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Ontario Making Education More Accessible for Students with Disabilities

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Ontario Making Education More Accessible for Students with Disabilities

Chairs Appointed for Standards Development Committees

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario

Ontario has selected two individuals that will help lead the creation of a new Education Accessibility Standard to remove accessibility barriers for students.

Lynn Ziraldo has been selected as Chair of the K-12 Standards Development Committee (SDC). Ms. Ziraldo is the Strategic Advisor and the former Executive Director at the Learning Disabilities Association of York Region. She served as the Chair of the Minister of Education's Advisory Council for Special Education from 1996 to 2006, and in 2007 chaired the Minister's Autism Reference Group. Her lived experience as a parent of an adult with learning disabilities will provide valuable insight to the committee.

Tina Doyle has been selected as Chair of the Postsecondary Education SDC. Ms. Doyle is the Director of AccessAbility Services at University of Toronto Scarborough, and provides a unique perspective as a person with significant lived experience with disabilities. She is a former Chair of the Inter-University Disability Issues Association and a current participant on the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development's Financial Aid Working Group.

Membership for both SDCs is currently being finalized, with first meetings expected early 2018.

Helping all students succeed is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The government has consulted broadly across the education and disability sectors. Almost 3,000 responses were received to an online survey, providing valuable information about the barriers faced by students and helping to target priority areas for the SDCs to focus their immediate attention.
  • More than 340,000 Ontario students from kindergarten to Grade 12 are receiving special education programs and services.
  • More than 54,000 postsecondary students are identified as persons with disabilities.
  • There are currently enforceable standards for accessible customer service; information and communications; transportation; the design of public spaces; and employment.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Tracy MacCharles

“Education is a vital step on the road to meaningful employment. By identifying barriers faced by students with disabilities, we will be better able to ensure that Ontarians of all abilities have equal access to education.”

Tracy MacCharles

Minister of Government and Consumer Services and Minister Responsible for Accessibility

Deb Matthews

“All students should have the opportunity to study and succeed in colleges and universities. With the help of Tina Doyle, we can work to remove barriers to postsecondary education for students living with disabilities and build a system that better serves everyone. She possesses the right kind of professional expertise and personal experience that will help her lead this committee.”

Deb Matthews

Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government

Mitzie Hunter

“The Ontario government is committed to supporting all students in achieving their full potential. We know that Lynn Ziraldo shares that same deep commitment. Her expertise within the special education sector spans over 30 years and we look forward to her leadership on the Education Standards Development Committee. The important work of this committee will bring us one step closer to achieving equity for all elementary and high school students across the province.”

Mitzie Hunter

Minister of Education

“K-12 represents a critical stage of educational development for children and youth in Ontario. In my experience working with students with learning disabilities and autism, I have seen the direct impact fair and accessible learning has on children. I look forward to joining fellow experts in our field to identify opportunities for improving accessibility from kindergarten to high school graduation.”

Lynn Ziraldo

Chair of the K-12 Standard Development Committee

“Choosing to pursue postsecondary education is a monumental step in the personal and professional development of students across the province. We know that postsecondary education directly impacts the ability to obtain and retain meaningful employment. Reducing and removing barriers that students with disabilities face will have invaluable benefits in their education, and as they join the workforce.”

Tina Doyle

Chair of the Postsecondary Education Standard Development Committee

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