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Canada’s Highest Court Supports the Rights of Students with Learning Disabilities

November 13, 2012

A unanimous decision released by the Supreme Court of Canada supports the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission’s (SHRC) position that meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities is a human rights issue.

The SHRC intervened in the Moore v. British Columbia (Education) case where the  Supreme Court found that the closure of a special needs school in British Columbia for financial reasons discriminated against a student with dyslexia. The court agreed that the youth’s education was adversely affected when compared to other students receiving public education.

The Supreme Court’s decision recognizes that accommodating the needs of students with learning disabilities enables meaningful access to the educational outcomes available to all students. “This will make a significant difference for students with disabilities in this province. We appreciate the support of the SHRC, “said Michael Karras, the President of the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan.

In Saskatchewan, school systems are required to accommodate students with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. By intervening in Moore v. British Columbia (Education) the SHRC affirmed that in order to treat all people equally you may have to treat some people differently. According to David Arnot, Chief Commissioner of the SHRC, “This decision will have a significant impact on the interpretation of human rights across Canada. Persons with learning disabilities, and other protected groups, are protected by human rights legislation and the adverse effects of policy decisions.”

The SHRC is charged with administering the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

Darrell Seib
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, Saskatoon
(306) 933-5952
[email protected]