Accessibility Plan, 2010-2011

 



Table of Contents

ISSN #1708-4598


Introduction

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) sets out the roadmap to make Ontario accessible by 2025. Under this act, accessibility standards are being developed and implemented to break down barriers in key areas of everyday life.

These standards will increase accessibility for people with disabilities in the areas of customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and the built environment.

The government of Ontario is preparing to lead the way towards an accessible province. In 2010 the government of Ontario was the first public service organization to report compliance with the first standard — Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation (Ontario Regulation 429/07).

As we await additional standards under AODA, we are guided by the Ontario Human Rights Code and obligations set out in the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).

Each year, the government sets the course to prevent, identify and remove barriers through annual accessibility plans required under the ODA.

Highlights from the Ministry of Education's 2010 plan include:

In August, the Ministry of Education released the Caring and Safe Schools K-12 resource document for superintendents, principals and vice-principals. The document provides strategies and resources to support school and system leaders in building a caring and safe culture for all students including students with special education needs.

Throughout the year, the ministry sponsored or organized workshops and offered additional qualification courses to teachers on the use of assistive technology that supports barrier-free learning environments where all students have equal access to the learning experience and the Ontario curriculum. In August 2010, the ministry partnered with the Association of Special Education Technology (ASET) to host a provincial conference on the use of assistive technologies in and beyond the classroom.

To support children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services have supported implementation of the Connections for Students model in school boards. The Connections for Students model is a strategy to support children transitioning from intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) services to applied behaviour analysis (ABA) instructional methods in school. The partnership produced a range of resources including toolkits, information and training sessions, communication packages and online resources.

Through the ODA, accessibility planning has laid a strong foundation for the Ministry of Education to build on. This ministry will continue to help make Ontario more accessible for people with disabilities and a more inclusive society for all Ontarians.

To view other ministries' Accessibility Plans please visit: Ontario.ca


Report on Accessibility Achievements for 2009-2010

The Ontario Public Service (OPS) is working to achieve an accessible and barrier-free province by 2025. The ministry committed to assess its policies, programs, practices, services, acts and regulations to identify, remove or prevent barriers to persons with disabilities. This section summarizes our accomplishments.

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment: Ongoing

The Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) and the French Language Education Policy and Programs Branch (FLEPPB) will continue to work with facilities and the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) to improve the accessibility and overall environment of the school/residence installations they maintain.

All new construction will comply with barrier-free design standards.

Actions Taken:

At Centre Jules-Léger, the Emergency Broadcast (EB) System has been in operation for a full year. We have installed a total of 60 monitors in all sections of the building. All 60 monitors are connected to 12 "keys" or touch-screen monitors from which written emergency messages are sent for the benefit of all, including the non-hearing population.

Audio and visual EB Systems have been installed in all provincial schools.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment:

In preparation for the implementation of the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the ministry will continue to address gaps identified in the 2008 initial review of the ministry's customer service practices.

Actions Taken:

To meet compliance obligations of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (O. Reg. 429/07):

  • The deputy minister-approved compliance report was completed on deadline and sent to Ministry of Government Services.
  • Our accessible customer service feedback process was updated. The process will continue to evolve when modifications are suggested.
  • The feedback process allows customers to provide comments on accessibility of ministry services through the website, by email, phone or in-person.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment:

The ministry will promote OPS training modules to employees, to ensure delivery of high levels of customer service to customers with disabilities.

Actions Taken:

To continue delivery of high levels of customer service to customers with disabilities, in October, the ministry posted reminders to staff about the requirements to complete the May I Help You? modules and to review our ministry-specific implementation guidelines.

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministries will continue to build on ministry managers' and employees' awareness of employment practices and continue to provide training opportunities to ensure improved accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Actions Taken:

The ministry issued a reminder to staff about training requirements and updated training materials online.

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing 

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will investigate the use of Web 2.0 technologies and other social networking tools in relation to their possible support of accessibility for OPS users in the workplace environment.

Actions Taken:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch regularly investigated Web 2.0 technologies and their use as accessibility requirements arise in the workplace environment.

Focus Area: Employment  

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministries will continue to promote the Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities / Special Needs developed by Emergency Management Ontario, via the intranet and during Emergency Preparedness Week.

Actions Taken:

Discussions with our intranet web coordinator are ongoing to refresh the Emergency Management website. The website will include both the Accessibility Checklist along with the Emergency preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities / Special Needs.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing 

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that the ministry's intranet and websites meet or exceed accessibility requirements.

Actions Taken:

The ministry's intranet and websites meet all ODA requirements and remain compliant.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing 

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that ministry publications are available in alternate formats on the website.

Actions Taken:

The ministry posted alternate formats of publications on its website to meet accessibility needs.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers if their needs are not addressed in the revised curricula.

As revised curricula are released, the introduction will include an enhanced section on Planning Programs for Students with Special Education Needs, and many specific curriculum expectations in the documents will include examples to address the teaching and learning needs of all students.

The ministry will continue to ensure that the needs of all students are addressed in the revised curricula.

Actions Taken:

French-language curriculum:

  • French Language Education Policy and Programs Branch (FLEPPB) published a draft version of the Health and Physical Education grade 1 to 8 curriculum for implementation in September 2010 as well as the draft version of the Full-Day Kindergarten program.
  • In addition, FLEPPB published the Actualisation linguistique en français (ALF) program/Programme d'appui aux nouveaux arrivants (PANA) ALF/PANA curriculum policy documents for grades 1 to 12. All of these curriculum policy documents include an enhanced section on Planning Programs for Students with Special Education Needs. Many specific curriculum expectations include appropriate examples to address the teaching and learning needs of all students.

English-language curriculum

  • E-Learning Ontario makes every effort to update its online courses to reflect the new curricula. As new curriculum documents are released, existing courses are updated to reflect the new expectations and approaches.
  • E-learning courses appeal to various learning styles, both in terms of the content that is presented (e.g., text, animation, interactive multimedia elements (MMEs), video), and in terms of what students are asked to produce. Course writers are encouraged to incorporate a variety of types of assessments in the course (e.g., report, quiz, portfolio, group presentation), and students may be encouraged to submit these in various ways (e.g., record presentation, submit audio files, submit files containing text and images).
  • School boards remain responsible for identifying the particular needs of students with disabilities and customizing the courses and resources to meet their needs. Customization is both encouraged and taught at two-day regional training sessions. Teachers are also trained how to post and release content for students who may have special learning needs (e.g., remedial units, enrichment tasks).

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Within the broad context of identifying any barriers/issues and opportunities that could impact people with disabilities, the Ministry of Education will be exploring, and enhancing where appropriate, the accessibility potential of processes related to the delivery of its e-learning policies and programs, including design, procurement, development/modification and implementation.

