New AODA Alliance Brief Urges Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy to Strengthen Bill 98 (Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act) so that it Fully and Equally Benefits One-third of a Million Students with Disabilities in Ontario Schools

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities Web: https://www.aodaalliance.org Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/aodaalliance

May 2, 2023

SUMMARY

Two weeks ago, on April 17, 2023, the Ford Government introduced Bill 98 (the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act) into the Ontario Legislature for First Reading. This bill gives the Minister of Education extensive powers to issue directions to school boards and to require that school boards obey them.

The Government rushed this bill through First and Second Reading at the Legislature in about one week. The bill goes to the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy for public hearings on May 8 and 9, 2023.

In an incredible rush, and while getting ready to present at the Senate last week on the very different topic of Bill C-22 (the Canada Disability Benefit Act), we managed to get Bill 98 analyzed and submitted a brief to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Bill 98. You can find our brief on Bill 98 below.

This bill, as written, aims to let the Minister of Education lead a major overhaul of Ontario’s K-12 publicly funded school system. However, it includes nothing that would require the Minister and the Government to do anything that would assist students with disabilities in the process. The main thing it includes for students with disabilities is a series of changes to the French translation for some laws, already on the books, as they pertain to students with disabilities. This improves nothing for students with disabilities. The bill commendably gives the Minister power to issue directions to school boards about mental health needs. However, the Minister need never do so.

In January 2022, some 16 months ago, the Ford Government received the final report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. It shows that the Ontario K-12 school system is full of barriers that hurt students with disabilities. That ground-breaking report recommends major reforms, which the Ontario Government would have to lead. We are still waiting for the Ford Government to implement that report and to bring forward the promised K-12 Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky discussed that in his recent March 28, 2023 appearance on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin.

The AODA Alliance’s new brief on Bill 98 offers 12 modest amendments to the bill. These would make the bill a potentially very positive measure for students with disabilities. Without those amendments, there is a real and substantial risk that once again students with disabilities will be left behind.

This new AODA Alliance brief includes, as an appendix, the only statement we have found in the past 16 months in which the Ford Government claims to be doing anything to implement the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report. It is the April 21, 2023, letter to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee from an Assistant Deputy Minister of Education. However, our brief explains that this letter appears to simply recite measures that the Government was already planning to do. It then vaguely points to some themes in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report, after the fact. It does not announce any new Education Accessibility Standard or any of the important regulatory reforms that the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee recommended.

We invite you to email the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy. Urge the Committee to adopt the amendments to Bill 98 that the AODA Alliance proposes in its May 2, 2023 brief. Email the Standing Committee at: scsp@ola.org

Send us your feedback. Write us at aodafeedback@gmail.com

Learn about our non-partisan campaign for barrier-free education for students with disabilities. Wander through the AODA Alliance website’s education page. While you are at it, you might also want to watch AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky’s captioned video that gives an overview of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committees final report.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Brief on Bill 98, the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act

To: The Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy

May 2, 2023

Introduction

The AODA Alliance submits this brief to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy. We recommend 12 high impact least-intrusive amendments to Bill 98, the proposed Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act. These amendments would help make this law effectively address needs of students with disabilities in Ontario-funded schools, a large population whose needs this bill barely mentions.

Who Are We?

The AODA Alliance has extensive experience with the design, implementation, and enforcement of accessibility legislation in Canada. Founded in 2005 shortly after the AODA was passed, we are a voluntary, non-partisan, grassroots coalition of individuals and community organizations. Our mission is:

“To contribute to the achievement of a barrier-free Ontario for all persons with disabilities, by promoting and supporting the timely, effective, and comprehensive implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.”

To learn about us, visit the AODA Alliance website. Our coalition is the successor to the non-partisan grassroots Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. The ODA Committee advocated for more than ten years, from 1994 to 2005, for the enactment of strong, effective disability accessibility legislation. Our coalition builds on the ODA Committee’s work. We draw our supporters from the ODA Committee’s broad grassroots base. To learn about the ODA Committee’s history, visit the ODA Committee’s legacy website.

