Dyslexia Canada applauds the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) which today announced a public inquiry into human rights issues affecting students with reading disabilities, focusing on dyslexia, the most common learning disability.
“This is a giant step forward in recognizing that dyslexia is a living tragedy in Ontario and the rest of Canada. It is our hope that this inquiry will act as a catalyst for all Canadian provinces and territories to review and make the necessary changes to their own public education system,” said W. Keith Gray, who himself has dyslexia and is Founder and Chair of Dyslexia Canada.
In its statement, the OHRC said it’s concerned “Ontario’s public education system may be failing to meet the needs of students with reading disabilities”, including dyslexia, a learning difference associated with language acquisition difficulties, that is unrelated to intelligence.
Dyslexia Canada notes that upwards of fifteen percent[i] of Canadian schoolchildren are dyslexic. Every classroom, Gray said, could include on average two to three dyslexic children who struggle with literacy and are at risk of life-long consequences including depression, anxiety, bullying, abuse, dropping out of school, involvement in the criminal justice system, suicide, and the basic ability to contribute to the community and economy.
Dyslexia can be successfully managed through early identification and proper remediation.
The inquiry will review the systemic and structural issues that may be contributing to the failure to meet the needs of these children such as teacher training, funding, oversight, monitoring and accountability, including appropriate assessment of student progress; data collection; and curriculum design. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the OHRC has the power to request documents, retain experts, enter any premises where it believes there is relevant information and also to engage in litigation. The Commission’s final report will be made public.
About Dyslexia Canada
Formed in 2016, Dyslexic Canada is a not-for profit organization committed to ensuring that every child in Canada with dyslexia gets a fair and equitable education.
For more information about Dyslexia Canada, please visit https://www.dyslexiacanada.org/