ARCH Represents Canadian Association for Community Living at Supreme Court on Rights of Students with Disabilities
On March 22, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeals of Frederick Moore on behalf of Jeffrey P. Moore v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia as represented by the Ministry of Education, et al.. The case examined the duties of the British Columbia Ministry of Education and the School Board of District 44 to accommodate the needs of a student with disabilities. A British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal had determined that Jeffrey Moore had experienced discrimination when the School Board and the Ministry of Education failed to accommodate his needs in the delivery of educational services. The issues before the Supreme Court included the question of whether “services customarily available to the public” for students with disabilities should be “special education” services or general education services. ARCH represented the intervener, Canadian Association for Community Living, and made submissions on this issue and argued that finding that students with disabilities were entitled to a separate and different “special education” service was contrary to the goals of the British Columbia Human Rights Code and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote inclusive education. The Supreme Court also examined the issue of the use of a comparator analysis in human rights duty to accommodate claims and the limits on the scope of remedies that tribunals can order. The Supreme Court reserved judgment. The decision on these appeals will have a significant impact on future human rights claims. The decision will likely be released in several months.