We have been very active for at least 15 years advocating for disability barriers in Ontario’s education system to be torn down. We led the non-partisan grass roots campaign since 2009 to get the Ontario Government to enact an Education Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Our advocacy efforts to make Ontario’s education system accessible and barrier-free for students with disabilities are documented on the AODA Alliance website’s education page.

The Ontario Government appointed AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky to serve as a member of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. That Committee was created under the AODA to recommend what the Education Accessibility Standard should include for K-12 schools.

Beyond our work at the provincial level in Ontario, the AODA Alliance has been active, advocating for strong and effective national accessibility legislation for Canada. We have been formally and informally consulted by the Federal Government and some federal opposition parties on this issue.

The AODA Alliance has spoken to or been consulted by disability organizations, individuals, and governments from various parts of Canada on the topic of designing and implementing provincial accessibility legislation. We have also been consulted outside Canada on this topic, most particularly, in Israel and New Zealand. In addition, in June 2016, AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky presented on this topic at the UN annual international conference of state parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Our Core Message Bill 98 Needs Amendments to Ensure that It Equally Benefits Students with Disabilities

Bill 98 aims to produce a major overhaul of Ontario’s K-12 school system to modernize it. We agree that a major overhaul is needed from the perspective of students with disabilities.

At present, at least one third of a million K-12 students in Ontario-funded schools have disabilities. They are at least one of every six students in Ontario-funded schools.

Despite their huge numbers, Ontario’s K-12 education system is largely designed and operated as if it is principally for students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are too often treated as an afterthought. Special education is the inadequate form that the afterthought largely takes.

This situation was amply documented in detail in the January 2022 final report of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee. The Ontario Government appointed that Standards Development Committee under the AODA. The Government assigned it to identify the disability barriers impeding students with disabilities in Ontario-funded K-12 schools, and to recommend the measures that should be included in the promised AODA Education Accessibility Standard in order to remove and prevent those barriers.

The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee conducted the most authoritative and comprehensive review of Ontario’s K-12 school system from the perspective of students with disabilities in decades. Half of that Committee’s members represented the disability sector. The other half represented the K-12 education sector. For the Committee to adopt a recommendation, it had to win the support of 75% of its membership. Therefore, the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee final report reflects a very strong consensus position.

Fortifying this, the Standards Development Committee was required to make public a draft of its report in order to obtain public feedback, before it could finalize its report. The overwhelming public feedback on that report from both the disability sector and from educators heartily supported its findings and recommendations.

Regrettably, however, the Ontario Government has not enacted an Education Accessibility Standard in the 16 months since it received the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee final report. To our knowledge, the Minister of Education has not directed Ontario school boards to do what they can to implement that report’s recommendations, or, at the very least, the most readily achievable of those recommendations. The Government has committed to no public timeline for enacting an Education Accessibility Standard under the AODA.

We have asked all school boards to take whatever action they can to implement the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee final report. Most did not answer our attempt to reach out to them. Of the few that did, the most common response was that they were waiting for directions from the Ministry of Education. Absent that direction from the Government, it is obvious that real change on the ground for students with disabilities will not happen across Ontario.

To date, the only stated action on the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee that we have heard from the Government is found in the April 21, 2023 letter to members of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee from Assistant Deputy Minister of Education Clayton La Touche. It is included in this brief as the Appendix. That letter does not commit to any regulatory changes, nor does it list any new provincial requirements, imposed on school boards, to do anything to remove or prevent barriers.

That letter makes general references to parts of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report. However, it appears highly likely that this letter merely sets out actions the Government had already agreed to take, and then points after the fact, where it can, to themes to which those coincidentally relate in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s report.

At present, nothing in Bill 98 requires the Minister or school boards to do anything new to remove and prevent disability barriers so that students with disabilities can fully benefit from, fully participate in, and be fully included in all that Ontario K-12 schools have to offer. Nothing in the bill requires the Minister to do anything under it to improve Ontario’s K-12 education system for vulnerable, chronically disadvantaged students with disabilities.

Bill 98 only provides two specific things regarding some students with disabilities. First, in one of its rare references to any students with disabilities, the bill commendably gives the Minister power to establish policies and guidelines respecting student mental health. However, it does not require the Minister to ever use that power, or to explain to the public why they have not done so.

