Moore vs British Columbia

November 9, 2012 Press Release: ONBIDA successful at Supreme Court of Canada in Moore v British columbia (Ministry of Educations)

ONBIDA successful at Supreme Court of Canada in Moore v British Columbia (Ministry of Education)

November 9, 2012 – Toronto: On November 9, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Moore v. British Columbia (Ministry of Education), a case dealing with education and equality rights of children with severe learning disabilities.

In its decision, the Supreme Court found that Jeffrey Moore, a student suffering from dyslexia, had been denied meaningful access to the educational programs he needed to address his disability and accordingly was discriminated against in a manner that could not be reasonably justified.

The Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (ONBIDA) acted as an intervener in the appeal, arguing that children with learning disabilities – just like all other children – are entitled to an education that allows them to reach their full potential.

“This decision represents a great achievement. It is an acknowledgement that children living with learning disabilities, like dyslexia, should not, and cannot, be denied the full benefit of public education,” says ONBIDA founder and former President, Sally Shearman.

“It is very exciting to hear that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Jeffrey Moore. We at ONBIDA would like to congratulate the family on their success and thank them for having the courage and determination to take this case to the SCC. We were excited to hear that dyslexia was recognized as a specific learning disability and that it was understood that students with dyslexia must receive, and are entitled to, specific instruction and programming to reach their full potential. If a student with a severe learning disability is denied meaningful access to public education on the basis of their disability, there was and will be a finding of prima facie discrimination. We are very
hopeful that the resulting decision will act as a catalyst in bringing change to early identification, teacher education and training, and the Ministry of Education’s understanding of literacy and special education. Parents and families of children with severe learning disabilities should take comfort from the Court’s decision,” says ONBIDA’s current President Jana Leggett.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal held that the B.C. Ministry of Education and the local school district (both of whom are respondents in the appeal) discriminated against Jeffrey by failing to provide him the educational program and supports he needed in light of his dyslexia. That decision was overturned by the BC Supreme Court, and the BC Supreme Court’s decision was affirmed by the BC Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada restored the Tribunal’s central finding of discrimination against the local school district.

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