Discriminatory Post-Secondary Albatross Removed!

  • January 21, 2016
  • BakerLaw

Recently, bakerlaw settled a case for its client who was unable to return to school because she had previously failed a class as a result of a lack of disability supports. At the time, the student did not realize she had a disability. It was only after being removed from the program that she learned of the disability and how it was a factor in the failed grade and her ultimate removal from the institution. Prior to this settlement, there was no precedent on this point.

This client’s story is indicative of other experiences we have begun to hear more about here at bakerlaw. Occasionally, students are able to overcome their disabilities un-accommodated. However, as in our client’s case, when she was no longer able to do so, this had a serious and negative impact on her educational pursuits.

In another case that bakerlaw recently settled, the student was denied admission to Laurier University because the university was relying on grades that were earned at a different institution when no accommodation was in place.

The good news is that both students are able to return to their post-secondary pursuits. In the first case, the student is now able to return to the professional post-secondary educational institution. In the latter, the student has now been offered admission to Laurier and is working with the school to arrange for the accommodations he requires.

Bakerlaw is also working on another case involving similar issues. We are just waiting to learn if Legal Aid Test Case funding will be issued to pursue the case.

While these are promising resolutions, if a student did not receive a failing grade or poor grades were not relied upon for admission to a post-secondary institution, it has not been established that colleges and universities must go back and adjust all grades. This issue is for another day and another client. We would be happy to discuss this with you if you think you have a case. However, it is important to note that tribunals are hesitant to adjust grades. Instead, they often prefer to direct that students be given the accommodation they require prior to examinations and/or assessments.

Further, bakerlaw has noticed that many aspects of the Canada Student Loan Program are discriminatory. With the anticipated return of the Court Challenges Program (CCP), these aspects will be subject to litigation. You can read our earlier post on the Court Challenges Program here (link). Bakerlaw is storing up clients for the return of CCP to litigate important issues such as these.

If you or someone you know feels that their post-secondary education has come to an unfair and premature end, consider these precedents to see if a return to complete your education or career change is possible.


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