Actions Taken:

All e-learning courses available in English language curriculum (9-12) are developed using technology that supports a range of special needs:

  • Alt tags for all images and long descriptions for all charts enable the entire course (including images and charts) to be accessible to a student with visual disabilities (screen readers).
  • Background images which may obscure text for students with visual disabilities are not used. Flashing icons or buttons which may induce seizures in some students are not used.
  • Transcripts for screencasts, audio files, and videos make courses accessible for students with hearing disabilities. When requests are made by boards, transcripts are created for interactive multimedia elements (MMEs).
  • In many MMEs where audio is present, a text alternative exists for the student. For example, directions may be spoken, but they also appear in text form at the bottom of the screen. This allows students to both hear directions and read them.
  • The provincial Learning Management System enables changes to font size to assist students with visual impairment. Courses are created using cascading style sheets, rather than hard coding of font size, further allowing students to increase font size if desired.
  • Font colours and choices reflect those most accessible to students with colour blindness. As well, when more than one colour is used, a high level of contrast is used to optimize use for students with low vision.

The design of e-learning courses permits students who have access to and/or depend on assistive technologies in school or at home to use them. Students may use speech-to-text programs to complete essays or other items, which can then be submitted electronically. Similarly, if they have access, students may use microphones and recording devices located outside of the system to create files, which they may then upload to the system.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

  • Students with special education needs may not reach their full education potential if appropriate Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are not developed and/or implemented.
  • The ministry will continue to take steps to improve program planning by clarifying the connection between a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP), the Ontario curriculum and the provincial report card with school boards.

The ministry will also assist boards to streamline their administrative processes, so that they may focus their resources on program planning and implementation.

The ministry, under the guidance of the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB), is currently exploring the possibility of creating a voluntary electronic IEP template for school boards.

Actions Taken:

The ministry went beyond the piloting of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) template as conversations took place across the 7 provincial regions during the fall 2009. Data and information gathered during the IEP Conversations informed work and next steps for policy recommendations and resources to support district school boards.

The following was done to improve IEPs to help students with special education needs reach their full education potential.

  • SEPPB has provided all school boards with an electronic template for the development of effective IEPs.
  • More IEP samples have been added to the existing ones on the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) website: www.ontariodirectors.ca.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) received funding from the SEPPB to develop a website to build capacity of parents and students in the IEP process. IEP 101, an online workshop for parents and students to understand their role in the IEP process is now available and can be found at: http://www.ldao.ca/.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing 

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will continue to provide textbooks and learning materials in alternate formats to students who are blind or who have low vision and are in district school boards.

A recently created facility enabling special needs advisors in district school boards to order publications online has improved the service provided.

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will continue to examine the feasibility of expanding access to learning materials in digital formats to all print-impaired students in district school boards and school authorities in order to ensure equity, improve service and reduce costs.

Actions Taken:

Now that we have resolved fundamental issues around access to the system, the French interface of the Resources Services Library (RSL) is now in preparation. Data from Centre Jules-Léger (CJL) was transferred to the new and common system shared by the PSB and CJL.

The RSL (elementary/secondary) and Alternative Education Resources for Ontario (AERO) (postsecondary) are repositories for learning materials in print-alternate formats. Work has been undertaken to make RSL and AERO OPS-compliant in terms of accessibility.

Initial work has been completed to incorporate current elementary/secondary French-language resources into the repository. A French interface to these resources is scheduled to go live the third quarter of 2010-11.

The one-year pilot AERO is underway involving six publishers and six postsecondary institutions. A French interface has been developed for potential growth upon success of the pilot. A report on the pilot is currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2011-12.

The branch has facilitated the development of Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessment materials in Braille and Daisy digital audio in English and French for use by students with print impairments in all school boards in Ontario.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Lack of awareness of tools and resources on accessibility and the AODA can be a current and future barrier to the development of integrated, accessible I & IT business solutions.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to post on ClusterNET relevant AODA resource materials.

(ClusterNET is a cluster-wide intranet that allows cross-ministry collaboration and information-sharing of I & IT knowledge.)

Specifically, links to current AODA standards and policies, as well as tools for AODA-compliancy will be made available for all staff across the five ministries of the cluster.

Timely and accurate information allows the ministry to monitor, review and improve communication with stakeholders.

Actions Taken:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch fulfilled its commitment to post relevant AODA resource materials on ClusterNET.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Successful integration into the workplace for persons with disabilities requires a variety of support tools (i.e., software).

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to the maintenance and updating as required, of the current checklist of software and applications, designed to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities in day-to-day work activities.

Actions Taken:

This checklist remained available to all OPS staff on ClusterNET.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will investigate the use of Web 2.0 technologies and other social networking tools in relation to their possible support of accessibility for OPS users in the workplace environment.

Actions Taken:

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch regularly investigated Web 2.0 technologies and their use, as accessibility requirements arose in the workplace environment.

Focus Area: Other 

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry continues to support the government's commitment to the creation of accessibility standards as part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

Actions Taken:

To support the government's commitment to the creation of accessibility standards under the AODA, the ministry provided input into development of upcoming accessibility standards in the areas of:

  • Built environment
  • Employment
  • Information and communications
  • Transportation.

The ministry also recommended that the Ministry of Community and Social Services consult with our broader public service delivery partners to ensure the context and circumstances of the education and training sectors were reflected in policy development.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Language is certainly the key to universal access.

There is currently no curriculum defining the requirements of the Langue des signes québecoise (LSQ) and therefore no set standards for the efficient learning of the language.

The ministry, in providing what is to become a curriculum for the learning of the signed language, is promoting a universal access to information by the deaf or hard-of-hearing student.

Actions Taken:

A curriculum for the teaching of LSQ has been created for both the elementary and secondary levels. The elementary curriculum has been partly implemented as a pilot at our Provincial School. The curriculum for grades 9 and 10 has been submitted to the regional office for approval as a locally developed course. Approval is still pending.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will promote and educate teachers, parents and students on the use of Assistive Technology (AT) to support barrier-free learning environments where all students have equal access to the learning experience and the Ontario curriculum.

Actions Taken:

The branch partnered with ASET (Association for Special Education Technology) to host the AT4ALL conference held in August 2009. The conference promoted enhanced understanding of technologies in meeting the needs of all learners by:

  • Sharing evidenced-based research on the efficacy of a variety of AT tools for learning;
  • Furthering the role of AT in supporting differentiated instruction;
  • Supporting educator, student and parental awareness of the role of AT in life-long learning.

In attendance at the conference were over 300 educators, parents, families, and technicians who work in Assistive Technology (AT), professionals (school psychologists, speech and language pathologists and occupational therapists), vendors and publishers, delegates from the English- and French-language district school boards, school authorities, provincial and demonstration schools, representatives from the Minister's Advisory Council for Special Education (MACSE), and faculties of education in Ontario, among others.

The branch also partnered with ASET for a conference in May 2010 as follow-up to AT4ALL

Note that PSB also loans Braillers to participants in Additional Qualification courses for the Blind and Deaf-Blind. (See also – Commitment to increase the supply of specialist teachers of the Deaf, the Blind, and the Deaf-Blind, page 20).

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will design an American Sign Language (ASL) curriculum to allow users whose first language is ASL to learn about their language, similar to how English first language users learn about their language in Language Arts.

Actions Taken:

The Grade 9 ASL curriculum will be implemented as a pilot course at the three branch schools for the Deaf in second semester 2010-11.

