Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities
Tell Us What Disability Barriers Now Impede Students with Disabilities in Ontario’s Education System So We Can Share these with the Education Standards Development Committee
March 29, 2018
After years of advocacy by the AODA Alliance, the Wynne Government finally has established two Education Standards Development Committees. One will make recommendations on what the promised Education Accessibility Standard needs to include for students with disabilities between Kindergarten and Grade 12. The other Standards Development Committee will address barriers in Ontario’s post-secondary education system.
Here is a chance to have your input, early in this process. As we previously announced, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky has been appointed to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee has asked its members to reach out to their networks, to get input on what disability barriers students with disabilities in K-12 education now face. Please email us your ideas, examples and suggestions by April 9, 2018, if possible. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will endeavor to get this feedback discussed at the next K-12 Education Standards Development Committee meeting. It is scheduled for April 17-18, 2018. We will also pass helpful feedback on to the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee.
To help you, we set out below the short message which the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee Chair Lynn Ziraldo has invited us to share with our networks. We also set out our own list of areas of possible disability accessibility barriers that you might wish to address.
We also encourage you to take a look at the AODA Alliance’s detailed November 21, 2016 Discussion Paper on what the Education Accessibility Standard should include. The AODA Alliance made that Discussion Paper public almost one and a half years ago. Its thorough catalogue of disability barriers in Ontario’s education system was based on your feedback. We have already submitted that Discussion Paper to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee, and asked that Committee to use it as a basis for this Committee’s work. Feel free to add any disability barriers that we did not include in that Discussion Paper.
You can also visit our webpage’s Education page to get all the background on our campaign to get an Education Accessibility Standard enacted in Ontario.
At the end of this Update, we give you links to general background information, including on how to sign up for or unsubscribe from these AODA Alliance Updates.
K-12 Education Standards Development Committee Key Messages February 16, 2018
- The K-12 Education SDC looks forward to working together on its mandate from Minister MacCharles. Members hope to share more information about their work and about the survey results discussed more broadly in the coming weeks.
- Members commented positively on the diversity of their membership, including representation from northern and rural communities and school boards. In addition, members commented that many of them were able to speak from a range of personal and professional experiences – for example, as both a parent, an educator, and a person with a disability.
- The Chair and members acknowledged the support provided by the Accessibility Directorate and Ministry of Education, and appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with Minister Tracy MacCharles at the meeting. Members also noted that they appreciated seeing the close partnership between the two ministries and felt confident that their work would be considered seriously by both Ministers.
- Members highlighted the importance of transition planning for students with disabilities, and commented on the importance of working closely with their partner SDC for Post-Secondary Education.
- Members discussed their initial views on barriers to accessibility for students in the K-12 education sector. Shared themes included attitudinal, systemic and physical barriers, digital accessibility, clear information and resources to guide parents and educators, and consistent implementation of accessibility requirements.
- Members agreed that additional discussion on a broad range of accessibility barriers and priority areas would be required, emphasizing the importance of adopting a student-centred approach.
- Members are encouraged to bring forward research on leading practices from other jurisdictions.
- The Committee’s mandate and membership can be found at the following link:
A Suggestion from the AODA Alliance: A list of Questions You May Wish To Consider When Identifying Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Education System
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face in transportation to get to school (education transportation barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities experienced when trying to use computers, tablets, software, websites, and other digital technology provided at a school, college, university or other educational organization (digital accessibility).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities experienced when trying to use the gym, playground or other equipment or facilities at an school, college, university or other educational organization (equipment accessibility).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face when trying to take part in extracurricular activities (extracurricular barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face when trying to take part in work study programs, co-op placements or other kinds of on-the-job “experiential learning” programs (experiential learning barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face when trying to bring a service animal to school or class (barriers to service animals).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face when trying to get instructional materials, like text books and class assignments, in an accessible format, at the same time classmates without disabilities receive the course materials (instructional material barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face in course curriculum that doesn’t take into account learning needs of students with disabilities (curriculum barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face when taking tests, exams or other evaluations if these don’t fairly and accurately assess the progress of students with disabilities (testing barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face in admission rules, criteria or other screening when trying to get into a course or other educational program (admissions barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers that students with disabilities face in French immersion or other specialized programs offered in Ontario’s education system (specialized program barriers).
- Disability accessibility barriers and problems that students with disabilities face with the way a school, college, university or other education organization decides how it will accommodate the student with disabilities’ needs (placement and accommodation procedure barriers).
- Explain any policies or bureaucratic barriers that students with disabilities can face when trying to make sure that they can be fully included in and benefit from education programs in Ontario (such as difficulties or roadblocks in getting students with disabilities included and effectively served in a student’s neighbourhood school’s regular classroom) (policy and bureaucratic barriers).
- Explain any legal barriers that students with disabilities have faced when trying to fully benefit from and be fully included in education programs in Ontario (such as problems coming from Ontario’s special education laws) (legal barriers).
- Any other kinds of disability accessibility barriers that can make it harder for students with disabilities to be fully included in, fully participate in and fully benefit from education programs in Ontario.
For More Information About the AODA Alliance
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We encourage you to use the Government’s toll-free number for reporting AODA violations. We fought long and hard to get the Government to promise this, and later to deliver on that promise. If you encounter any accessibility problems at any large retail establishments, it will be especially important to report them to the Government via that toll-free number. Call 1-866-515-2025.
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