Responding to Dismissal Applications

Broe v. Board of Education of School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha)
and another, 2023 BCHRT 157

There was a case posted today that I thought discussed dismissals in a very informative way. Anyone who is self-representing and needs to respond to a dismissal application must be aware of how they need to meet the criteria so that their case can continue through the tribunal process and not be dismissed.

In the case Broe v. Board of Education of School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha) and another, 2023 BCHRT 157, I find the following paragraphs to be very helpful. The written decision has cases attached for you to review as part of the decision to cite if necessary in your argument and to understand further. I have linked the cases for convenience.

There is legal language in these descriptions that you might have to do your own research on if you do not have a law background.

YouTube videos I find are the most accessible as they are aimed at teaching people who are not lawyers how to understand law. If one video doesn’t tickel your fancy, keep up the search. There are a TON of them out there.

From the case:

[4] The issue before me is whether there is no reasonable prospect Ms. Broe will be successful at a hearing…

[35] On such an application, the respondent has the burden to show the complaint has no reasonable prospect of success. The complainant must only put evidence before the Tribunal that takes the complaint out of the realm of conjecture. This is not a high bar: Ritchie v. Central Okanagan Search and Rescue Society and others, 2016 BCHRT 110 at para 118.

[36] In considering applications under s. 27(1)(c), the Tribunal considers the entirety of the materials filed by the parties to determine if the complaint has no reasonable prospect of success. The test requires more than a mere chance the complaint will succeed: Wickham and Wickham v. Mesa Contemporary Folk Art and others, 2004 BCHRT 134 at para. 12.

[37] In order to succeed at a hearing, Ms. Broe must demonstrate she has a protected characteristic; that she experienced an adverse impact in relation to her employment; and that there was a nexus between that protected characteristic and the adverse impact alleged: Moore v. British Columbia, 2012 SCC 61 at para. 33.

[38] To establish a justification defence at a hearing, the Respondents must show they adopted a standard in good faith for a purpose rationally connected to the performance of the job and that it would have been an undue hardship to accommodate Ms. Broe: British Columbia

I also highly recommend you visit the Leading Cases page on the Tribunal’s website which lists leading cases depending on the reason for the dismissal application.

Late filing – Timeliness of Complaint

This is a decision from the Human Rights Tribunal, posted in the September category for 2023.

The complainant filed the human rights complaint after the one-year deadline. These applications for late filing are very rarely accepted, and this case was accepted.

It’s also notable because it involves accessibility issues for a disabled student in a post-secondary school. This case was considered novel because the student is autistic. See paragraph 44 for details.

Here is the case and I have selected a few paragraphs from the main case.

Schulz v. Camosun College, 2023 BCHRT 142

[6] Millie Schulz has multiple mental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder [ASD], attention deficit disorder [ADD], and post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD].

[16] On January 4, 2021, Millie Schulz sent a letter to the College dropping out the MHA program. After noting their issues and barriers, they said they did not feel supported in their classes with CAL, which was only looking out the College’s interests.

[37] Where the delay is due to a disabling condition, the Tribunal has observed that it may be in the public interest to accept a late-filed complaint: MacAlpine v. Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, 2011 BCHRT 29 at para. 42. Disabling conditions can include physical and mental ailments resulting in great difficulty coping with even the basic daily tasks of life: Naziel-Wilson v. Providence Health Care and another, 2014 BCHRT 170 at para. 21

[42] Millie Schulz argues their case is unique as it involves a complainant with ASD. While the Tribunal has addressed mental health discrimination in the provision of services, it has not addressed many of the issues impacting individuals with ASD, and their need for accommodation, especially in a school or employment setting. They cite one Tribunal case dealing with autism from 2011, which points out that the nature of adult autism and how it manifests itself in the workplace is poorly understood, and individuals with this disability are subject to stigma and stereotyping: Noriega v. B. C. (Min. of Children and Family Development), 2011 BCHRT 199 at para 28.

[44] While appreciating this case is quite common in terms of the Tribunal dealing with the accommodation of a student with mental disabilities in a post-secondary setting, I find that the 12 subject matter of accommodating autism, in particular ASD, is sufficiently unique to attract some public interest in allowing the complaint to proceed late filed.