The branch is in the process of training school board personnel on the elementary ASL curriculum.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers accessing education.

The ministry supports the Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE) and will continue to provide the minister with advice on special education matters.

Led by the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB), ministry staff will continue to support MACSE and its sub-committees to respond to ministry proposals.

Actions Taken:

MACSE members have provided the minister with advice in order to facilitate access to education for students with special needs. More particularly, they made recommendations regarding Building Capacity of Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs) and Student Mental Health.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may not benefit from special education programs and services if issues are not addressed in a timely and effective manner.

The ministry addressed these issues through the preparation of a resource guide and through a dispute resolution pilot.

Following recommendations made by the Working Table on Special Education, the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB) initiated a project on informal dispute resolution and mediation.

One of the deliverables included a resource guide for parents and educators.

Consultations on the guide were held with English- and French-language education stakeholders.

Participants included: parents, students, educators, parent advocates and mediators.

Feedback from the sessions was incorporated into the guide, Shared Solutions, released in fall 2007, along with regional professional development sessions.

A Provincial Advisory Committee was also formed with representation from parents, students, educators and dispute resolution specialists to assist in the development of a formal dispute resolution pilot.

This pilot project started in fall 2007 in selected school boards.

Actions Taken:

The evaluation report of the pilot and the report from the Provincial Advisory Committee were reviewed. Appropriate training of school board staff was conducted and use of Shared Solutions was encouraged throughout the Ministry of Education.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder may face barriers in the classroom if they do not receive effective support from school board staff.

To support deeper implementation of Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 140, Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the ministry will provide funding to hire additional board level ABA expertise to support principals, teachers, and multi-disciplinary transition teams.

The Ministry of Education (EDU) and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) will support the implementation of the Connections for Students model through its Collaborative Service Delivery Models (CSDM) for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Phase 2.

The Connections for Students model is centered on multi-disciplinary, student-specific, school-based transition teams that are established approximately six months before a child prepares to transition from intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) services provided through the MCYS funded Autism Intervention Program to applied behaviour analysis (ABA) instructional methods in school.

School boards throughout the province are expected to implement the Connections for Students transition teams no later than spring 2010 for all children transitioning from intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) therapy services provided through the MCYS funded Autism Intervention Program (AIP) to ABA instructional methods in our publicly funded schools in September 2010 and thereafter.

Sixteen boards will receive funding to participate in Phase 2 of the CSDM initiative to implement the Connections model in 2009.

Actions Taken:

CSDM for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Phase 2 has been successfully completed. CSDM Phase 2 partnerships produced a range of resources to support the implementation of the Connections for Students model including toolkits, information and training sessions, communication packages and online resources. Sample resources are posted on the publicly accessible Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) website (www.ontariodirectors.ca). A draft evaluation report on CSDM Phase 2 was completed.

The Grants for Students Needs (GSN) was amended to provide boards with an annual allocation that will be used to hire board level professionals with Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) expertise, beginning in the 2010-11 school year. School board personnel with ABA expertise will provide and coordinate training on ABA instructional methods and resources at the school board and school level to increase capacity within the publicly funded school system to use ABA methods and will support deeper implementation of PPM 140.

The Ministry provided funding to Geneva Centre for Autism to cover educators' registration costs to participate in the Geneva Centre for Autism's 26th Annual Autism Summer Training Institute on August 23-26, 2010. Approximately 1,200 principals, teachers, teachers' assistants and other educators attended this training.

As required by PPM 140, the ministry developed an annual process to monitor school boards' implementation of ABA instructional methods. Schools complete a snapshot self-assessment survey of 33 indicators of implementation of PPM 140. A self-assessment survey was conducted in 2010 and its findings were shared with the Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE).

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers if their learning difficulties are not identified at an early stage.

The ministry will continue to support the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) to make the early screening and intervention tool, known as the Web Based Teaching Tool (WBTT), available to additional teachers in more school boards.

It is anticipated that the expanded use of this tool will result in earlier identification of more students' learning difficulties and greater application of instructional strategies and targeted interventions.

A new evaluation of the tool is in progress to assess its effectiveness in improving student achievement.

An evaluation of the tool was completed and showed its effectiveness in improving student achievement.

Additional features were built in 2008 to support schools in managing student information.

A School Administrator Site (SAS) has been developed, along with plans for an export function to enable school principals to view their individual student WBTT information.

In January and February 2008, over 40 school principals participated in a professional development session on the School Administrator Site in order to pilot this new WBTT site.

Actions Taken:

The WBTT continued to be used and enhanced to detect students who could be at risk for future school progress. Particular attention was given to close the early achievement gap and providing additional support to students who need it as early as possible.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs not accessing Ontario curriculum and not participating in Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessments may not reach their full education potential if appropriate assessment measures are not put in place.

The ministry, through the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB), is committed to address this issue and reach every student by supporting school boards to enhance assessment practices and identify broader measures of success.

The SEPPB conducted a survey of school boards in February 2009 on current assessment processes and methods used to report the achievement of students who do not access the Ontario curriculum and are exempted from all standardized provincial assessments.

Actions Taken:

  • Consulted with external stakeholders;
  • Drafted provincial guidelines for school boards to assess, monitor and report on the achievement of these students;
  • Supported regional projects among school boards to enhance their capacity to assess, monitor and report on the achievement of all students; and
  • Collected samples of reporting and data collection methods and professional development materials from school boards to identify effective practices to share amongst boards.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers accessing curriculum and receiving appropriate support and services to reach their potential in learning.

The Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB) has led the development of Learning for All K-12 – a resource that is designed to share information with educators about research-informed educational approaches that have proved to be effective in Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Actions Taken:

Opportunities to provide feedback on the draft document were facilitated throughout the 2009-10 school year.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers accessing a caring and safe learning environment.

The Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB) has led the development of Caring and Safe Schools K-12 (working title) resource document.

This document is intended to provide strategies and resources to support school and system leaders in building a caring and safe culture for all students including students with special education needs.

It will assist superintendents, principals and vice-principals in their decision-making process during their implementation of school board policies and programs to meet the ministry's requirements on safe schools with respect to students with special education needs.

Actions Taken:

SEPPB released Caring and Safe Schools in August 2010.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) and the French Language Education Policy and Programs Branch (FLEPPB) will partner with postsecondary institutions to increase the supply of specialist teachers of the Deaf, the Blind, and the Deaf-Blind.

Actions Taken:

Centre Jules-Léger in partnership with the University of Ottawa, has held a summer institute, two summers in a row, to allow for the training of approximately 20 teachers in signed language. The 20 teachers have also been invited to enroll in the Additional Qualification (AQ) course in order to increase the number of qualified teachers with the capacity to sign.

In partnership with Nipissing University, the Provincial Schools Branch offered the specialist Additional Qualifications (AQ) for teaching students who are Deaf (part 3) in summer 2010.

Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the AQs for teaching students who are Blind and Deaf-blind were offered in partnership with Nipissing University in summer 2010. Note that PSB loans Braillers to each participant for the AQ course work.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers if they are not taken into account in the revision/updating of provincial policies governing secondary school programs and diploma requirements.

