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Authors : ;

Page : 51-54

Keywords : inclusive education; legislation; human rights; trends; Canada; special educational needs.;

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This article provides an overview of legislation in Canada pertaining to special education and children with special education needs. Human rights issues have always been central to both foreign and domestic policy in Canada, thus underpinning its legislature. Pursuing democratic values, Canada was the leading country preparing and drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948). Although education in Canada has not federal guidance being under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the policies that define special education in each province and territory are a vast improvement from the historical segregation and institutionalization. Canada is a signatory to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, prior to ratifying the treaty, Canada's laws were either largely or entirely in conformity with the treaty. Saskatchewan has been the bright example of how special education policy and legislature developed in other provinces and territories. Fundamental changes in the special education policy were enacted by parents and advocacy groups in the 50s of the 20th century. The human rights movement called for enabling persons with disabilities to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Saskatchewan has been one of the first provinces in developing education policy to include students with special needs in the mainstream. Its mandatory legislation on educating students with disabilities in 1971 was four years ahead of comparable Public Law PL 94-142 in the United States. This legislation resulted from a number of influential educational reports and much effort of charismatic scholars who advocated the rights of children with disabilities to be included in the mainstream of public schools. The inclusive education policy in Saskatchewan was impacted by the report of the Provincial Committee on the Aims and Objectives of Education in Ontario. Having influenced other provinces, however, Ontario introduced its special legislation in 1980. Known as “Bill 82” this legislation was a landmark in special education containing many provisions that are in use today. Currently, Ministry of Education in every province and territory is responsible for developing guidelines that help to realize inclusive education goals. Most regulatory documents cite the articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, focusing attention on providing inclusive education for students with special needs. Ukraine can follow in Canada's footsteps if it reconsiders its social and educational policy to turn from segregation and institutionalization to being truly inclusive.

Last modified: 2018-01-09 19:52:52