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Ontario Government's
New ODA Bill 125
ODA Committee Update


Ontario Human Rights Commission Launches Public
Consultation On Barriers To Education Facing Ontarians
With Disabilities

July 12, 2002




Ontario Human Rights Commission Launches Public Consultation On Barriers To Education Facing Ontarians With Disabilities

July 7, 2002


This past week, the Ontario Human Rights Commission announced that it is holding a public consultation on barriers to education facing Ontarians with disabilities. The Commission has released an excellent consultation paper on this topic. It addresses education at all levels from public school through post secondary education.

We congratulate the Commission on identifying this priority area for action, and encourage you to participate fully in this consultation.

Below we set out the Ontario Human Rights Commission's news release on this topic. If you want a copy of their consultation paper, either visit the Commission's web site, contact the Commission directly, or email us at:


We will also seek to post the consultation paper on the ODA Committee's website over the next weeks.

In June 2002, the ODA Committee submitted a proposed workplan to the Ontario Government, with detailed suggestions on steps it should take to implement the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001. In it we recommend, among other things, the following:

"15. By August 2002, the Accessibility Directorate should release discussion papers on standards and time-lines for removing and preventing barriers in public transit and in education (including in public schools, private schools, colleges and universities). These Discussion Papers should among other things set out examples of standards and time lines for barrier removal and prevention which are used now in other jurisdictions.


17. Full province-wide public consultations on the topics of public transit and of education should begin by October 2002. Draft regulations in these areas addressing standards and time lines for barrier removal and prevention should be proposed and published by March 2003, with a view to final regulations being enacted four months later."

The Ontario Human Rights Commission's initiative bolsters our call for priority action by the Ontario Government in the field of education under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001. We recommend that the Ontario Government, including the Accessibility Advisory Council, seek to coordinate efforts this summer and fall with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. We emphasize the importance of developing regulations under the ODA 2001 to set standards for achieving a barrier-free education system along the lines recommended in our proposed ODA Workplan. The time is ripe for this, since the Ontario Government is now reviewing its entire funding formula for education.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission will be holding province-wide hearings this fall. This would provide a great opportunity for the Accessibility Advisory Council to hold join consultations at the same time, to avoid a duplication of efforts.

Here is the Ontario Human Rights Commission's information on how to participate in the first phase of their consultation. You will note that the time lines are tight, since they call for written submissions by July 15, 2002. It is hoped that these time lines will be extended given the likelihood that many may not be unavailable during summer holiday season. [editor's note: page amended July 13, 2002 -- The deadline for submission has been corrected to October 7, 2002]


July 10, 2002

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has now clarified that the deadline for making written submissions to its consultation on barriers to education facing Ontarians with disabilities is October 7, 2002. An earlier release from the Commission had inadvertently stated in error that the deadline was July 15, 2002.

"Submissions can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to the OHRC, at the following address:

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Education Consultation
Policy and Education Branch
180 Dundas Street West,
8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2R9

Fax: (416) 314-4533

Your written submissions should be provided to the OHRC no later than (corrected date) October 7, 2002

Should you have any questions about the consultation process, you may
contact the OHRC by:
telephone at (416) 314-4507, or 1-800-387-9000,
or by TTY at (416) 314-6526 or 1-800-308-5561.

Information provided during the consultations is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The information obtained during the consultation may form part of a report that may be made public."


July 4, 2002
For immediate publication

For information:

Francois Larsen
A/Director, Policy and Education Branch
(416) 314-4532

Commission launches Consultation on disability issues in ontario's
education system

Toronto - Chief Commissioner Keith Norton today announced that the Ontario
Human Rights Commission will hold public consultations this fall on human
rights issues affecting persons with disabilities in Ontario's education

"The Commission is aware there are serious concerns regarding the
accessibility and equality of educational services for students with
disabilities," remarked Mr. Norton. "We share these concerns and are
launching this consultation to encourage discussion, promote an
understanding of the challenges people are facing, and ultimately deal with
their human rights issues."

The Commission's concerns are raised in the Consultation Paper, Education
and Disability: Human Rights Issues in Ontario.

http://www.ohrc.on.ca/english/consultations/education-disability-consultati on-paper.shtml

The paper looks at access to education for students with disabilities,
accommodation issues, and the impact of stereotypes and attitudinal
barriers. All interested parties are invited to consult on these and other
issues raised in the paper. The consultation will focus on both public and
private institutions, at the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels.

From the feedback received, the Commission will prepare a Consultation
Report containing recommendations for improving access to and equality of
education services for persons with disabilities in Ontario. The Commission
will also develop specific guidelines to clarify the application of the
Human Rights Code to disability issues in educational services.

"Education is a complex field, governed by numerous statutes and
regulations, and many players. Along with our other initiatives, this
consultation will better inform Ontarians about their rights and
responsibilities, and clarify the scope of the Commission's powers," added
Chief Commissioner Norton.

The Ontario Human Rights Code affirms the right to equal treatment in
services, including education, without discrimination because of
disability. The Commission's Policy and Guidelines on Disability and the
Duty to Accommodate, released in March 2001, outlines the scope of these


It includes a broad understanding of disability, and sets out key policy
positions on the duty to accommodate and the undue hardship standard.

The public consultations will be held across Ontario this fall. Interested
parties are invited to provide written submissions and obtain information
about the consultation from the Commission's Web site, www.ohrc.on.ca.


Education And Disability: Ontario Human Rights Commission Consultation Paper On
Access To Education For Persons With Disabilities

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