Work is underway to revise/update the provincial policies governing secondary school programs and diploma requirements, in keeping with the government's announced policy commitments for Student Success/Learning to 18 Phase 3.

Similar to the current policy provisions (under "Ontario Secondary Schools"), the revised/updated policies will apply to all students in secondary schools, including those with special education needs.

The revision process includes an inter-branch steering committee overseeing the work, with representation on the committee by the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB).

Actions Taken:

Changes have been incorporated into a draft of the new policy and procedures document for Ontario Schools (OS).

The SEPPB has ensured adequate representation through the inter-branch steering committee.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs are consistently not reaching the provincial standard on the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) provincial assessments.

An achievement gap exists between the general population of Grade 3 and 6 students and Grade 3 and 6 students with special education needs.

Providing equity of outcome for Ontario students is identified by the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat (LNS) as fundamental to improvement initiatives.

In working with school districts to improve learning and achievement all Ontario students, the LNS will identify initiatives designed to address the learning challenges of students with special education needs and other groups of students.

Although EQAO results indicate ongoing improvement, more needs to be done to support learning for students with special education needs.

Actions Taken:

LNS works directly with schools and boards to identify challenges and develop solutions to address them. Examples of LNS work with boards and schools include:

  • working with boards to develop goals and action plans for improving student learning and achievement;
  • sharing research on evidence-informed teaching and learning practices; and
  • supporting systematic professional learning for teachers.

Ongoing work with school boards to raise achievement results overall and close achievement gaps include:

  • Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership (funding for school boards to target areas of need, based on provincial results);
  • Schools in the Middle (funding and professional learning to raise student achievement from Level 2 to Level 3);
  • Early Primary Collaborative Inquiry (supporting our youngest learners through study of student work and targeted student support);
  • Collaborative Inquiry for Learning - Mathematics (targeted professional learning support for teaching mathematics); and
  • Student Work Study Teachers/Student Work Sample Study (personalizing instruction by studying student work samples).

Ontario's character development initiative supports all students, including students with special education needs. Character development is clearly evident in initiatives that address areas such as respectful and accessible workplaces, environmental awareness and protection, restorative practices, local and global health initiatives, athletic codes of conduct, student-led conferences and student leadership development.

The LNS Research Evaluation and Data Management team conducts research in collaboration with schools and boards about personalizing instruction to maximize success for all students, including students with special education needs and students with individualized education plans.

Special Education planning has been included in the K-12 process for 2010 Board Improvement Planning for Student Achievement for all school boards. (See also – Commitment on Student Success/Learning to 18 initiatives, page 24).

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students who leave school after age 18 without a secondary school diploma may not receive positive recognition for the achievements they accomplished.

Some students with special education needs, who are not working toward, or unlikely to achieve the requirements for the secondary school diploma also may not receive recognition.

The ministry is committed to creating a new Provincial Skills Certificate in order to give positive recognition for achievements to the small number of students not working toward, or unlikely to achieve the requirements for the secondary school diploma.

Under the direction of the Student Success/Learning to 18 Strategic Policy Branch (SSL18SPB), this design and development work will be undertaken in consultation with key stakeholders in the special education community, and with full consideration given to respecting and meeting the needs of students with special education needs, consistent with provincial policies governing special education and the provisions of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Actions Taken:

The Curriculum-Essential Skills Linkages (CESL) Field Test completed in 2009-10 with successful results. Final report received May 2010.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

In 2008-09, 4,500 senior secondary school students in secondary schools were involved in dual credit programs in partnership with 24 colleges – a key component of the Student Success/Learning to 18 Strategy.

Dual credit programs are aimed at Grade 11 and 12 students and provide new and varied learning opportunities, that is, courses that interest students who are disengaged or who may be at risk of not graduating.

The target group includes students with special education needs.

Actions Taken:

  • Improved admission selection process as guided by the board or school student success team.
  • Data collection also included information on Dual Credit students who participated through an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) process or had a current Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry is approving and providing funding for an expanded number of Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) in 2008-09, the third year since SHSMs were launched in 2006-07.

Approved SHSM programs must include all four pathways – apprenticeship, college, university and workplace.

Students with disabilities may be enrolled in SHSMs if the program meets their interests and abilities.

As part of the SHSM Implementation Guide, boards and schools are required to consider accommodations and/or modifications for students with special education needs, including appropriate supports and preparation for students participating in experiential learning work placements.

SHSM programs will be available in all boards with a secondary school, but not in all schools.

In 2008-09, E.C. Drury Provincial School for the Deaf will be offering an SHSM in Arts & Culture.

As part of more on-site visits to SHSMs, the ministry will ask SHSM programs about access by students with disabilities.

Actions Taken:

  • Two SHSM applications have been submitted and approved for (i) hospitality and for (ii) arts and culture for use in specific schools for the Blind and the Deaf.
  • Dual credits are being offered in partnership with George Brown College.
  • Boards reported the number of students in SHSMs with IEPs.
  • Exemplary practices were shared and professional learning community is in development.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers that prevent them from fully participating in Student Success/Learning to 18 initiatives.

All Student Success/Learning to 18 implementation and training initiatives will continue to be designed and planned to support the diversity of all students in Ontario schools, including those with special education needs.

Actions Taken:

The French-Language Education Policy and Programs Branch (FLEPPB) continued to monitor the inclusion of programmes and services for students with special needs in board improvement plans.

Special Education planning has been included in the K-12 process for 2010 Board Improvement Planning for Student Achievement for all school boards. (See also – Commitment on EQAO reporting, page 21).

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to support embedding the principles of equity and inclusive education into its programs and initiatives.

Within the sector, the ministry will continue to support removing systemic barriers and discriminatory biases as a means of supporting student achievement and to help close the gap.

School boards are to adhere to ODA, as stated in the Policy/Program Memorandum 119 (2009).

Actions Taken:

  • Established seven Equity and Inclusive Education Networks;
  • Released: Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy (April 2009), Guidelines on Policy Development and Implementation (July 2009), PPM No. 119 "Developing Equity and Inclusive Policies in Ontario Schools" (June 2009);
  • Developed glossary with OPS Diversity Office and stakeholders including Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) (Feb 2010);
  • Hosted symposia on Equity and Inclusive Education across the province; and
  • Participated on OPS Diversity Steering Committee to identify and remove discriminatory biases and systemic barriers, identify and meet employee needs (e.g. establishment of Quiet Room in the OPS for prayer/meditation).

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The Teaching Policy and Standards Branch will work with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) on their ongoing review of the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, to ensure that the terminology used in the Act and regulation reflects current and acceptable language related to people with disabilities.

Actions Taken:

Amendments were made in spring 2010 to the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996. An effort was made to ensure that proper terminology was used to reflect current and acceptable language related to people with disabilities.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Information technology goods and services (hardware/software) may pose barriers if there are no processes to check for ODA compliance.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to OPS procurement guidelines to ensure that accessibility has been considered in the procurement of goods and services.

