Ontario Making Education More Accessible for Students with Disabilities
Chairs Appointed for Standards Development Committees
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.
- 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.
- Visit the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario for information about legislative reviews, committees and councils.
- Access Talent: Ontario's Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”