators are developing and implementing an accommodation plan for each student with a disability, in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Commission’s Disability Policy, either through the IEP process, or otherwise.
- That the Ministry of Education collect and analyze data on placements of students with disabilities, in accordance with the Commission’s Guidelines on Special Programs. That this data be used only for the purposes of addressing inequities and promoting compliance with Commission policy and the Code. This data could include: numbers of students in mainstream classrooms versus self-contained classrooms, number of students in each placement according to type of disability, number of students who also belong to other historically disadvantaged groups, etc. That the Ministry report its findings to the public.
- That the Ministry of Education ensure that all parties to the accommodation process are aware of their respective roles and responsibilities, and that in carrying these out, they comply with human rights standards.
- That the Ministry of Education work with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario to develop guidelines (a) to help educational institutions prepare their accessibility plans similar to the guidelines already prepared for municipalities, and (b) on standards, timelines and benchmarks for excellence and improvement in accessible education.
- Review funding programs for students to ensure that their requirements do not directly impose barriers or adversely discriminate against students with disabilities, and that students with disabilities have timely access to appropriate accommodation.
- Review communications vehicles regarding programs for students with disabilities to ensure that students with disabilities are able to access information about funding in a timely, dignified and effective manner.
- Require private career colleges to prepare and make public accessibility plans, as a condition of their licensing. These accessibility plans should incorporate the broad definition of accessibility outlined above; include timelines, performance measures and accountability structures; include monitoring and review mechanisms; and are developed through a process that respects the dignity and right to integration and full participation of persons with disabilities
- Implement policies and procedures to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate, dignified and confidential accommodations to testing procedures.
- Comply with their duties as service providers under the Code by ensuring that texts are available in both traditional and alternative formats.