Unethical and illegal to reduce supports to students with disabilities

May 31, 2019

With recent media reports noting that parents in some Alberta schools and school districts are being asked, through surveys and at school meetings, to “vote” on how educational costs can be reduced, including cutting supports to students with special needs. This arbitrary consideration, to say nothing of the morally reprehensible action of pitting one vulnerable group of children and parents against other parents and students, is patently discriminatory.  

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and Alberta law requires that every student receive an appropriate education; not just some. Court decisions at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada, have interpreted this to mean that school districts cannot restructure their allocation of resources so as to reduce the supports needed by students with disabilities thereby literally depriving them of an education. Inclusion Alberta is prepared to challenge any such discriminatory actions by all the means available to us.

Inclusion Alberta President Barb MacIntyre, who is also the parent of a son with developmental disabilities, stated “We are appalled at the repeated refrain of some school boards and officials who describe our sons and daughters only in terms of dollars. This is dehumanizing. It frightens parents who send their children with special needs to school every day trusting they will be treated with respect and dignity; seen as children first, with a desire to learn and belong and not as some kind of financial pariah.”

Trish Bowman, Inclusion Alberta CEO, added, “Our society needs educators to be moral leaders who exemplify the principles of equality such that every child is equally valued and wanted with resources distributed equitably. Whatever funding issues may exist, these cannot be borne on the backs of children with disabilities further adding to the challenges and the prejudice they and their parents confront over the course of their lifetimes.”


Inclusion Alberta advocates for quality inclusive education where children with developmental disabilities are welcomed into regular classrooms in their neighbourhood schools. In the inclusive classroom, children with special needs, their peers and their teachers receive the support they need to be successful. Curriculum and instruction are individually adapted. An inclusive school ensures children with disabilities participate in all school activities.

Inclusion Alberta works with teachers, schools and school districts to develop quality inclusive education, from preschool to high school. We believe that parents should be able to freely choose an inclusive education for their child.

If families encounter poor quality inclusive education or resistance, Inclusion Alberta can provide advocacy resources for as long as it takes to ensure a successful outcome.

Please contact us for more information: mail@inclusionalberta.org