[45] After weighing all the factors, I have decided it is in the public interest to accept this late-filed complaint. While appreciating a significant delay in filing occurred, this factor is outweighed by the reasons for delay associated with Millie Schulz’s mental disabilities and the novelty of the case. It is now necessary to address the issue of whether any substantial prejudice would result. C. Substantial Prejudice

Human Rights in Education

Depending on how the previous years have gone, thinking about the next school year can certainly trigger our own internal alarm systems. Fighting for inclusion, a fair and equitable education, and one that is free from discrimination for our children, can be challenging at times. It can feel like the system is against us. Remember that there are pockets of positivity and support that also exist. Knowing your rights and the rights of your child is especially empowering and can help reduce some of the anxiety.

 Inclusion seems to be happening on an individual level by luck and chance around our province, and not systemically. We are all crossing our fingers that our kids win the ‘lottery’ and get placed in the classes of those amazing teachers who just “get it”. 

But we don’t need to just hope to survive the year based on luck. 

Understanding your child’s human rights in the education system and advocating with those in mind is an extremely powerful approach. The more you understand how the duty to accommodate applies to your child in school, the stronger your advocacy impact will be, and the more empowering the experience can be. 

It is not uncommon for school staff and teachers to not fully understand how human rights apply to education. It isn’t something that they are taught before, or when, they begin working in the system. 

Wondering if your disabled child is experiencing discrimination at school, all comes down to the question: Is your child “accessing their education, equitably”? So, what does that mean exactly? 

It means they have a right to an equitable opportunity to receive and participate in education. This does not mean that they are given the exact same as everyone else. Equity means that they are given what they need so they have a chance to learn and show their learning. 

Here are some examples of your child’s rights that are supported by the Human Rights Code, under the duty to accommodate:

  1. Your child’s IEP supersedes a teacher’s classroom autonomy and classroom management decisions.  Which means, your child’s IEP is the priority over their personal teaching opinions and how they like to run their classes. IEPs are very important. 
  2. Your child has a right to go to school and not be exposed to discrimination-based harassment. (Bullying connected to their disability, race, gender, etc.)
  3. They also have the right to be in a positive school environment.
  4. Your child has a right to receive reasonable accommodation so they can access their education. Which means, if your child is struggling or failing, they are not accessing their education and they are not receiving reasonable accommodation. Document the failing and the struggle that they are experiencing. The more evidence you have, the more effective your advocacy will be. A child struggling and failing is an indication that the accommodations that the school provides, or lack of, is not working. It’s their responsibility to make this work.

Here are some examples of your rights and responsibilities that are supported by the Human Rights Code.

  1. You have a right to be consulted on your child’s education. The school has the final decision as to what reasonable accommodations look like for your child, but they must consult with you and at least consider the information you offer about your child. This needs to be meaningful consultation. 
  2. Both you and the school have a duty to co-operate in good faith. Which means respectful language on both sides and no dirty parlor tricks from the school system. I would suggest you review the code of conduct that will be posted on your school districts website, and they need to follow that as well. 
  3. You have a responsibility to facilitate the implementation of accommodation decided by the school. You can facilitate and still keep advocating. 

Through the School Act, you have a right to appeal if you do not agree with the final decision of the school. This is a much faster process than the current Human Rights Tribunal process. The School Act and the Human Rights Code are two separate legislation Acts. Processes are different. Goals are different. Outcomes will be different. 

Filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal means that your child has experienced harm that is connected to their disability. It’s about harm that has already occurred, and harm that you will need to have evidence of. More blog posts on this will be coming in the future. 

Advocacy is a skill that can be developed.

Some resources I recommend are:

Inclusion BC – Chapter 7

Family Support Institute & BC Access Society – Toolkit

Burnaby Teachers are Joining the Inclusion Conversation

Today in The Burnaby Now newspaper there is an opinion piece written by the BC Teacher’s Federation.

I love that a teacher’s organization is speaking up about the challenges to inclusion and it’s not just parents making noise in the media.

The Ministry of Education and Child Care needs to fund and pay for teachers, EA’s and support staff to return to work earlier than the first day of school so that inclusion can be planned for and parents consulted.

For the full article:

Opinion: Burnaby educators committed to inclusion, fully funded public education

Free Speech Protected – for Advocacy!

So happy with this decision! Beautiful!

“Mr. Barry Neufeld, an elected public school board trustee in Chilliwack, B.C., publicly criticized the initiative in online posts, which triggered significant controversy including calls for him to resign. Many people in the community considered his statements derogatory of transgender and other 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. Mr. Glen Hansman, a gay man, teacher and former president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, publicly denounced Mr. Neufeld’s views, including to the news media, calling them bigoted, transphobic and hateful. He accused him of undermining safety and inclusivity for transgender and other 2SLGBTQ+ students in schools, and questioned whether he should remain a school board trustee.”

