DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Commission Seeks Removal of
Barriers for Disabled Students



Following a five-month consultation, Ontario’s Human Rights Commissioner, Keith Norton, released a report identifying the action needed to remove and reduce barriers faced by disabled students. Mr. Norton also called on governments, school boards, educators, colleges and universities to recognize their responsibility and take action to better accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.

Inadequate funding was cited as the main reason for barriers and their continued existence, according to the report, which noted that budgetary constraints are often given higher priority than meeting the special needs of students. As a result, disabled students must cope with a lack of ramps, and elevators, as well as inaccessible washrooms, transportation and student housing. In addition, the report identified problems with long waiting lists for professional assessments, inadequate information about services, an unwillingness to deal with the individual needs of students, the lack of knowledge among educators and staff, and an unresponsive dispute resolution process for dealing with grievances.

The Commission will develop guidelines on accessible education to address the duty to accommodate in the education sector. It will also be monitoring progress during the next 12 months to determine what additional steps are required, and warned it may itself initiate a formal complaint to ensure compliance with the Human Rights Code. The Code guarantees the right to equal treatment in education, without discrimination on the grounds of disability.

To obtain a copy of the report, please visit:

Source: United Ways of Ontario's Government Relations Bulletin - Issue dd Nov. 7, 2003

* New Government, New Ministries, and New Committees
* McGuinty Moves Swiftly to Tackle Deficit
* Food Banks Struggle with Growing Hunger
* Study Cites Factors Driving Dramatic increase in Children’s Aid Cases
* Ontario to End Hydro Rate Freeze
* Commission Seeks Removal of Barriers for Disabled Students
* B.C.’s Two-Year Welfare Cut-off Challenged



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Page last updated Nov. 7, 2003