Actions Taken:

The AODA Procurement Requirements Checklist is a formal part of the procurement process.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The Legal Services Branch will ensure that acts, regulations, guidelines and standards reflect the principles of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001 (ODA).

Actions Taken:

All existing statutes and regulations have been reviewed by the Legal Services Branch.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The Legal Services Branch in the ministry commits to assess any new acts or regulations to ensure that they are compliant with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001.

Actions Taken:

New legislation has been reviewed.


Report on Accessible Customer Service Requirements

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) came into force on January 1, 2008. All OPS ministries were required to comply with the Regulation by January 1, 2010.

The OPS was the first public organization to file their compliance report with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in January 2010. In order to sustain compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation, it is vital that ministries continue to look for opportunities through their accessibility planning process, to continue embed accessibility in all areas of planning, programs and policies.

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment:

The ministry will continue to be in compliance with the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

Planned Action(s):

  • Sample audits of progress toward branch compliance and training logs will be completed, issues identified and resolution strategies implemented.
  • The ministry will host conversations for staff to provide practical tips on accommodations staff can make to provide better service to persons with disabilities.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing from January 2011

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment:

The ministry will promote OPS training modules to employees, to ensure delivery of high levels of customer services to customers with disabilities.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will continue to work to embed requirements to complete training modules within new employee orientation information.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing from January 2011

Focus Area: Customer Service

Commitment:

With the goal of providing more accessible services, the ministry will review and continuously improve the process to receive and respond to feedback on the accessibility of its services.

To date, the ministry has received no feedback about the accessibility of services.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will:

  • analyze feedback received and
  • develop recommendations for modifications to feedback process and/or delivery of services.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing


Information and Communication Commitments

Information and the methods of communication are key to delivering many government programs and services to the public. It is essential that we provide the same quality and service to everyone in the province.

In anticipation of the pending standards guiding Information and Communications, the Government of Ontario is continuously looking for opportunities to prevent and remove barriers to persons with disabilities when creating, procuring, conveying, receiving or distributing information and communications to the public.

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

  • Students with special education needs may face barriers if their needs are not addressed in the revised curricula.
  • As revised curricula are released, the Introduction will include an enhanced section on Planning Programs for Students with Special Education Needs, and many specific curriculum expectations in the documents will include examples to address the teaching and learning needs of all students.
  • The ministry will continue to ensure that the needs of all students are addressed in the revised curricula.

Planned Action(s):

French-language curriculum
French Language Education Programs and Policy Branch will continue to include the enhanced section on Planning Programs for Students with Special Education Needs in future publications of revised curriculum policy documents. As well, many specific curriculum expectations will include appropriate examples to address the teaching and learning needs of all students.

English-language curriculum
The revised curriculum for The Arts, Grades 9 to 12 will be released shortly for implementation in fall 2010, and the revised Social Sciences and Humanities, Grades 9 to 12 and the revised Health and Physical Education, Grades 9 to 12 will be released in winter 2011 for implementation in fall 2011.

We will continue to encourage differentiated instruction to meet the needs of many learners, both in our course design and in our training of e-learning teachers.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Within the broad context of identifying any barriers/issues and opportunities that could impact people with disabilities, the Ministry of Education will be exploring, and enhancing where appropriate, the accessibility potential of processes related to the delivery of its e-learning policies and programs, including design, procurement, development/modification and implementation.

Planned Action(s):

We continue to look for methods of dealing with spreadsheets and equations for accounting and mathematics courses.

Implementation Timeframe: 2007-2010

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may not reach their full education potential if appropriate Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are not developed and/or implemented. The ministry will continue to take steps to improve program planning by clarifying the connection between a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP), the Ontario curriculum and the provincial report card with school boards.

The ministry will also assist boards to streamline their administrative processes, so that they may focus their resources on program planning and implementation.

The ministry, under the guidance of the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB), is currently exploring the possibility of creating a voluntary electronic IEP template for school boards.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry is currently in the process of creating a comprehensive and integrated resource guide that includes IEPs.

The new Special Education Resource Guide (working title) will incorporate any change to documentation of the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)/IEP processes in response to the Office of Auditor General of Ontario (OAGO).

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will continue to provide textbooks and learning materials in alternate formats to students who are blind or who have low vision and are in district school boards.

A recently created facility enabling special needs advisors in district school boards to order publications online has improved the service provided.

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will continue to examine the feasibility of expanding access to learning materials in digital formats to all print-impaired students in district school boards and school authorities in order to ensure equity, improve service and reduce costs.

Planned Action(s):

We now need to staff the system with people having knowledge of the French language in order to filter the quality of the material which will be available through the Resource Services Library (RSL). A number of issues have to be resolved in order to proceed with some components of the system, namely to determine whether to outsource or insource work to be done with the Kurzweil application. We also need to come to an agreement with the PSB to establish shared responsibilities.

The branch is reviewing the potential expansion of the French-language customer service aspect of the RSL and Alternative Education Resources for Ontario (AERO).

Upon review and success of the AERO postsecondary pilot, the branch and MTCU will consider expansion to other postsecondary institutions.

The branch will review the feasibility of expanding the RSL production system to include publishers of elementary/secondary learning materials.

The branch is reviewing possibilities for creating alternate format materials for ministry employees.

The branch will continue to investigate opportunities to expand RSL and AERO services to other educational areas.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: New

The newly released guidelines for assessment, evaluation and reporting, Growing Success, mandate in the fundamental principles and in its policies the need to support the needs of all students, including those with special education needs. A chapter has been specifically written for Special Education.

Planned Action(s):

  • In-servicing of policy in fall 2010
  • Instructional presentations have been posted on-line for teachers. The presentations are in multiple formats and provide slides, slides with narration and closed captioning
  • Teacher resource site follows ministry direction that users do not have to follow multiple links to access the information
  • Videos prepared for teacher use as resources will have a text copy of the script available to them
  • Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch (CAPB) is contracting writers to prepare sample units on effective assessment practice specifically addressing differentiation for special education needs
  • A parent pamphlet on the newly released policy is being issued in multiple languages

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that the ministry's intranet and websites meet or exceed accessibility requirements.

Planned Action(s):

Communications Branch will continue to ensure that both ministry's intranet and websites are ODA-compliant.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

The Communications Branch will continue to ensure that ministry publications are available in alternate formats on the website.

Planned Action(s):

Publications will continue to be posted in HTML, PDF and/or plain text formats on the websites.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Lack of awareness of tools and resources on accessibility and the AODA can be a current and future barrier to the development of integrated, accessible I & IT business solutions.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to post on ClusterNET relevant AODA resource materials.

(ClusterNET is a cluster-wide intranet that allows cross-ministry collaboration and information-sharing of I & IT knowledge.)  

Specifically, links to current AODA standards and policies, as well as tools for AODA-compliancy will be made available for all staff across the five ministries of the cluster.

Timely and accurate information allows the ministry to monitor, review and improve communication with stakeholders.

Planned Action(s):

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch will continue to expand the accessibility resource area of ClusterNet and conduct yearly reviews to ensure accuracy of content including AODA standards, policies, videos and tools for AODA support and compliance.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

Successful integration into the workplace for persons with disabilities requires a variety of support tools (i.e., software).

