Legal Considerations and AT in the Educational setting in Canada

Currently, the United States has a more highly developed educational AT model than exists in other countries. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), along with other legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), is part of a national strategy bolstered through the United States Department of Education to increase access to assistive technology in education.

In Canada, the provinces and territories control the delivery of educational services and establish their own systems. There is no Pan-Canadian K-12 educational strategy on the provision of assistive technology for special needs students (Jane, 2004). Here is an up-dated list of the provincial special education documentation dealing with AT provision across Canada.

Select a province or territory from the following list:

Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia
New Brunswick
Québec
Ontario
Manitoba
Saskatchewan
Alberta
British Columbia
Yukon
Northwest Territories
Nunavut


Newfoundland and Labrador

 
  • Department of Education Student Support Services Division The Student Support Services Division is responsible for special education programming, guidance services, student retention, speech and language services, itinerant services to children who are deaf and hard of hearing and visually impaired, educational psychology services and the Newfoundland School for the Deaf.   The division coordinates programs offered through the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA).
  • Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA)  Established in 1975 by joint agreement among the Ministers of Education of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, the APSEA serves children and youth who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, blind, or visually impaired with focus on AT services.


Prince Edward Island

 
  • Special Educational Needs In this section of the website, the department of Education and Early Childhood Development shows its committed to providing services to students with special educational needs based on the philosophy of inclusion. In this initiative, AT has a clear important place.
  • Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA)  Established in 1975 by joint agreement among the Ministers of Education of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, the APSEA serves children and youth who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, blind, or visually impaired with focus on AT services.


  Nova Scotia

 
  • Minister's  Review of Services for Students with Specai Needs The Report of the Special Education Implementation Review  outlines numerous recommendations to more effectively meet the needs of students with special needs. Assistive technologies are widely targeted by these recommendations.
  • Assistive technology-Supporting Student Success Published By Nova Scotia Education, Assistive technology-Supporting Student Success represents a foundation for building an on-going comprehensive process to support students through AT.
  • Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA)  Established in 1975 by joint agreement among the Ministers of Education of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, the APSEA serves children and youth who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, blind, or visually impaired with focus on AT services.


  New Brunswick

 
  • Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons The Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons is a body for consultation and study, which was created to advise the provincial government and the general public on matters relating to the status of persons with disabilities. The Council reports directly to the Premier of New Brunswick.
  • Student Services Unit The responsibilities under Student Services include the development, implementation and coordination of special education programming, which includes all areas of learning difficulties and learning disabilities. Student Services provides consultative support to schools, school districts, and other government departments, both provincially and nationally.
  • Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA)  Established in 1975 by joint agreement among the Ministers of Education of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, the APSEA serves children and youth who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, blind, or visually impaired with focus on AT services.


Québec

 
  • Special Education  This section links to the publication of the ministry of Education of Quebec related to special education.
  • Service national du Récit en adaptation scolaire Funded by the ministry of education of Quebec, the national service of the « RÉCIT en adaptation scolaire » is a network of contacts in Quebec school boards dedicated to skills development related to integrating technology into special education in accordance with the Quebec’s curriculum. Its aim is to provide guidelines, examples, and other useful resources to ensure effective integration of ICT in special education among which AT and AT services in education.


Ontario

 
  • Special Education Special education programs and services primarily consist of instruction and assessments that are different from those provided to the general student population. These may take the form of accommodations (such as specific teaching strategies, preferential seating, and assistive technology) and/or an educational program that is modified from the age-appropriate grade level expectations in a particular course or subject, as outlined in the Ministry of Education's curriculum policy documents.
  • The Education Act on Special Education The Education Act on Special Education identifies the  principal provisions special education in Ontario, assistive technology consideration and assessement included.
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Recognizing the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario, the AODA legislation will shift the current practices in the realm of education to address the diversity and inclusion of all learners and educators, including people with disabilities


Manitoba

 


  Saskatchewan

 
  • Student Support Services Student Support Services provides leadership within the PreK-12 education system to assist school divisions and educational partners in meeting the needs of students with exceptional learning and behavioural needs through assistive technology to ensure they have equal access to, and benefit from, the provincial educational program.


Alberta

 
  • Differentiated Instruction The primary goal of the ATL initiative is to support all students, including those with special needs, in achieving the learning outcomes of the Alberta curriculum or their individual learning goals through the use of assistive technology for learning.


British Columbia

 
  • Special Education Technology – British Columbia (SET-BC) SET-BC is a Provincial Resource Program designed to assist school districts in British Columbia in meeting the technology needs of students with physical disabilities and visual impairments.


Yukon

 
  • We have not identified any relevant information resources for this territory.


Northwest Territories

 


  Nunavut

 
  • We have not identified any relevant information resources for this territory.

 

As noted by Jane (2004), while information on AT service provision in education is clearly identified for some provinces, there is little or no AT service information apparent for other provinces. The provincial special education documentation dealing with assistive technology services listed above indicates variation on AT service provision. Without a federal legislation, funding, or national standards addressing AT entitlement for students with special needs in Canada, the implementation of AT in education is susceptible to inconsistencies. Some provinces have developed initiatives such as the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA) to foster cooperation between the provinces and remove the discrepancies between services provision to students with disabilities.

More about the legal considerations related to AT

 
  • US federal Special Education Laws This module looks at the mandates of various US federal public laws that impact the educational programs and services that children with disabilities receive mainly AT services.  
 
  • Wrigthslaw Wrigthslaw is a source for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
 
  • Assessing Students Needs for Assistive Technology This resource provides background information about AT and how these resources can support the special needs of learners in elementary and secondary schools. Teachers are directed to online sources for assessing special needs, for evaluating AT products, and for continuous professional growth in this area.