Curriculum Based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instruction


Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for curriculum based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and differentiated instruction.

Curriculum Based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Differentiated Instruction

The Committee recommends that all teachers should know and use the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). In other words, teachers’ colleges should train teachers on the three principles, which involve multiple means of:

Teachers should know how to apply these principles in their classrooms, to instruct and assess their students in a variety of ways.

Moreover, teachers’ colleges should also provide training in differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction means teaching course content in different ways, to reach students with various strengths and needs. For instance, teachers can impart course content using a mixture of:

Similarly, teachers can assess students in many ways, including:

  • Tests with different question types
  • Individual and group assignments
  • Written essays or oral presentations

Therefore, teachers should receive training on how to use differentiated instruction when creating tests, such as:

  • Diagnostic assessments, to find out students’ prior knowledge
  • Formative assessments, in the middle of a unit or course
  • Summative assessments, at the end of a unit or course

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, school boards, and schools should also ensure that teachers are using these principles as they plan and teach lessons. Therefore, current teachers should also receive professional development training on both UDL and differentiated instruction. For example, teachers should know how to procure learning resources that the widest variety of students can access.

Finally, educational leaders at all levels should support the implementation of UDL and differentiated instruction approaches within their schools or school boards. Processes to assess and monitor these approaches will help teachers use instructional strategies that benefit more of their students.




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Accessible Indigenous Education


Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for accessible indigenous education.

Accessible Indigenous Education

The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Education carry out its Indigenous education strategy. This strategy aims to create more opportunities for students who are First Nation, Metis, and Inuit. Some of these First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students have disabilities. In addition, the strategy aims to raise awareness about Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing. Some of the non-Indigenous students who will benefit from this learning also have disabilities. Therefore, the education of Indigenous students, and curriculum about Indigenous cultures, should be accessible.

For example, programs to impart Indigenous histories, teachings, languages, cultures, and perspectives should be created and taught in ways that reach the widest variety of students. Likewise, these programs should include accessible and fair ways of assessing the knowledge students have gained. Similarly, programs should be culturally responsive and allow for personalized learning.

Finally, the Committee recommends that the Ministry and school boards should consider the well-being of Indigenous students with disabilities in a wholistic way. Indigenous ways of knowing recognize the importance of many aspects of a person, including:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

Curriculum, teaching, and assessments should concentrate on supporting each student as a whole person.

For instance, a student may be succeeding academically, but struggling socially due to attitudinal barriers among classmates. School staff should understand that the student’s social development is important for reaching their full potential, and may also enhance their academic prospects. As a result, instruction and assessment should address not only academic success, but also social and emotional growth. For instance, teaching all students to overcome attitudinal barriers and practice social inclusion will benefit every student.




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Insurers are Denying Long-Term Disability Benefits to Those Afflicted with Long COVID. Here’s How to Fight Back


Howard Levitt: It can be difficult for Long-COVID sufferers to prove they are sick Author of the article:Howard Levitt
Publishing date:Sep 28, 2021

As long as the symptoms experienced by a long-hauler meet the definition of disability, as set out in the policy, and there is medical evidence to support this, insurance payouts should be guaranteed. By Howard Levitt and Rob Lilly

With the ongoing success of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination program and green shoots of normality appearing, hope burgeoned that life pre-pandemic was set to resume.

The reopening of global travel and other harbingers of a return to pre-COVID-19 conditions had many breathing a sigh of relief. The worst of the pandemic appeared over. Yet here we are in the fourth wave. The highly contagious Delta variant is causing case numbers to surge higher than ever before in some parts of Canada. And the spectre of new mutations is adding to the collective anxiety.

While it is true that today the majority of those becoming infected with the virus are unvaccinated, this is not a concern solely for anti-vaxxers. It affects us all. Studies have shown that “breakthrough” infections (when people who are vaccinated contract the virus) are transmissible to others.

The threat of becoming ill with COVID-19 is frightening enough. We are seeing cases where the symptoms are enduring for months. Many Canadians despair of ever regaining the lives they lived before contracting COVID-19.

