Monday, August 27, 2007

Ontario Canada: Comparative Special Education Law

I have a couple of friends who work for the Ontario Ministry of Education. Canada has no national special education law; each province may adopt their own regulations.

Because of my background, I was most interested in dispute resolution mechanisms. In Ontario there is a special education Appeals Board, but school districts are not obliged to implement their decisions. Instead, most special education disputes are contested in the Ontario Human Rights Commission. A denial of FAPE essentially constitutes unlawful discrimination on the basis of handicap under the law there. There is also a major lawsuit pending involving preschool children with autism alleging handicap and age discrimination as well as violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For more information, see www.edu.gov.on.ca and www.ohrc.ca

This system is very different than our due process hearing (with embedded resolution session) system that we have adopted in the United States. I think that it is beneficial to learn how other countries do things. By reviewing other methods and options, we might find some things we like better. We may conclude that our system is better, or maybe we will see things we can add or subtract to improve the process. So far my study of the Ontario special education system is only just in the very beginning. As I learn more, I'll occasionally pass on information in this blog.

In the meantime I thank Michael and Sandy for taking the time to answer my questions.

9 comments:

  1. In 1995, Ontario commenced a series of educational reforms that has broad implications for students with disabilities. Five principles of educational reform under conservative economic policies are drawn from the literature. The results of this analysis are then examined to address whether the special education reforms reflect characteristics of social justice and human rights through the provision of appropriate educational programs and services.
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    Stefny


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  8. I am a retired Special Education Administrator for Chicago. Extremely familiar with SpEd practices. One of my grandsons in Ontario may need SpEd services. 181/98 seems to be the basics of the law, but just how does The IPRC determine if he needs services? What do they base their decision on? Evaluation by a school psychologist? Review of class work? Teacher anecdotal? Also, is there a timeline between a parent signing for evaluation and when that eval has to be completed? In Chicago we use 60 school attendance days.

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