Second, several provisions in the bill make changes to the French translation of several existing legislative provisions in the Education Act and elsewhere regarding special education. These cosmetic adjustments do not change the content of the law. They make no practical difference to the removal and prevention of known recurring disability barriers in Ontario schools.

Bill 98 is a Good Idea if Harnessed for Students with Disabilities[AP1]

The bill gives the Minister and Cabinet a series of new powers which could be helpful if they were deployed for improving the lot of students with disabilities. However, nothing in the bill requires the Minister to do anything for them.

A core problem that the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee identified is that, at present, the Government leaves it to each of the 72 school boards around Ontario to decide how much or how little they will do to remove and prevent the recurring disability barriers that pervade every school board. The Government leaves it to each school board to have to re-invent the wheel, by figuring out what action it should take to remove and prevent recurring disability barriers.

This is a formula for slow progress and wasteful duplication. It runs contrary to the core purposes and themes in Bill 98.

A core recommendation in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee final report is that enforceable provincial standards should be set for actions that school boards should take to remove and prevent identified recurring disability barriers. That is what the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and accessibility standards are all about. They would reduce the burden on parents of students with disabilities to have to fight the same barriers, one at a time, at school after school and at school board after school board.

Without reducing the pressing need for the Government to enact a strong and effective K-12 Education Accessibility Standard, we would support, as an interim measure, the grant of powers in Bill 98 to the Minister of Education to issue directions to school boards, but only if that action meets two core requirements. First, the Minister should be required to include in any such direction to school boards specific measures to ensure that students with disabilities will be fully included in and fully benefit from the educational activities and reform measures to which the Minister’s direction relates. Second, the Minister should be required to issue directions to school boards within prescribed timelines for the removal and prevention of recurring disability barriers which the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee report addresses.

The following recommendations build on this core principle. They all fit neatly within the purposes, framework, and design of Bill 98. They are crafted to ensure that Bill 98 provides the equal benefit and equal protection of the law to vulnerable, disadvantaged students with disabilities.

Specific Amendments We Propose

1. Section 2 of Schedule 2 lets the Minister direct priorities in education. It does not require that the needs of students with disabilities be addressed at all when either identifying or implementing those priorities.

We therefore recommend that:

1. Section 2(1) of Schedule 2 should be amended to require the Minister, when setting priorities in education,
a) To include in any such direction to school boards specific measures to ensure as a priority that students with disabilities will be fully included in and fully benefit from the educational activities and reform measures to which the Minister’s direction relates.
b) To include as a priority the removal and prevention of recurring disability barriers which the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee report identified.

2. Section 2(2) of Schedule 2 sets requirements for review of curriculum. However, it does not require any review of any curriculum to ensure that it incorporates principles of universal design in learning (UDL i.e., to ensure that the curriculum is accessible to students with disabilities and indeed, to all kinds of learners.

We therefore recommend that:

2. Section 2(2) of Schedule 2 should be amended to require that any review of curriculum to which that section applies, the review shall include a review of whether and to what extent the curriculum incorporates principles of universal design in learning, and recommendations for reforming that curriculum so that it is accessible to students with disabilities and all kinds of learners.

3. Section 2(3) of Schedule 2 allows the Minister to issue policy directions on training for senior school board officials. It does not require any training on removal and prevention of recurring barriers from which students with disabilities now suffer.

We therefore recommend that:

3. Section 2(3) of Schedule 2 should be amended to require the Minister to set policies on training of senior school board officials that address the training needs identified in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report.

4. Section 2(7) of Schedule 2 gives the Minister power to issue directions to school boards regarding their communicating with parents and guardians of students. However, it falls short in two critical ways from a disability perspective.

First, it says nothing about ensuring that those communications are accessible for parents and guardians who have disabilities. Too often they are not. For example, the Ministry itself and school boards too often continue to make information for parents and guardians available in PDF format, despite PDF’s well-known disability barriers.

