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Inclusive Education, Equality, Students with Disabilities, Disability Rights, Persons with Disabilities, Charter of Rights and Freedoms


The guarantees of the Charter of Rights affect the definition of education for the disabled. The case of Elwood v. Halifax County - Bedford District School Board, a landmark case in educational rights of disabled children in Canada, has major implications for educational practice.

One of the earliest and most controversial Charter of Rights challenges to the existing educational structure has come from parents of disabled children. Disabled children and their parents are blazing a trail to define educational rights in Canada, and the process is giving some shape to the the elusive concept of equality enshrined in the Charter.

This article explores several facets of what equality means. Do we want a Canadian society which includes or excludes minorities such as the disabled? How can we best accommodate the needs of the disabled and thereby allow them a real equality of opportunity? Who should have the final say about the education of a child - the parents, the school authorities, or the child? What should be the respective roles of legislators, administrators, and courts in trying to answer some of these difficult questions?