“Many people in the community considered his statements derogatory of transgender and other 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. Mr. Glen Hansman, a gay man, teacher and former president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, publicly denounced Mr. Neufeld’s views, including to the news media, calling them bigoted, transphobic and hateful. He accused him of undermining safety and inclusivity for transgender and other 2SLGBTQ+ students in schools, and questioned whether he should remain a school board trustee.”

“Mr. Neufeld sued Mr. Hansman for defamation”

Final Decision:

“The first instance judge correctly dismissed Mr. Neufeld’s defamation suit.

Writing for the majority, Justice Karakatsanis restored the first judge’s order dismissing Mr. Neufeld’s defamation suit. She decided the public interest in protecting Mr. Hansman’s speech outweighed the public interest in remedying the reputational harm to Mr. Neufeld. She agreed with the judge that Mr. Neufeld had suffered limited harm, as he continued to express his views despite the public reaction and won re-election a year later.

As for Mr. Hansman, he spoke out to counter what he and others perceived to be discriminatory and harmful speech against transgender and other 2SLGBTQ+ youth, “groups especially vulnerable to expression that reduces their worth and dignity in the eyes of society and questions their very identity”. His response to Mr. Neufeld’s statements was neither disproportionate nor gratuitous.

As Justice Karakatsanis explained, “[t]he closer the expression lies to the core values of [freedom of expression], including truth-seeking, participating in political decision-making and diversity in the forms of self-fulfillment and human flourishing, ‘the greater the public interest in protecting it’”. She concluded Mr. Hansman’s speech aligned with these values.

Beautiful!!!!

Here is the case explained in plain language by the Supreme Court of Canada. I highly encourage to read the decision explained. It’s not a long read and it’s very readable.

https://www.scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/cb/2023/39796-eng.aspx

Media articles about this:

https://vancouver.citynews.ca/2023/05/19/former-chilliwack-school-trustee-defamation-lawsuit/


https://www.saanichnews.com/news/defamation-case-between-chilliwack-trustee-and-former-bctf-president-at-supreme-court-of-canada

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/neufeld-hansman-defamation-hate-debate-1.6059595

https://vancouver.citynews.ca/2018/04/12/controversial-chilliwack-trustee-subject-human-rights-tribunal-complaint/

What is Fatal to a Human Rights Complaint in Education?

A and B obo Infant A v. School District C (No. 5), 2018 BCHRT 25

I have heard of many families in very complex situations. Parents/guardians are struggling with accepting/agreeing to accommodations offered by the school that they feel very strongly won’t work. If you are thinking that the human rights process is a process you might be considering, there are important things to note.

I have pulled the paragraphs/parts of paragraphs from this case that I feel are important for simplicity.  I highly encourage people to read the full case to understand the context of everything and how a hearing and the Human Rights Code are applied. It is a layered case and the complexity of the situation is something many families can find themselves in.  

I’d like to also note, that even though we are reading this case, there might be information that is not written about that this family may feel is very important that was left out.

Let’s look at the issues this case brings up and how we can be prepared for them.

Some of the topics this case brings up are:

  1. The importance of documentation and having as much evidence as you can.
  2. Witness testimony from parents and education staff (credibility conflicts)
  3. The role and responsibilities of parents/guardians.
    • The duty of parents/guardians to facilitate accommodations
    • Parent/guardian credibility
    • Parents/guardians duty to cooperate in good faith

“If the School District initiated a reasonable proposal that would, if implemented, accommodate the Child, then the Parents were obliged to facilitate that proposal. Failure to do so is fatal to their complaint of discrimination.”

DIRECTLY FROM THE CASE:

[37]           I am entitled to accept some, none or all of a witness’ testimony. Where there was disagreement in the evidence, my findings and reasons are set out. Where necessary to do so, I have assessed credibility and considered factors such as the witness’ demeanour, powers of observation, opportunity for knowledge, judgment, memory, and ability to describe clearly what they saw and heard….(continues)

[38]           In resolving conflicts in the evidence, and determining whether to accept the evidence of any witness, in whole or in part, I have adopted and applied the test set out in Bradshaw:

Credibility involves an assessment of the trustworthiness of a witness’ testimony based upon the veracity or sincerity of a witness and the accuracy of the evidence that the witness provides. The art of assessment involves examination of various factors such as the ability and opportunity to observe events, the firmness of his [or her] memory, the ability to resist the influence of interest to modify his [or her] recollection, whether the witness’ evidence harmonizes with independent evidence that has been accepted, whether the witness changes his [or her] testimony during direct and cross-examination, whether the witness’ testimony seems unreasonable, impossible, or unlikely, whether a witness has a motive to lie, and the demeanour of a witness generally. Ultimately, the validity of the evidence depends on whether the evidence is consistent with the probabilities affecting the case as a whole and shown to be in existence at the time. (Bradshaw, para. 186, citations excluded)

[39]           I find that the most helpful evidence in this case is the documentary evidence created at the time of events…(continues)

[42]           I have assigned relatively little weight to the Mother’s evidence where it conflicted with the first-hand accounts given by the School Counsellor, Principal, Vice Principal, and Teachers H, M, and G. I have found the Mother’s hearsay evidence considerably less reliable than the direct evidence of reliable witnesses, where there is a conflict.

[43]           The Mother acknowledged that she was probably not present for most of the incidents at school that involved her Child. At times, she had a hard time recalling events. For example, the Mother’s testimony on the psychoeducational assessment of her son was wrong by one year. She acknowledged that she was “out a year”. The Mother testified that there is no reason to dispute the emails that were authored by her at the time. The Mother testified “that is what I wrote at that time”.

[44]           During cross-examination, the Mother responded to several questions regarding her testimony about her Child’s version of events by saying that she did not know or was not there. She acknowledged that most of her knowledge of the incidents came through her Child. I find that her son was more likely than not motivated to minimize his involvement in some incidents when reporting them to his Parents, so as to avoid discipline. For example, the Mother described disciplining the Child in relation to an incident where he swore at the Principal. She described their punishment as “Draconian”. (In retrospect, the Mother regretted using that word in her letter). As another example, regarding the November 2016 Incident, the Child only reported to his Parents that he grabbed another student by the collar, whereas I find, as a fact, that the Child choked a student, pushed him over a railing, and spat in his face.

(Parents’ Obligations (Paragraph 248-260) ** Important to read in the case. This case was dismissed and discrimination was not found. )

[258] In summary, the evidence shows that the accommodation process of the Child at school was often frustrated by the unreasonable actions or inactions of his Parents. The Parents did not attend re-entry meetings after the Child was sent home from school; the Parents attended the first IEP meeting, but refused to attend future IEP meetings. After November 2015, the Parents stopped providing comments to draft IEPs that were sent to them for review. The Parents refused to participate in the creation of a Safety Plan for the Child. The Parents did not provide the requested medical and psychological information to enable the School to modify the Child’s IEP. The Parents rejected the Principal’s offers of an educational assistant, classroom change, pod change, and school change. The Parents interfered with and rejected the psycho-educational assessment performed by a school psychologist. The Parents opposed any involvement of the District’s Intensive Behavioural Team with the Child. The Parents refused to allow an educational assistant to work with the Child despite it being recommended by his teachers, School Counsellor, and Principal. In a letter dated May 2016, the Parents wrote that the Principal was the “root cause of all this mess”.

[248]      The School District is not the only party with obligations in the accommodation process. Rather, the parents were obliged, as the Child’s representatives, to work towards facilitating an appropriate accommodation: Central Okanagan School District No. 23 v. Renaud1992 CanLII 81 (SCC), [1992] 2 SCR 970. If the School District initiated a reasonable proposal that would, if implemented, accommodate the Child, then the Parents were obliged to facilitate that proposal. Failure to do so is fatal to their complaint of discrimination.

Again, I highly encourage everyone to read the full case. I appreciate every family who has taken their case to the human rights tribunal hearing level. Even cases that have not “won” are still beneficial. It is through their experiences and stories that the rest of us learn and therefore become better advocates for our children to navigate this current system.

TAKE AWAY LEARNING

Whether this is fair or unfair/just or unjust/right or wrong…to uphold a human rights complaint…this is what I take away from this case.

  1. We need to be so thoughtful in how we communicate with the school.
  2. We need to be solution focused.
  3. Our credibility just like the staff’s credibility may be a part of the hearing process if there are issues around credibility and the relationship with the school.
  4. We need to document everything and gather as much evidence as we can.
  5. We need to cooperate and facilitate accommodations and if they are not successful, document the failure. (Paper documentation, video, etc)
  6. We need help. We should seek guidance and advice from as many professionals and other advocacy support people as possible if we find ourselves in a challenging advocacy situation at our child’s school.