The condition of experiencing ongoing, or new, symptoms for weeks or months after contracting the virus is called post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, more commonly known as “Long COVID.” For those with Long COVID, known as “long-haulers,” the nightmare continues. They face uncertainty about their long-term health prospects and concomitant complications in their day-to-day life. According to the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, roughly 10 per cent of those who become infected with the virus become long-haulers.

There are over 200 reported symptoms of Long COVID. Those most commonly reported include: cognitive dysfunction, often called “brain fog,” which includes memory and concentration problems, anxiety, dizziness, depression, fatigue, aches and pains, coughing and difficulty breathing, and heart palpitations.

A pan-Canadian survey of more than 1,000 long-haulers, carried out in May 2021, found cognitive impairment to be one of the most widely reported and enduring symptoms. Almost half of the respondents experienced symptoms for 11 months or longer.

This has a substantial impact on employment.

Many long-haulers, including those who contracted the virus in the first wave over 18 months ago remain unable to return to work in the same capacity as before they became ill.

An article published in the weekly peer-reviewed medical journal Lancet in July 2021 analyzed the responses of 3,762 long-haulers from 56 countries. Only 27.3 per cent of those who were working before contracting COVID-19 were working as many hours as they had worked before they became ill. At the close of the study, many remained unable to return to work in any capacity.

For these long-haulers, the stress of the uncertainty as to their long-term health prospects is likely compounded by the stress of financial uncertainty. Studies have shown that the physical and mental stress of returning to work before one feels able can cause a relapse, or onset of new symptoms. Likely meaning more time off work. This is where disability benefits can offer relief, allowing long-haulers the crucial time and financial security to concentrate on getting better. When short-term disability benefits run out, long-haulers who are covered by their employer’s group insurance plan should apply for long-term disability benefits.

While insurance policies vary, generally speaking, LTD benefits replace 60-70 per cent of salary and can continue up to age 65.

Insurance companies look for any way they can to deny or cut short a claim: that is how they make money. In the case of COVID-related disability claims, insurers are frequently denying claims due to insufficient medical evidence, for example, the lack of a positive COVID-19 test.

Many long-haulers lack a positive test to produce as evidence. Tests were not widely available in the early days of the pandemic. Some who caught the virus from a member of their household who received a positive test often weren’t given tests themselves, as it was simply assumed they had it as well. Some were asymptomatic and didn’t even realize they had the virus. Although long COVID is a newly recognized syndrome without a universally agreed definition or defined group of symptoms, these are not legitimate reasons to deny or cut short an LTD claim.

Additionally, because many of the symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and depression are “invisible” or subjective symptoms, it can be difficult for long-haulers to “prove” they are as sick as they truly are. Insurance companies take advantage of this. A disability lawyer will know how to meet and defeat the arguments insurers put forward in this regard.

As long as the symptoms experienced by a long-hauler meet the definition of disability, as set out in the policy, and there is medical evidence to support this, payouts should be guaranteed. After all, this is the reason employees pay premiums. Yet, in spite of this, insurance companies continue to deny Long COVID disability claims.

The definition of disabled varies from policy to policy. Generally, for the first two years, an employee must be unable to work in his or her own occupation. After this, and potentially up to age 65, an employee must be unable to work in any occupation.

This “own occupation” definition in the first two years means the inability to perform the essential tasks of the original job, or a similar job.

The “any occupation” definition thereafter does not literally mean any occupation. An architect does not need to show she or he is unable to wait tables, but rather that they are unable to perform the main tasks of any job that they are reasonably suited given their experience, education, training and other individual characteristics.

An experienced disability lawyer can decipher the nuances of an individual policy as well as gather the necessary medical evidence needed to make a successful challenge to a denial of or premature termination of LTD.

Employers should encourage high earning employees (if not all employees) to obtain independent legal advice on their contracts as it offers added protection to both.