Second, the bill does not require the Minister to issue directions to school boards to take any of the important steps that the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee final report recommended, to effectively inform parents and guardians of students with disabilities about the supports, services, and programs available for their child and how to access and advocate for them. Too often, for parents of students with disabilities, school boards are like a restaurant that offers its patrons no menu.

For example, the Special Education Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board has been calling for reform in this area for fully six years. TDSB has done nothing to effectively address this well-known problem.

We therefore recommend that:

4. Section 2(7) of Schedule 2 should be amended to:

a) Require the Minister to issue specific directions to ensure that school board communications aimed at parents and guardians who have a disability is fully accessible to them, and
b) Require the Minister to issue directions to school boards that implement the recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report regarding the information that school boards should make readily available to parents and guardians of students with disabilities.

5. Section 5 of Schedule 2 lets Cabinet make regulations prescribing provincial priorities in education in the area of student achievement. It does not require that any of those regulations take into account the needs of, or barriers, facing students with disabilities.

We therefore recommend that:

5. Section 5 of Schedule 2 should be amended to require that if Cabinet makes regulations prescribing provincial priorities in education in the area of student achievement, these must include, as a priority, ensuring that barriers facing students with disabilities are removed and prevented, and that students with disabilities can fully participate in and fully benefit from the priorities which the Minister prescribes.

6. Section 13(1) of Schedule 2 requires each school board to publish its multi-year plan. Too often, as noted earlier, school boards, like the Ministry, post such key documents in PDF’s, incorrectly thinking they are accessible. PDF should be treated as not accessible.

We therefore recommend that:

6. Section 13(1) of Schedule 2 should be amended to require each school board to post its multi-year plan online in an accessible format and should specify that PDF format is not sufficient to meet this requirement.
7. Section 14 of Schedule 2 requires each school boards multi-year plan to include provincial priorities. However, it does not require anything to be included in those plans to ensure that students with disabilities can fully participate in, benefit from and be included in the school board’s programs and activities.

We therefore recommend that:

7. Section 14 of Schedule 2 should be amended to require that a school board’s multi-year plan must specify the measures and action that the board will take to ensure that students with disabilities can fully participate in, benefit from and be included in the school board’s programs and activities.

8. Sections 18 and 19 of Schedule 2 set requirements for disposing of existing school buildings and properties. However, these provisions do not prevent a school board, alone or under the Minister’s direction, from closing and selling off a school building that has greater accessibility for people with disabilities, while instead retaining one that has less accessibility.

We therefore recommend that:

8. Sections 18 and 19 of Schedule 2 should be amended to require that when deciding to close or sell off a school building, no school that has greater accessibility for people with disabilities should be sold off, while retaining instead a school that has less accessibility.

9. Section 23 of Schedule 2 gives the Minister power to require boards to use particular functional specifications, designs or plans when constructing, renovating, or making additions to school buildings or premises. Yet nothing in the bill imposes a duty on the Minister to ensure that those directions or policies require the accessibility of the buildings or renovations.

The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report included very constructive and practical recommendations. Without them, new school buildings and additions will be plagued with accessibility barriers that could have easily been avoided. It is amply proven that building a school that complies with the Ontario Building Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act does not ensure that it is an accessible building. This is because the Ontario Building Code and AODA accessibility standards are so deficient in this regard.

We therefore recommend that:

9. Section 23 of Schedule 2 should be amended to oblige the Minister to require, when building a new school building or making an addition to an existing one, to ensure that the building or addition meets the accessibility requirements for the built environment set out in the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report.

10. Section 26 of Schedule 2 lets the Minister of Education make regulations that restrict the use for which a school board can use certain funds. In principle, this sounds reasonable. However, it could work to the serious disadvantage of students with disabilities.

We understand that the cost of serving students with disabilities has for years been higher than the funds that the Ministry provides to school boards for that purpose. School boards have had to make up the balance from other funds. If regulations prevent that, this will predictably lead to service cuts to students with disabilities, a vulnerable and chronically underserved segment of the student population.

We therefore recommend that:

10. Section 26 of Schedule 2 should be amended to provide that no regulation under that provision may be enacted that precludes a school board for using any funds that it has received to make up any shortfall in funding program, services or supports for students with disabilities.