However, it is also important to be aware.

"Parental conduct or lack of parental authority cannot be used as a justification for not meeting an exceptional student’s needs;"

To view the document on CanLII’s website:
L.B. v. Toronto District School Board, 2015 HRTO 1622 (CanLII)

"a parent’s “fierce advocacy” for his or her child must not and cannot prevent a school board from accommodating the child’s needs to the point of undue hardship."
[77] The Interim Decision sets out my reasons for issuing an order with respect to the first two points, as follows:
(a) School boards have an obligation under the Code to accommodate their students with disabilities to the point of undue hardship, regardless of whether the students are receiving any medical treatment in the community or not;
(b) School boards cannot order or demand of parents to place their children into residential psychiatric treatment programs and cannot deny or withhold accommodations to the point of undue hardship on the grounds that the student should be in such a program. While I have no evidence to show that this was the case here, that does not alter the principle;
(c) School boards have an obligation under the Education Act to provide appropriate special education placements, programs and services to their exceptional students. Parental conduct or lack of parental authority cannot be used as a justification for not meeting an exceptional student’s needs; and
(d) I agree with the decision in R.B. v. Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, (R.B./Keewatin) 2013 HRTO 1436, an HRTO decision cited by both parties in this case, at para 265, that a parent’s “fierce advocacy” for his or her child must not and cannot prevent a school board from accommodating the child’s needs to the point of undue hardship.
Here is the link to the case in full: https://canlii.ca/t/gmd68

For more updated human rights process information please click on my Human Rights Tribunal page and scan down to the “Things that are not explicitly explained but are good to know…”

For more information on understanding the duty to accommodate.

I offer an Education/Human Rights Workbook to parents/guardians. Hopefully, this process can help clarify your case.

I wish you all the best,

Family Status Protection

BIG NEWS!

For parents who are concerned about losing their job due to parent responsibilities of raising their children, this is a step in the right direction.

Vancouver, B.C. – On Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal issued a decision that clarifies the circumstances in which parents and caregivers can seek accommodation in their workplaces.

The Court released their decision in Gibraltar Mines Ltd. v. Harvey, a case alleging discrimination against the mother of a young child by her employer. B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner intervened in the case to address the legal test for family status discrimination in B.C.

‘Family status’ is a protected ground in B.C.’s Human Rights Code, prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s family situation, such as if a person is a caregiver for children or elderly parents. To determine whether family status discrimination has taken place, decision makers in B.C. have traditionally used a two-part test. This test asked whether the employer unilaterally changed a worker’s terms of employment and whether there was a serious interference with a substantial parental or other family duty as a result. The main issue before the Court of Appeal in Gibraltar was whether the law did, in fact, require a unilateral change to terms of employment as part of the legal test to establish discrimination.

Friday’s ruling means that employees can qualify for a workplace accommodation when any condition of their employment has an adverse effect on an important parental duty. Complainants are not required to show that their employer has changed their terms of employment. This is particularly important for parents of young children whose parental obligations may change during their employment and conflict with their workplace responsibilities.”

“The Court’s decision is welcome and is a significant win for gender equality in the workplace in many ways. It is an important step forward, but there remain outstanding issues that need to be resolved to ensure that mothers and other caregivers are able to access the full protection of human rights law.”Kasari Govender, B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner

For the full release read the HR Commissioners announcement

For more media regarding this:
The Canadian Press
Burnaby Now
Global News

NEW! Dyslexia Advocacy Society of BC has a BLOG!

Woohoo!!!

Dyslexia Advocacy Society of BC Contact us 778-839-1540
Picture of the front page of the blog titled Dyslesia BC Blog, first post: Lets make sure we get structured literacy into BC schools.

Dyslexia BC now has a blog and what are they posting about?

Some upcoming advocacy action. That’s what!

“Next week, starting on April 27, 2023 the British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) is having their 2023 AGM and they have a motion at the table submitted from the North Vancouver School Board (No.44)  that   is called “Learning Disability (Dyslexia) and Policy/Guidelines for Screening in Kindergarten.”  To help support this motion we have written a letter to the BCSTA Board.”

To read the letters and support the very important motions, visit their blog at Dyslexia BC Blog

New TRB Commissioner

WOW! We have a new TRB Commissioner and she sounds fabulous!

“The British Columbia Commissioner for Teacher Regulation is Ana Mohammed. She is a trained lawyer, adjudicator and mediator with experience in administrative law and extensive experience in employment and human rights law.