Long COVID’s reach and effects should not be underestimated. The growing recognition of the syndrome and the establishment of post-COVID recovery clinics have increasing numbers of long-haulers coming forward. The number of Canadians currently suffering from long COVID is estimated at 150,000. That is a conservative estimate. In Ontario alone, there are between 57,000 and 78,000 people enduring lingering symptoms.

With research into Long COVID still in its infancy, long-haulers have more questions than answers when it comes to their long-term health prospects. With no guarantee of light at the end of the tunnel, LTD benefits remove financial uncertainty from the equation, giving those afflicted some much needed time and peace of mind to focus on recovery.

Got a question about employment law during COVID-19? Write to Howard at [email protected]

Howard Levitt is senior partner of Levitt Sheikh, employment and labour lawyers with offices in Toronto and Hamilton. He practices employment law in eight provinces. He is the author of six books including the Law of Dismissal in Canada. Rob Lilly is with Levitt Sheikh.

Original at https://financialpost.com/fp-work/insurers-are-denying-long-term-disability-benefits-to-those-afflicted-with-long-covid-heres-how-to-fight-back




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Accessible Learning Resources


Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for accessible learning resources.

Accessible Learning Resources

Students with disabilities should be able to access all learning resources that are available to their non-disabled classmates, including:

  • Textbooks
  • Handouts
  • Videos
  • Diagrams
  • Maps

Similarly, all students should have access to the audio and visual contents of lessons. Moreover, this equal access should happen in a timely manner. Otherwise, students who receive resources later will have less time to learn, complete assignments, and study for tests.

For instance, the Ministry of Education should ensure that any learning resources it procures from third parties are accessible. In other words, it should be the supplier’s responsibility to make resources accessible. If a resource is not accessible, the Ministry should not use the resource in its schools.

For example, any videos that a teacher shows in class should include closed captioning and audio description. These communication supports have the potential to help many students, including students who are:

  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • English language learners
  • Blind or visually impaired

Therefore, teachers should only show videos if they include captions and audio description.

Likewise, all students should be able to access their textbooks in a timely manner. Therefore, the Ministry of Education should require textbook publishers to produce books in accessible formats, or formats that are conversion-ready. For example, accessible digital versions of textbooks, such as Microsoft Word files, should be available at the same time as hard-copy print textbooks. School boards can easily convert these files into other accessible formats, such as Braille text with tactile diagrams and maps. School boards should only use textbooks if their publishers can provide accessible or conversion-ready formats.

In short, school boards should have procedures to procure learning resources that are fully accessible to all their students. Furthermore, school boards should share resources, so that students throughout the province have timely access to learning materials.

Accessible Online Learning

Similarly, learning resources available online should also be fully accessible. School boards should only use online learning platforms that comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. Moreover, online curriculum should be delivered in ways that meet the needs of students with a variety of disabilities. For instance, students should be able to access online lessons, assessments, and discussion forums using assistive technology, such as:

  • Speech recognition
  • Screen reading or screen magnification software
  • Input devices other than a mouse

Flexible strategies for online instruction will enable more students to learn, and to build their school community at a distance.

Student Self-Assessment

In addition, the Committee recommends that students should learn to assess how accessible their learning is. When students understand how to explain what accessible learning methods work best for them, they can provide vital feedback for teachers and other school staff. If students alert staff when they find lessons or resources inaccessible, staff can find alternative teaching techniques.




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Today 10 AM Court Virtual Hearing Livestream: Blind Disability Advocate David Lepofsky Argues Disability Rights Case Against Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27, 2021 Toronto: Today at 10 a.m., the Divisional Court of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice will hold a public virtual hearing for the oral argument of a case brought by blind lawyer, law professor, and volunteer disability rights advocate David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance, against Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, the Honourable Raymond Cho. In Lepofsky v, Cho, Lepofsky asks the Court to issue a declaration that Minister Cho violated section 10(1) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This is the first time anyone has gone to court to contest the sufficiency of the Ontario Government’s implementation of the AODA, and to get a judicial interpretation of the AODA.

