OHRC Right to Read Inquiry

OHRC inquiry slider image 2 cropped

The Ontario Human Rights Commission is conducting an in-depth public inquiry into reading instruction in Ontario public schools.

"Reading is the foundation for success in school, work and life. Learning to read is not a privilege, it is a human right. This inquiry will assess whether school boards use evidence-based approaches to meet their human rights obligations.”
- OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane

The OHRC has launched a year-long public inquiry to investigate how students with dyslexia may be facing systemic human rights violations in Ontario public schools.

The commission will be consulting with a range of experts, reviewing curriculum and instructional materials, teacher training, and school board policies and procedures.  The scope of the inquiry involves five areas of concern, as well as systemic and structural issues.

Parents, students, educators, and other professionals across the province are invited to share their experiences with OHRC before April 1st, 2020.


Scope of the Inquiry

Watch the Launch of the Inquiry (Oct 2019)

Renu Mandhane
OHRC Chief Commissioner

Lark Barker
President, Decoding Dyslexia

Alicia Smith
President-Elect, IDA Ontario


Get Involved- Make a Submission!

The Inquiry wants to hear about your experiences, challenges, and concerns faced by students learning to read in Ontario’s public education system.  You can complete a survey or make a written submission to legal@ohrc.on.caSubmissions are confidential.

We suggest you consider the Inquiry Terms of Reference and Scope (listed above) when making your submission.  The OHRC will be accepting public submissions through the survey or by email until April 1, 2020.

NOTE (March 2020): We understand that the Commission is still planning to prepare a survey for educators and other professionals.

OHRC is calling for student art, poetry, and media

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is calling on students to submit art, poetry, and media on “what the right to read means to me” as part of its Right to Read inquiry.

The OHRC invites students to explore the experience of reading disabilities, literacy, the right to read and standing up for human rights, to create art, poetry, sound or video. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2020.

Find more information on the OHRC website.

Public Hearings and Community Meetings

The OHRC is holding both public hearings and private community meetings to allow students with reading disabilities, parents and caregivers and other stakeholders to share their stories and lived experiences. Individuals who complete the online survey before December 31st, 2019 may be contacted and invited to present at a public hearing or to meet privately with the commission in their community.

Public hearings

Brampton - January 14, 2020
London - January 29, 2020
Thunder Bay- February 25, 2020
Ottawa- March 10, 2020

Community meetings

NEW! Community meetings will take place in Barrie on April 1, 2020, and in Hamilton on April 28, 2020.  These will be public meetings to allow students, parents or guardians and other stakeholders to share their stories and lived experiences related to reading disabilities in a more informal setting.

The OHRC will also be working with local Indigenous organizations to hold Indigenous-focused meetings in Kenora, Thunder Bay, London, Ottawa, and other locations.

There are 3 ways to participate in the Public Hearings:

a) Fill out the OHRC online survey at least two weeks prior to the hearing you wish to attend (NOTE: the deadline is no longer Dec 31st except for the Brampton hearing) and be given a time slot to make a seven-minute presentation. You must select the box at the end of the survey agreeing to have the OHRC contact you for further information.

b)  Attend the hearing and register (at the meeting) to speak during the “open mic” session, on a first-come, first-served basis.

c) Attend to observe only. No need to pre-register.

*** See the OHRC website for more details (location, times, format).

School Board Reviews

The OHRC has selected eight public school boards from across the province to assess their compliance with their obligation to provide equal treatment to students with reading disabilities. This representative sample will allow the OHRC to assess whether systemic issues exist across Ontario’s English public elementary and secondary schools.*

The OHRC will request documents, data, and information from the following eight school boards:

  1. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
  2. Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
  3. Lakehead District School Board
  4. London District Catholic School Board
  5. Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
  6. Peel District School Board
  7. Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
  8. Thames Valley District School Board

PLEASE NOTE: your child does not need to attend one of these school boards to make a submission to the Inquiry. Likewise, if you are an educator or other professional, you do not need to work at one of the school boards to make a submission. 

Questions & Answers