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SHRC releases Equitable Education for Students with Reading Disabilities report

September 21, 2023

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission released a summary report today on issues affecting students with reading disabilities in Saskatchewan. The report, “Equitable Education for Students with Reading Disabilities,” is intended to be part of a longer-term systemic initiative.

In 2020, the Commission received a group complaint on behalf of 29 families, all with children who have been professionally diagnosed with dyslexia. The families alleged that eight school divisions discriminated against their children on the basis of disability (dyslexia and other disabilities). Given the number of parents supporting the complaint, the Commission determined a systemic investigation would be more efficient and appropriate than pursuing each complaint individually and allow Commission to take a broader view of the issues while working towards systemic resolutions.

“I would like to commend all those who participated in this investigation, along with those who brought forth the initial batch of complaints, for helping the Commission address systemic discrimination concerns,” said Barry Wilcox, K.C., Interim Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. “Our goal is to collaborate with individuals and stakeholders to ensure that students with reading disabilities are provided fair and equitable access to education in Saskatchewan. This report is the first of many steps in that process.”

For the report, the Commission consulted families of children with reading disabilities, students, educators, medical professionals, and community-based organizations. The Commission also met with the Ministry of Education and school board representatives.

Throughout the investigation, consultation participants emphasized the need for an early, universal screening strategy; individualized reading interventions, professional assessments, and accommodations for students; as well as the desire for a core curriculum that is evidence-based and scientifically researched. Other issues include addressing the needs of rural and northern communities, improved data collection, and enhanced training and professional development for teachers.

“Meaningful access to education, which includes learning to read, is not a privilege. It is a human right,” said Interim Chief Commissioner Wilcox. “Reading plays a vital role in our children’s educational progress and has a lasting impact on their lives. This report, and the ensuing systemic initiative, provides an opportunity to make significant changes in our province that will help build a better, more equitable future in which no child is left behind.”

The “Equitable Education for Students with Reading Disabilities” report can be found online at: Equitable Education for Students with Reading Disabilities – Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

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For more information contact:

Adam Hawboldt, SHRC

Office: (306) 933-5022 Cell: (306) 229-7169

Email: [email protected]