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to the maintenance and updating as required, of the current checklist of software and applications, designed to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities in day-to-day work activities.

Planned Action(s):

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch will continue to maintain and update, as required, the current checklist of software and applications in use across the cluster.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Information and Communication

Commitment: Ongoing

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will investigate the use of Web 2.0 technologies and other social networking tools in relation to their possible support of accessibility for OPS users in the workplace environment.

Planned Action(s):

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch will continue to explore Web 2.0 tools to enhance I & IT accessibility in the OPS workplace for all employees, including those with special needs.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing


Other Accessibility Commitments

Accessibility Improvement Initiatives to Identify, Remove or Prevent Barriers in preparation for AODA standards currently under development.

In anticipation of the upcoming standards the Government of Ontario has planned several corporate initiatives in the following areas, Transportation, Employment, Built Environment and others. The goal of these focus areas is to make it easier for people with disabilities to travel in Ontario, ensure accessibility for people with disabilities across all stages of the employment life cycle and break down barriers in buildings. Many of the corporate initiatives identified for 2010-2011 aim to support ministries in their journey towards compliance with the upcoming standards.

To review a list of corporate initiatives please refer to the Ministry of Government Services 2010-2011 Accessibility Plan.

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment: Ongoing

The Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) and the French Language Education Policy and Programs Branch (FLEPPB) will continue to work with facilities and the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) to improve the accessibility and overall environment of the school/residence installations they maintain.

All new construction will comply with barrier-free design standards.

Planned Action(s):

The Emergency Broadcast System will be calibrated as per ongoing use and experience: drills and use of the equipment led us to slightly modify the length of the written messages.

To increase effectiveness of alarm systems for students with hearing disabilities, we are also considering hooking flashing strobe lights to the system.

The branch will continue to work with ORC and the ministry's facilities unit to improve accessibility of the built environment and comply with barrier-free design standards.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Built Environment

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through our Corporate Finance and Services Branch, will ensure that the new Standards for Barrier-Free Design of Ontario Government Facilities, released in October 2004 to improve barrier-free accessibility in ministry buildings, are implemented.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will continue to improve accessibility when planning major capital projects, especially converting washrooms to barrier-free washrooms. The ministry will undertake the same diligence with respect to the renewal of rental agreements to ensure that existing ministry properties are accessible.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: New

The Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will continue to offer American Sign Language (ASL) instruction to staff.

Actions Taken:

The branch provided job-embedded coaching in ASL and ASL instruction (spring and summer 2010) for staff.

Planned Action(s):

The branch will continue to provide job-embedded coaching in ASL and ASL instruction to staff as needs are identified.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing to 2011

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministries will continue to build on ministry managers' and employees' awareness of employment practices and continue to provide training opportunities to ensure improved accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will continue to issue reminders to staff about requirements to complete accessibility training such as May I Help You? and ODA: Maximizing the Contributions of Employees with Disabilities, and will update online resources as required.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will investigate the use of Web 2.0 technologies and other social networking tools in relation to their possible support of accessibility for OPS users in the workplace environment.

Planned Action(s):

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch will continue to explore Web 2.0 tools to enhance I & IT accessibility in the OPS workplace for all employees, including those with special needs.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Employment

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministries will continue to promote the Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs developed by Emergency Management Ontario, via the intranet and during Emergency Preparedness Week.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will complete a refresh of our Emergency Management website.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing from January 2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry continues to support the government's commitment to the creation of accessibility standards as part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

Planned Action(s):

To ensure the context and circumstances of the education and training sectors are reflected in policy development, the ministry will continue to provide input to the development of accessibility standards of the AODA, until standards come into effect as regulations.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing until standards are in regulation

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Language is certainly the key to universal access.

There is currently no curriculum defining the requirements of the Langue des signes québecoise (LSQ) and therefore no set standards for the efficient learning of the language.

The ministry, in providing what is to become a curriculum for the learning of the signed language, is promoting a universal access to information by the deaf or hard-of-hearing student.

Planned Action(s):

Future actions include having the curriculum approved as an international language curriculum, thus allowing hearing students to learn the signed language.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will promote and educate teachers, parents and students on the use of Assistive Technology to support barrier-free learning environments where all students have equal access to the learning experience and the Ontario curriculum.

Planned Action(s):

The branch will:

  • continue to work with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) to develop and offer an additional qualification course for teachers on assistive technologies,
  • continue to provide workshops and in-service on assistive technology to teachers in district school boards, and
  • continue to collaborate with SNOW (Special Needs Ontario Windows) on investigating, reviewing, and sharing information on new assistive technologies and accessibility within the education sector in Ontario.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) will design an American Sign Language (ASL) curriculum to allow users whose first language is ASL to learn about their language, similar to how English first language users learn about their language in Language Arts.

Planned Action(s):

The branch will continue to work with the Curriculum and Assessment Branch in gaining approval for implementation of the Grade 10 to 12 ASL curricula.

The branch will continue to train school board personnel on the ASL curriculum.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers accessing education.

The ministry supports the Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE) and will continue to provide the minister with advice on special education matters.

Led by the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB), ministry staff will continue to support MACSE and its sub-committees to respond to ministry proposals.

Planned Action(s):

MACSE's 2010-11 areas of future consultation and advice include Funding, Transitions, Section 23, and Board Improvement Plans / School Effectiveness Framework.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may not benefit from special education programs and services if issues are not addressed in a timely and effective manner.

The ministry addressed these issues through the preparation of a resource guide and through a dispute resolution pilot.

Following recommendations made by the Working Table on Special Education, the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB) initiated a project on informal dispute resolution and mediation.

One of the deliverables included a resource guide for parents and educators.

Consultations on the guide were held with English and French-language education stakeholders.

Participants included: parents, students, educators, parent advocates and mediators.

Feedback from the sessions was incorporated into the guide, Shared Solutions, released in fall 2007, along with regional professional development sessions.

A Provincial Advisory Committee was also formed with representation from parents, students, educators and dispute resolution specialists to assist in the development of a formal dispute resolution pilot.

This pilot project started in fall 2007 in selected school boards.

Planned Action(s):

  • No future actions planned.
  • Use of Shared Solutions is ongoing.

Implementation Timeframe: Complete

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder may face barriers in the classroom if they do not receive effective support from school board staff.

To support deeper implementation of Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 140, Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the ministry will provide funding to hire additional board level ABA expertise to support principals, teachers, and multi-disciplinary transition teams.

The Ministry of Education (EDU) and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) will support the implementation of the Connections for Students model through its Collaborative Service Delivery Models (CSDM) for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Phase 2.

The Connections for Students model is centered on multi-disciplinary, student-specific, school-based transition teams that are established approximately six months before a child prepares to transition from intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) services provided through the MCYS-funded Autism Intervention Program to applied behaviour analysis (ABA) instructional methods in school.