11. Nothing in the bill addresses the fact that each school board is free to adopt its own policy on when a student can be refused their right to attend school (exclusions under section 265(1)(m) of the Education Act) or permitted to only come to school for shortened school days. These unfair orders are a direct violation of the right of students with disabilities to an education. Three years ago, the AODA Alliance made public a detailed report that showed that policies in this area vary widely around Ontario. It showed that for much of Ontario, each school principal is a law unto themselves, armed with a sweeping, arbitrary power to refuse to allow a student to come to school for part or all of the school day.

We therefore recommend that:

11. Schedule 2 of the bill should be amended to require the Minister within four months to issue a binding policy direction to school boards that implements the recommendations of the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee’s final report on exclusions of students from school and reduced school days.

12. Section 3 of Schedule 3 sets requirements for teacher education programs. However, it imposes no requirement that a teacher, as part of their training, receive training on how to teach students with disabilities. Special education teachers should not be the only teachers who are consistently trained in this important area.

We therefore recommend that:

12. Section 3 of Schedule 3 should be amended to require that all teacher education programs must include effective training on how to teach all learners, including students with disabilities.

Text of the April 21, 2023 Letter to the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee from the Assistant Deputy Minister of Education

Ministry of Education

Student Support and Field Services Division

315 Front Street West
Toronto ON M7A 0B8

Ministère de l’Éducation

Division du soutien aux élèves et des services régionaux

315, rue Front Ouest
Toronto (Ontario) M7A 0B8

April 21, 2023

Lynn Ziraldo
Chair, K-12 Standards Development Committee (2018-2022)

Dear Lynn,

The Ministry of Education (ministry) is committed to supporting the success of students with disabilities. The actions and investments that this government is making in 2023-24 build on our efforts to prevent and remove barriers for students with disabilities. As the Ministry continues to review the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Standards Development Committee and Sub-Committee on Transitions reports, I am pleased to share the many areas where the ministry is making progress.

This important work is supported through significant investments. Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding is projected to be $27.1 billion, while the average provincial per-pupil base funding is projected to be $13,125 in 2023-24. Base funding has increased by $693 million or 2.7 per cent compared to 2022-23.

Additionally, there is a further $516.2 million in Priorities and Partnership Funding (PPF), bringing the total investment in public education to $27.6 billion. These investments demonstrate the government’s commitment to providing all students with access to the skills and opportunities they need to succeed.

Special Education Grant funding is projected to increase to over $3.4 billion in 2023-24, the highest level of investment in Ontario’s history. This funding represents an increase of approximately $124.5 million or 3.8 per cent over 2022-23.

Each year, school boards are allocated approximately $1.4 billion to repair and renew school sites, part of which can be used to improve accessibility in schools. Within the School Condition Assessment Program, the ministry has enhanced the Accessibility Review to capture capital costs associated with making facilities accessible (e.g., parking, barrier free paths of travel, washrooms).

The ministry has also encouraged school boards to prioritize expenditures to address accessibility, facility condition, ventilation, health and safety and general code requirements through the School Renewal Allocation. This work aligns with the broad intent of the physical and architectural barriers recommendations in the K-12 SDC report.

To support student mental health and well-being in 2023-24, Ontario is providing over $106 million in total mental health funding including $12 million to ensure students continue to have access to school-based mental health professionals and services during the summer of 2023 and the ministry intends to provide an additional $14M for the summer of 2024. The majority of this funding is secured in the GSN, reducing administrative burden and providing more stable funding for school boards to support long term planning, staff retention and program continuity for students.

In alignment with the K-12 SDC reports, we are again providing $6M in application-based funding in 2023-24 to school boards to prevent and remove barriers for students with disabilities. Last year, 37 projects were selected for funding across 26 school boards.

Recognizing the report’s analysis on attitudes, behaviours and organizational barriers, the ministry is providing an intensive human rights training program for school board trustees and senior leaders; and creating positions for human rights and equity advisors at select school boards through a $3.2M investment.

We are also working to improve school community awareness and training on special education, disabilities, and mental health through funding the creation of various resources and training programs.