The case is scheduled for about two hours. It will be livestreamed to the public on Youtube at https://youtu.be/LuD6fKu0dlE

As far as is now known, it will only be available online for livestreaming in real time.

The AODA requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to 2.6 million people with disabilities by 2025. The Government must create, enact and effectively enforce a series of regulations, called accessibility standards, that spell out what organizations must do to become accessible to people with disabilities, and by when. The Government must appoint a series of committees, called Standards Development Committees, to advise on what those regulations should include.

According to section 10 of the AODA, when an advisory Standards Development Committee submits initial recommendations to the Minister, the Minister is required to make those recommendations public upon receiving them, e.g., by posting them on the Government’s website. Yet the Ford Government failed to do so for months in the case of three sets of such initial recommendations.

The Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Ford Government back on December 3, 2020. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee submitted their respective initial recommendations to the Government on March 12, 2021. The Government appointed those Committees to advise on the disability barriers that impede patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system, and the disability barriers obstructing students with disabilities in Ontario’s schools, colleges and universities.

Mr. Lepofsky submits that the Minister contravened the AODA by withholding those sets of recommendations from the public for five months, three and a half months, and two and a half months, respectively. The Minister denies he violated the AODA.

When Mr. Lepofsky filed this application on May 7, 2021, none of the three sets of advisory recommendations had been made public. Over the intervening time since then, the Minister eventually made them all public. Lepofsky argues that the minister’s delay in doing so contravened the law and hurt people with disabilities by further delaying progress towards making Ontario accessible.

Mr. Lepofsky’s original court application was made public on May 7, 2021 at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/disability-rights-advocate-launches-court-application-against-the-ford-government-for-violating-the-accessibility-for-ontarians-with-disabilities-act/ Since May 7, 2021, all parties to this case have filed additional evidence and other legal documents with the Court.

David Lepofsky will present his own argument. He has been assisted on a pro bono basis by Martha McCarthy and Richard Glennie of McCarthy Hansen & Company LLP. The Minister will be represented by the Crown Law Office Civil of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The Court granted leave to Citizens with Disabilities Ontario to intervene in the case. CWDO is supporting David Lepofsky’s position, and will be represented at the hearing by ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Mr. Lepofsky and the AODA Alliance will not be making any public comment about the case before oral argument is completed today. Contact: [email protected]

We have been advised that section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act makes it an offence to take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, audio recording of a court proceeding,

More background at https://www.aodaalliance.org/category/whats-new/ and on Twitter @aodaalliance




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Blind Disability Advocate David Lepofsky Argues Disability Rights Case Against Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho – AODA Alliance


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today 10 AM Court Virtual Hearing Livestream: Blind Disability Advocate David Lepofsky Argues Disability Rights Case Against Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho

September 27, 2021 Toronto: Today at 10 a.m., the Divisional Court of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice will hold a public virtual hearing for the oral argument of a case brought by blind lawyer, law professor, and volunteer disability rights advocate David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance, against Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, the Honourable Raymond Cho. In Lepofsky v, Cho, Lepofsky asks the Court to issue a declaration that Minister Cho violated section 10(1) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This is the first time anyone has gone to court to contest the sufficiency of the Ontario Government’s implementation of the AODA, and to get a judicial interpretation of the AODA.

The case is scheduled for about two hours. It will be livestreamed to the public on Youtube at https://youtu.be/LuD6fKu0dlE

As far as is now known, it will only be available online for livestreaming in real time.

The AODA requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to 2.6 million people with disabilities by 2025. The Government must create, enact and effectively enforce a series of regulations, called accessibility standards, that spell out what organizations must do to become accessible to people with disabilities, and by when. The Government must appoint a series of committees, called Standards Development Committees, to advise on what those regulations should include.

According to section 10 of the AODA, when an advisory Standards Development Committee submits initial recommendations to the Minister, the Minister is required to make those recommendations public upon receiving them, e.g., by posting them on the Government’s website. Yet the Ford Government failed to do so for months in the case of three sets of such initial recommendations.

The Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Ford Government back on December 3, 2020. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee submitted their respective initial recommendations to the Government on March 12, 2021. The Government appointed those Committees to advise on the disability barriers that impede patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system, and the disability barriers obstructing students with disabilities in Ontario’s schools, colleges and universities.

Mr. Lepofsky submits that the Minister contravened the AODA by withholding those sets of recommendations from the public for five months, three and a half months, and two and a half months, respectively. The Minister denies he violated the AODA.

When Mr. Lepofsky filed this application on May 7, 2021, none of the three sets of advisory recommendations had been made public. Over the intervening time since then, the Minister eventually made them all public. Lepofsky argues that the minister’s delay in doing so contravened the law and hurt people with disabilities by further delaying progress towards making Ontario accessible.

Mr. Lepofsky’s original court application was made public on May 7, 2021 at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/disability-rights-advocate-launches-court-application-against-the-ford-government-for-violating-the-accessibility-for-ontarians-with-disabilities-act/

Since May 7, 2021, all parties to this case have filed additional evidence and other legal documents with the Court.

David Lepofsky will present his own argument. He has been assisted on a pro bono basis by Martha McCarthy and Richard Glennie of McCarthy Hansen & Company LLP. The Minister will be represented by the Crown Law Office Civil of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The Court granted leave to Citizens with Disabilities Ontario to intervene in the case. CWDO is supporting David Lepofsky’s position, and will be represented at the hearing by ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Mr. Lepofsky and the AODA Alliance will not be making any public comment about the case before oral argument is completed today.

Contact: [email protected]

We have been advised that section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act makes it an offence to take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, audio recording of a court proceeding,

More background at https://www.aodaalliance.org/category/whats-new/ and on Twitter @aodaalliance



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AODA Alliance: Monday September 27, 2021 10 AM Court Virtual Hearing


Livestream: Blind Disability Advocate David Lepofsky Argues Disability Rights Case Against Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho

ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

View this online, originally posted at https://www.aodaalliance.org/healthcare/

September 24, 2021 Toronto: On Monday, September 27, 2021 at 10 a.m., the Divisional Court of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice will hold a public virtual hearing for the oral argument of a case brought by blind lawyer, law professor, and volunteer disability rights advocate David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance, against Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, the Honourable Raymond Cho. In Lepofsky v, Cho,. Lepofsky asks the Court to issue a declaration that Minister Cho violated section 10(1) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This is the first time someone has gone to court to contest the sufficiency of the Ontario Government’s implementation of the AODA, and to get a judicial interpretation of the AODA.

The case is scheduled for about two hours. It will be livestreamed to the public on Youtube at https://youtu.be/LuD6fKu0dlE As far as is now known, it will only be available online for livestreaming in real time.

The AODA requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to 2.6 million people with disabilities by 2025. The Government must create, enact and effectively enforce a series of regulations, called accessibility standards, that spell out what organizations must do to become accessible to people with disabilities, and by when. The Government must appoint a series of committees, called Standards Development Committees, to advise on what those regulations should include.

According to section 10 of the AODA, when an advisory Standards Development Committee submits initial recommendations to the Minister, the Minister is required to make those recommendations public upon receiving them, e.g. by posting them on the Government’s website. Yet the Ford Government failed to do so for months in the case of three sets of such initial recommendations.

The Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Ford Government back on December 3, 2020. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee submitted their respective initial recommendations to the Government on March 12, 2021. The Government appointed those Committees to advise on the disability barriers that impede patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system, and the disability barriers obstructing students with disabilities in Ontario’s schools, colleges and universities.

Mr. Lepofsky submits that the Minister contravened the AODA by failing to publicly post those sets of recommendations for five months, three and a half months, and two and a half months, respectively. The Minister denies he violated the AODA.

When Mr. Lepofsky filed this application on May 7, 2021, none of the three sets of advisory recommendations had been made public. Over the intervening time since then, the Minister eventually made them all public. Lepofsky argues that the minister’s delay in doing so contravened the law and hurt people with disabilities by further delaying progress towards making Ontario accessible.