School boards throughout the province are expected to implement the Connections for Students transition teams no later than spring 2010 for all children transitioning from intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) therapy services provided through the MCYS funded Autism Intervention Program (AIP) to ABA instructional methods in our publicly funded schools in September 2010 and thereafter.

Sixteen boards will receive funding to participate in Phase 2 of the CSDM initiative to implement the Connections model in 2009.

Planned Action(s):

Beginning March 2010, Connections for Students transition teams are available in all 72 publicly funded school boards for children who are ready to leave IBI services provided by the AIP and are starting or continuing in the publicly funded school system. To better support school boards in implementation of the Connections for Students model and assess system changes, EDU and MCYS will conduct an evaluation of the Connections for Students model province-wide implementation.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers if their learning difficulties are not identified at an early stage.

The ministry will continue to support the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO) to make the early screening and intervention tool, known as the Web Based Teaching Tool (WBTT), available to additional teachers in more school boards.

It is anticipated that the expanded use of this tool will result in earlier identification of more students' learning difficulties and greater application of instructional strategies and targeted interventions.

A new evaluation of the tool is in progress to assess its effectiveness in improving student achievement.

An evaluation of the tool was completed and showed its effectiveness in improving student achievement.

Additional features were built in 2008 to support schools in managing student information.

A School Administrator Site (SAS) has been developed, along with plans for an export function to enable school principals to view their individual student WBTT information.

In January and February 2008, over 40 school principals participated in a professional development session on the School Administrator Site in order to pilot this new WBTT site.

Planned Action(s):

Continued use of WBTT for early identification of learning difficulties.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs not accessing Ontario curriculum and not participating in Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) assessments may not reach their full education potential if appropriate assessment measures are not put in place.

The ministry, through the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB), is committed to address this issue and reach every student by supporting school boards to enhance assessment practices and identify broader measures of success.

The SEPPB conducted a survey of school boards in February 2009 on current assessment processes and methods used to report the achievement of students who do not access the Ontario curriculum and are exempted from all standardized provincial assessments.

Planned Action(s):

SEPPB is planning to:

  • Distribute provincially the resources and practices that were found through the regional projects to be effective in assessing, monitoring and reporting on the achievement of these students; and
  • Finalize provincial guidelines for school boards to assess, monitor and report on the achievement of these students.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers accessing curriculum and receiving appropriate support and services to reach their potential in learning.

The Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB) has led the development of Learning for All K-12 – a resource that is designed to share information with educators about research-informed educational approaches that have proved to be effective in Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Planned Action(s):

SEPPB is finalizing the draft in the 2010-11 school year.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers accessing a caring and safe learning environment.

The Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB) has led the development of the Caring and Safe Schools K-12 (working title) resource document.

This document is intended to provide strategies and resources to support school and system leaders in building a caring and safe culture for all students including students with special education needs.

It will assist superintendents, principals and vice-principals in their decision-making process during their implementation of school board policies and programs to meet the ministry's requirements on safe schools with respect to students with special education needs.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will continue to support the school boards in the usage of this resource.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: New

Students with special education needs may face barriers if they are not taken into account in the revision/updating of provincial special education policies and resources governing special education programs and services.

Work is underway to publish a comprehensive and integrated Special Education Guide for multiple audiences that updates information currently found in Special Education:  A Guide for Educators (2001); Individual Education Plan (IEP): A Resource Guide (2004); Transition Planning: A Resource Guide (2002); and IEP Standards for Development Program Planning and Implementation (2000).

The guide will be released in HTML, PDF and alternative formats (e.g., Braille, audio).

Planned Action(s):

Work on the Special Education Guide to continue through 2010-2011.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing to 2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: New

Students with special education needs may face barriers if they are not taken into account in the revision and/or updating of provincial special education policies and resources governing special education programs and services.

Work is underway to develop Draft Guidelines for Programs and Services for Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Students Who Are Blind/Low Vision (K-12).

Planned Action(s):

The Draft Guidelines for Programs and Services for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (K-12) were released in May 2010. Work to continue through 2010-2011.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing to 2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: New

Students with special education needs may face barriers if they are not taken into account in the Board Improvement Plans (BIP) for Student Achievement.

Processes and resources used in school boards to support the development, monitoring and implementation the K-12 BIPs for Student Achievement have recently been revised to include special education.

Planned Action(s):

To support the transition to planning processes that integrate special education planning with other board planning processes, the ministry will:

  • provide samples of improvement planning processes that include special education examples;
  • produce a DVD that demonstrates effective and inclusive planning processes;
  • provide information to boards and Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs) to support role of SEACs in planning processes related to special education;
  • monitor the integration of special education in board planning processes and BIP; and
  • consult with stakeholders including SEACs to determine further direction and resources that may be required by school boards and SEACs to support their roles in effective planning for improved achievement of students with special education needs.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing to 2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, through the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB) and the French Language Education Policy and Programs Branch (FLEPPB) will partner with postsecondary institutions to increase the supply of specialist teachers of the Deaf, the Blind, and the Deaf-Blind.

Planned Action(s):

Centre Jules-Léger has come into yet another agreement with the University of Ottawa which shall provide an on-line course for the additional qualification – Teacher for the Blind Certification.

The Provincial Schools Branch will continue to partner with postsecondary faculties of education in offering Additional Qualification courses for teaching students who are deaf, blind, and deaf/blind.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs are consistently not reaching the provincial standard on the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) provincial assessments.

An achievement gap exists between the general population of Grade 3 and 6 students and Grade 3 and 6 students with special education needs.

Providing equity of outcome for Ontario students is identified by the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat (LNS) as fundamental to improvement initiatives.

In working with school districts to improve learning and achievement of Ontario students, the LNS will identify initiatives designed to address the learning challenges of students with special education needs and other groups of students.

Although EQAO results indicate ongoing improvement, more needs to be done to support learning for students with special education needs.

Planned Action(s):

EQAO results show progress is being made, but there is still more work to be done to help students who are struggling to meet the provincial standard.

The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat (LNS) is continuing to work in partnership with school boards to raise achievement results overall and close achievement gaps.

Ongoing work with school boards to raise achievement results overall and close achievement gaps include (*subject to study of 2009-10 EQAO results):

  • Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership (funding for school boards to target areas of need, based on provincial results);
  • Schools in the Middle (funding and professional learning to raise student achievement from Level 2 to Level 3);
  • Early Primary Collaborative Inquiry (supporting our youngest learners through study of student work and targeted student support);
  • Collaborative Inquiry for Learning – Mathematics (targeted professional learning support for teaching mathematics); and
  • Student Work Study Teachers/Student Work Sample Study (personalizing instruction by studying student work samples).

For each of these areas, strategies include a focus on differentiated instruction and meeting the needs of students with special education needs.

Ontario's character development initiative supports all students, including students with special education needs. Character development is clearly evident in initiatives that address areas such as respectful and accessible workplaces, environmental awareness and protection, restorative practices, local and global health initiatives, athletic codes of conduct, student-led conferences and student leadership development.

The LNS Research Evaluation and Data Management team will continue their research in collaboration with schools and boards about personalizing instruction to maximize success for all students, including students with special education needs and students with individualized education plans.