Ana has practiced as a lawyer in the areas of administrative, criminal, employment and human rights law. She was appointed as a full-time member with the BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) from 2001 to 2006, where she heard and decided human rights complaints as a sole adjudicator, as well as conducted mediations and dealt with complaints at the prehearing and preliminary stages. A selection of Ana’s preliminary and final decisions may be viewed at the BCHRT’s website. Since 2007, Ana has also periodically taught human rights law as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia law school.


Ana has been the principal of a human rights and employment consulting firm since 2007, where she worked extensively with unionized workplaces in the private and public sectors, as well as with private and non-profit organizations. She is named on several collective and facilities agreements, including the BC college and university sector agreement, as a neutral third-party investigator and mediator, and has been engaged to do workplace assessments and industry troubleshooting work. Ana has designed and presented many human rights and employment education workshops for employees, union and employer personnel, board members and various executive bodies. 


Ana is a mother of 2, and a first generation Canadian. She has lived and worked in 3 Canadian provinces since 1977. She brings a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) lens to all the work she does. She has extensive experience working respectfully and effectively with diverse populations.”

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/boards-commissions-tribunals/commissioner-for-teacher-regulation/meet-the-commissioner

Resolution Options in Education

You have a situation at your child’s school that you realize, with all your best efforts, is not being resolved internally. You need help. You need an external organization to intervene. Who do you go to?

Not necessarily an easy question.

Some have retaliation protection built into their legislation, some do not.

Each option is connected to their own separate legislation. They are each a silo and operate independently. They are not connected. Knowing which avenue is most appropriate can save you months and even years of potential disappointment or wasted time.

Here are your options and the legislation they are attached to.

  1. Professional Conduct Unit (Teachers Regulation Branch)

The TRB is connected to the Teachers Act. If the teacher in your child’s class has violated the standards for educators you can file a complaint. The Commissioner will determine if their behaviour was enough of a marked departure to lead to a consent resolution. The TRB will not consider human rights discrimination in the way that the HRT will. They are connecting the teacher to the Teachers Act and their professional standards, not determining if their behaviour was discrimination or related to the human rights code.

Before you file a TRB complaint please read this information.

There is no retaliation protection built in to the legislation, they advise you file another complaint for the retaliation.

2. Ombudsperson BC

The Ombudsperson of BC deals with administrative fairness and is connected to the Ombudsperson Act. So if education staff are ignoring you, not explaining their decisions to you or not following their own policy, then you could file a complaint with them.

You can go on their website and see their check lists to know if the administrative or procedural unfairness that you are experiencing is something they can assist you with. They can do an early resolution if you are being ignored. Silence, unfortunately is not uncommon in education.

There is retaliation protection built into the Ombudsperson Act.

3. Human Rights Complaint

The HRT deals with the Human Rights Code. It is an administrative tribunal and this area connected with disability in education is most likely going to be tied to Section 8: Duty to Accommodate. This is a legal process connected to the Human Rights code. That’s it. They will not be applying school policy to their decision making, just the Code. Understanding the components of the duty to accommodate is key.

Here is a guide/work book to help you organize your case.

There is case law around the schools responsibility to prevent continued bullying, and not having barriers that would prevent a disabled child from accessing their education connected to a duty to accommodate. This includes a duty to inquire, a duty to consult, and a duty to co-operate in good faith. Parents then have a duty to co-operate in good faith, a duty to facilitate the decision, and need to accept accommodations that are being offered that will remove the barrier for their child to access their education. This doesn’t mean the best accommodation, just enough to remove the barrier. I highly recommend you consult a lawyer. On the HRT website they have a list on where to get help.

There is a very firm 1 year limitation.

There is retaliation protection built into the Human Rights Code.

4. Section 11 Appeal

This process connects with the School Act. As a parent you can file a section 11 appeal if you disagree with a decision that the school is making and it is significantly affecting your child and their education.

This advocacy is more open to looking at how policy and discrimination are impacting the student. Here are some guidelines.

5. Education Mediation

Education mediation is connected to the Education Mediation Act. This is an option I know very little about, and would be relying on this legislation for information just as anyone else looking at it for the first time.

If anyone has gone this route and would like to share their experience with me, I would love to hear about it. Please email me at Kim @ speakingupbc.ca

6. Advocacy groups (highly recommended)

Support is essential when advocating in education. Having someone knowledgeable with experience to guide you is very beneficial.

BCEdAccess Society & Parents Facebook group
Inclusion BC
Family Support Institute