Mr. Lepofsky’s original court application was made public on May 7, 2021 at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/disability-rights-advocate-launches-court-application-against-the-ford-government-for-violating-the-accessibility-for-ontarians-with-disabilities-act/ Since May 7, 2021 all parties to this case have filed additional evidence and other legal documents with the Court.

David Lepofsky will present his own argument. He has been assisted on a pro bono basis by Martha McCarthy and Richard Glennie of McCarthy Hansen & Company LLP. The Minister will be represented by the Crown Law Office Civil of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The Court granted leave to Citizens with Disabilities Ontario to intervene in the case. CWDO is supporting David Lepofsky’s position, and will be represented at the hearing by ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Apart from announcing the forthcoming hearing, Mr. Lepofsky and the AODA Alliance will not be making any public comment about the case before oral argument is completed on Monday. Contact: [email protected]

We have been advised that section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act makes it an offence to take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, audio recording of a court proceeding,

More background at https://www.aodaalliance.org/category/whats-new/ and on Twitter @aodaalliance




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Blind Disability Advocate David Lepofsky Argues Disability Rights Case Against Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho – AODA Alliance


ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday September 27, 2021 10 AM Court Virtual Hearing Livestream: Blind Disability Advocate David Lepofsky Argues Disability Rights Case Against Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho

September 24, 2021 Toronto: On Monday, September 29, 2021 at 10 a.m., the Divisional Court of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice will hold a public virtual hearing for the oral argument of a case brought by blind lawyer, law professor, and volunteer disability rights advocate David Lepofsky, chair of the AODA Alliance, against Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, the Honourable Raymond Cho. In Lepofsky v, Cho,. Lepofsky asks the Court to issue a declaration that Minister Cho violated section 10(1) of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This is the first time someone has gone to court to contest the sufficiency of the Ontario Government’s implementation of the AODA, and to get a judicial interpretation of the AODA.

The case is scheduled for about two hours. It will be livestreamed to the public on Youtube at https://youtu.be/LuD6fKu0dlE As far as is now known, it will only be available online for livestreaming in real time.

The AODA requires the Ontario Government to lead Ontario to become accessible to 2.6 million people with disabilities by 2025. The Government must create, enact and effectively enforce a series of regulations, called accessibility standards, that spell out what organizations must do to become accessible to people with disabilities, and by when. The Government must appoint a series of committees, called Standards Development Committees, to advise on what those regulations should include.

According to section 10 of the AODA, when an advisory Standards Development Committee submits initial recommendations to the Minister, the Minister is required to make those recommendations public upon receiving them, e.g. by posting them on the Government’s website. Yet the Ford Government failed to do so for months in the case of three sets of such initial recommendations.

The Health Care Standards Development Committee submitted its initial recommendations to the Ford Government back on December 3, 2020. The K-12 Education Standards Development Committee and the Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee submitted their respective initial recommendations to the Government on March 12, 2021. The Government appointed those Committees to advise on the disability barriers that impede patients with disabilities in Ontario’s health care system, and the disability barriers obstructing students with disabilities in Ontario’s schools, colleges and universities.

Mr. Lepofsky submits that the Minister contravened the AODA by failing to publicly post those sets of recommendations for five months, three and a half months, and two and a half months, respectively. The Minister denies he violated the AODA.

When Mr. Lepofsky filed this application on May 7, 2021, none of the three sets of advisory recommendations had been made public. Over the intervening time since then, the Minister eventually made them all public. Lepofsky argues that the minister’s delay in doing so contravened the law and hurt people with disabilities by further delaying progress towards making Ontario accessible.

Mr. Lepofsky’s original court application was made public on May 7, 2021 at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/disability-rights-advocate-launches-court-application-against-the-ford-government-for-violating-the-accessibility-for-ontarians-with-disabilities-act/

Since May 7, 2021 all parties to this case have filed additional evidence and other legal documents with the Court.