The Student Achievement Division, the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch and the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch are partnering to develop a resource document for supporting English language learners with special education needs.

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers if they are not taken into account in the revision/updating of provincial policies governing secondary school programs and diploma requirements.

Work is underway to revise/update the provincial policies governing secondary school programs and diploma requirements, in keeping with the government's announced policy commitments for Student Success/Learning to 18 Phase 3

Similar to the current policy provisions (under "Ontario Secondary Schools"), the revised/updated policies will apply to all students in secondary schools, including those with special education needs.

The revision process includes an inter-branch steering committee overseeing the work, with representation on the committee by the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch (SEPPB).

Planned Action(s):

  • Release of the Ontario Schools document is scheduled for spring 2011.
  • SEPPB representation to be continued.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students who leave school after age 18 without a secondary school diploma may not receive positive recognition for the achievements they accomplished.

Some students with special education needs, who are not working toward or are unlikely to achieve the requirements for the secondary school diploma, also may not receive recognition.

The ministry is committed to creating a new Provincial Skills Certificate in order to give positive recognition for achievements to the small number of students not working toward, or unlikely to achieve the requirements for the secondary school diploma.

Under the direction of the Student Success/Learning to 18 Strategic Policy Branch (SSL18SPB), this design and development work will be undertaken in consultation with key stakeholders in the special education community, and with full consideration given to respecting and meeting the needs of students with special education needs, consistent with provincial policies governing special education and the provisions of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Planned Action(s):

Up to three pilots to be conducted in Supervised Alternative Learning programs to test other approaches to supporting and tracking skills development with students at high risk of not graduating with a high school diploma.

Implementation Timeframe: ;Ongoing from 2010

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

In 2009-10, 7,500 senior students in secondary schools were involved in dual credit programs in partnership with 24 colleges – a key component of the Student Success/Learning to 18 Strategy.

Dual credit programs are aimed at Grade 11 and 12 students and provide new and varied learning opportunities, that is, courses that interest students who are disengaged or who may be at risk of not graduating.

The target group includes students who are disengaged and/or underachieving, and in the past has included a higher proportion of students with special education needs than are in the general school population.

Planned Action(s):

  • Refinement of data collection and deeper analysis to ensure that Dual Credit Programs remain focused on the needs of the primary target group.
  • Increased opportunities for boards and colleges to network and share exemplary practices

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry is approving and providing funding for an expanded number of Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) in 2010-11, the fifth year since SHSMs were launched in 2006-07.

Approved SHSM programs must include all four pathways – apprenticeship, college, university and workplace.

Students with disabilities may be enrolled in SHSMs if the program meets their interests and abilities.

As part of the SHSM implementation, boards and schools are required to consider accommodations and/or modifications for students with special education needs, including appropriate supports and preparation for students participating in experiential learning work placements.

SHSM programs will be available in all boards with a secondary school, but not in all schools.

Since 2008-09, E.C. Drury Provincial School for the Deaf has been offering an SHSM in Arts and Culture.

Planned Action(s):

  • Implementation of the Hospitality SHSM will occur in September 2010.
  • The SHSM in Arts and Culture will continue to be offered.
  • Data will be analyzed by boards to determine rate of participation in SHSMs of students with IEPs and address barriers.

Implementation Timeframe: 2010-2011

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Students with special education needs may face barriers that prevent them from fully participating in Student Success/Learning to 18 initiatives.

All Student Success/Learning to 18 implementation and training initiatives will continue to be designed and planned to support the diversity of all students in Ontario schools, including those with special education needs.

Planned Action(s):

French Language Education Policy and Programs Branch will continue to monitor the inclusion of programmes and services for students with special needs in board improvement plans.

The Student Achievement Division, the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch and the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch are partnering to develop a resource document for supporting English language learners with special education needs.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry will continue to support embedding the principles of equity and inclusive education into its programs and initiatives.

Within the sector, the ministry will continue to support removing systemic barriers and discriminatory biases as a means of supporting student achievement and to help close the gap.

School boards are to adhere to ODA, as stated in the Policy/Program Memorandum 119 (2009).

Planned Action(s):

  • Continue work to implement the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy in collaboration with partners inside and outside the OPS, networks and school boards;
  • Continue to collaborate with partners to provide capacity-building in the ministry, boards and schools through training, development of resources, workshops, modules and professional learning conferences;
  • Deliver province-wide conference in 2011.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The Teaching Policy and Standards Branch will work with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) on their ongoing review of the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, to ensure that the terminology used in the act and regulation reflects current and acceptable language related to people with disabilities.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will continue to work with the OCT to ensure that any revisions made as part of their ongoing review of the act and regulations reflect current and acceptable language related to people with disabilities.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

Information technology goods and services (hardware/software) may pose barriers if there are no processes to check for ODA compliance.

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch of the Learning Ministries will continue its commitment to OPS procurement guidelines to ensure that accessibility has been considered in the procurement of goods and services.

Planned Action(s):

The Technology and Business Solutions Branch will continue its commitment to update and apply the AODA Procurement Requirements Checklist in developing business solutions.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing

Focus Area: Other

Commitment: Ongoing

The ministry, led by the Corporate Finance and Services Branch, will continue to adhere to the guidelines for procurement of accessible goods and services.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will re-issue the guidelines for procurement of accessible goods and services to staff.

Implementation Timeframe: November 2010 – October 2011


Act(s), Regulation(s), Policy(s) being reviewed to prevent Barriers to Persons with Disabilities

In support of the commitment to remove and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities, the Government of Ontario will continue to review all new legislation, and policies under development to identify and remove barriers.

Focus Area: Acts, Regulations and Policies

Commitment: New

Barriers for persons with disabilities may inadvertently be created when developing/revising ministry policies, programs and legislation/regulations. The ministry will identify/remove/prevent potential barriers for persons with disabilities during development/revision of ministry policies, programs and legislation/regulations.

Planned Action(s):

The ministry will utilize tools (such as the Inclusion Lens developed by the OPS Diversity Office) when appropriate, to create more accessible policies, programs and legislation.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing from January 2011

Focus Area: Acts, Regulations, Policies

Commitment: Ongoing

The Legal Services Branch in the ministry commits to assess any new acts or regulations to ensure that they are compliant with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001.

Planned Action(s):

New legislation will continue to be reviewed.

Implementation Timeframe: Ongoing


Glossary of Terms/Acronyms

AODAAccessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

EDU – Ministry of Education

ODAOntarians with Disabilities Act

OPS – Ontario Public Service


For More Information

Questions or comments about the ministry's accessibility plan are always welcome.

Please phone:

General inquiry number: 416-325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514

TTY number: 1-800-268-7095

1-800 number: 1-800-387-5514

E-mail: info@edu.gov.on.ca

Ministry website address: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca

Visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services Accessibility Ontario web portal. The site promotes accessibility and provides information and resources on how to make Ontario an accessible province for everyone.

Alternate formats of this document are available free upon request from:

ServiceOntario Publications
Phone: 1-800-668-9938
TTY: 1-800-268-7095

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ISSN #1708-4598