This includes:

* $0.423M for the Rick Hansen Foundation to engage educators and students in learning about accessibility and disability;
* $4.5M for the Geneva Centre for Autism to provide online courses and live synchronous training opportunities for teachers and education assistants, with a focus on supporting students with autism;
* $0.75M for the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario to develop various on-line resources for educators and students and host an Educators Institute in Summer 2023, with a focus on supporting students with learning disabilities and struggling readers;
* $1M in funding toward a Special Education Additional Qualification Subsidy for Educators;
* $0.4M for an Additional Qualification Subsidy for Principals to build the capacity of school leaders to support students with special education needs; and
* $0.2M for Silent Voice to support a Deaf Youth Hub where youth can access resources to support a transition from high school education to post-secondary pathways including employment. These supports will help address gaps and ensure that supports and accommodations are better understood and more seamlessly integrated into school culture.

As recently announced, the government is investing $180 million in targeted classroom supports to build improved reading and math skills for all students. This will support nearly 1000 more educators, with 300 for math and 700 more for literacy. The plan includes $8.3M in annualized funding for early interventions for elementary students with special education needs to help close gaps in math achievement. We are investing $12.5M towards early reading screening tools; $12.5M for licenses for reading intervention supports; and improving access to professional assessments by investing $11.5M to reduce wait times. This aligns with recommendations on curriculum, training, and instruction.

Responding to the SDC’s emphasis on the importance of transitions for students with special education needs and disabilities, the ministry is making wide-ranging investments in career planning and supports, job training, experiential learning, networking, and summer learning. In 2023-24, this includes $2.07M for a new Cooperative Education Supports for Students with Disabilities Pilot, which will allow participating school boards to provide targeted supports to students with disabilities to pursue cooperative education credits within a variety of placement opportunities, including those related to technological education and the skilled trades. The ministry is also providing $0.48M in targeted support to students with developmental disabilities through a transitions pilot to support select school boards to explore and implement successful practices in transitioning students with developmental disabilities to work through an intensive job-placement program. To support transitions for students with special education needs from summer into the 2023-24 school year, $10M will be provided to school boards for the summer of 2023.

To further improve the supports provided to students with disabilities and to remove needless barriers, the ministry is beginning a review of the Special Incidence Portion (SIP) and Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) during 2023-24.

Finally, in addition to significant new investments, the government has introduced The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023, which, if passed, will ensure improvements across the education system including more consistent approaches to student learning and well-being, including on student mental health, and increased accountability for school boards to provide information to parents to support involvement in their children’s education.

In line with this, the Ministry of Education is working with the Ontario College of Teachers and faculties of education on modernizing initial teacher education and teacher certification processes to ensure they meet the needs of students, particularly students with disabilities, in classrooms.

The ministry has posted information related to the proposed legislative amendments on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry, which can be accessed through the following link to Ontario’s Regulatory Registry: A Proposal for the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023. I invite you to review the proposed changes and if you have comments, please submit your feedback to Education.Feedback@ontario.ca by May 16, 2023.

All of the initiatives above represent significant efforts to prevent and remove barriers for students with special education needs and disabilities. I am deeply grateful for the shared resolve of all our partners school boards, educators, support staff, stakeholder associations, and families to support Ontario’s elementary and secondary students.

We continue to work closely with partner ministries, including the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, to support students with special education needs, and to find additional opportunities to improve accessibility and education for students with disabilities, responding to the reports of the K-12 SDC.

We look forward to the coming school year with optimism and enthusiasm as we continue to work to support all students, including students with disabilities and special education needs, to maintain their well-being and achieve in Ontario’s publicly funded education system and beyond.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Clayton La Touche
Assistant Deputy Minister
Student Support & Field Services Division

cc: K-12 Standards Development Committee (2018-2022)
Blair Hains, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Education, Minister’s Office Nancy Naylor, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education
Jay Jung, Chief of Staff, Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, Minister’s Office
Martha Greenberg, Deputy Minister, Cabinet Office Policy and Delivery, Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, Ministry of Long-term Care
Meenu Sikand, Assistant Deputy Minister, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Division, Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

[AP1]Sorry what do you mean by this?