David Lepofsky will present his own argument. He has been assisted on a pro bono basis by Martha McCarthy and Richard Glennie of McCarthy Hansen & Company LLP. The Minister will be represented by the Crown Law Office Civil of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The Court granted leave to Citizens with Disabilities Ontario to intervene in the case. CWDO is supporting David Lepofsky’s position, and will be represented at the hearing by ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Apart from announcing the forthcoming hearing, Mr. Lepofsky and the AODA Alliance will not be making any public comment about the case before oral argument is completed on Monday.

Contact: [email protected]

We have been advised that section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act makes it an offence to take or attempt to take a photograph, motion picture, audio recording of a court proceeding,

More background at https://www.aodaalliance.org/category/whats-new/ and on Twitter @aodaalliance



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Creating a Barrier-Free Curriculum for Students of All Abilities and Cultures


Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In this article, we outline recommended guidelines for creating a barrier-free curriculum for students of all abilities and cultures.

Creating a Barrier-Free Curriculum for Students of All Abilities and Cultures

Students should be able to connect their learning in school to experiences in their homes and communities. In other words, curriculum should be responsive to the variety of cultures that students come from. Likewise, the curriculum should also be accessible and without barriers for students with disabilities. Therefore, the Committee recommends guidelines for curriculum planning and review, to identify, remove, and prevent cultural and accessibility barriers.

When the Ministry of Education and school boards design curriculum, they should use Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, including multiple means of:

Planning different ways for students to access instruction and assessments will reduce many of the barriers to information and technology that students experience.

Similarly, when the Ministry of Education reviews existing curriculum, that curriculum should be fully accessible. Therefore, the Ministry should appoint an officer responsible for ensuring that all Ontario curriculum becomes accessible upon review. Moreover, the officer must also ensure that any resources the Ministry provides to school boards are also barrier-free. Furthermore, the Ministry must develop a strategy and action plan to verify that reviews of accessibility will happen regularly. The Ministry should also notify the public about the results of these regular reviews.

In addition, the Ministry should create guidelines and resources on how to design curriculum to be barrier-free. These resources should also address how to adapt curriculum to meet students’ individual accommodation needs. Likewise, guidelines should also advise school boards on how to review their local curriculum. These reviews, like the Ministry’s regular reviews, should be available to the public. Finally, more guidelines should ensure that each teacher knows how to design their lessons in ways that students of all abilities and cultures can access.

Focus Areas of a Barrier-Free Curriculum

The Committee also lists specific areas that the Ministry should focus on when they create and review curriculum to remove barriers. Some of these areas are:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • The arts
  • Math

The Ministry should also remove barriers from alternative or expanded curricula for students with disabilities. These alternative curricula teach students disability-specific skills. For example, students who are blind may have lessons in orientation and mobility (O and M), to learn to use a white cane safely. Similarly, other students may receive lessons in life skills, such as shopping or budgeting, that non-disabled students learn outside of school. All these curricula must be accessible for students of all abilities.

Students should also have the chance to learn about a variety of cultures, histories, and perspectives, through many subjects. Moreover, they may communicate in diverse ways, such as:

  • Non-verbal communication
  • Sign languages, such as American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Indigenous languages

Furthermore, students should also learn about the diverse identities that they and others hold. In addition, students should learn that these identities intersect, and that people with disabilities may also hold other marginalized identities, such as people of colour. As such, students should learn in school about concepts like anti-Black racism. Likewise, they should learn about Indigenous ways of knowing. In addition, students should learn about current and growing avenues of knowledge, such as digital literacy. Similarly, students should learn financial literacy in school. Moreover, all students should have the chance to gain employment skills, through job placements. Finally, all students should receive lessons to develop their skills in executive functioning, such as:

  • Self-regulation of their emotions and their bodies
  • Self-monitoring
  • Working memory
  • Planning and organizing tasks

All these focus areas will give students an education that will help them succeed as well-rounded, culturally-aware adults.




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