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Mothers of Disabled Students Confront Harris
P R E S S R E L E A S E FOR IMMEDIATE
Contact: Lorraine Paquin -1-613-821-0884
Contact: Jane Scharf - 1-613-258-6176
Contact Mary Anne Kazmierski - 1-613-824-7469
On Wednesday July 5, 2000 Jane Scharf and Lorraine Paquin will be driving
from Ottawa to 777 Memorial St. Lincoln M. Alexander Building, Orillia,
Ontario. They are travelling there to file a complaint with the
Investigation Bureau of the Ontario Provincial Police against the Minister
of Education, Janet Eckers for defrauding their children out of special
education supports and services necessary for them to acquire an adequate
education. The women are leaving from their protest camp Queensway Camp for
Handicapped Students in front of MPP John Baird's Office 301 .Moodie Dr.
which has been occupied by 4 families of special needs children since June
23, 2000. They will leave at the close of the business day on July 4, 2000
(4:30 pm) and will be arriving at the OPP station at 9:00 am July 5, 2000.
At 2:30 pm Jane and Lorraine will be arriving at Premier Michael Harris'
Queenspark Office to give him a copy of the complaint filed with the
Ontario Provincial Police against the Minister of Education.
These four families are presenting evidence that the education system
deprived their children dishonestly of supports and services necessary for
them to benefit from their education program. The families report that
their children would have received the help they needed but for the
perpetuation of the fraud. The evidence includes funding applications and
IPRC's with falsified information, double and triple Ontario student
numbers, as well as evidence of intimidation and force being used against
the parents for speaking out.
It is the duty of the Minister of Education to provide supports and
services for disabled children. This duty is defined in the Education Act,
the Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are
claiming that the Minister of Education is criminally negligent in denying
necessary accommodations in education, which is in violation of her duty
under law, and in these actions she is showing wanton disregard for the
lives and safety of our precious children.
The Minister has been aware since at least March 2000 that her Ministry has
been in violation of the Education Act and that our disabled children are
being defrauded by the use of falsified documents and intimidation against
parents who speak out.
Lorraine says, we want the Ontario Provincial Police to start a forensic
audit of the education funding process immediately. Without this audit
there is no accountability in the education system which leaves my disabled
child hurting badly. Nicole who has Down's Syndrome will not have a future
without a proper education.
Jane Scharf says, I have every confidence in the Ontario Provincial Police
and they have advised me that they do have the will and jurisdiction to
investigate the Minister and the board's involved.
June 30/2000 The City Section of the Ottawa Citizen
Parents of disabled children
want audit of ministry grants
Ottawa families encouraged
by Toronto meeting
By Carrie Buchanan
Two parents of disabled Ottawa children, who didn't receive special
education services they were promised, traveled to Toronto yesterday to ask
Education Minister Janet Ecker for a forensic audit of the ministry's
Lorraine Paquin and Greg Bonnah, who have been camping outside
Nepean-Carleton MPP John Baird's office since June 23 with two other
families, said last night they were pleased with their reception in
Toronto. An official in Mrs. Echer's office heard their complaints and
promised an investigation to see whether an audit is warranted.
But the official, Brian Flemming, said they would not get results from
the preliminary investigation until at least July 17. The parents say if
they don't hear back by July 4, they plan to file a formal complaint with
Ontario Provincial Police.
Officials with the minister's office and the Ottawa-Carleton District
School Board, whose schools the children attend, could not be reached for
comment last night.
The parents say money allocated specifically for their children was not
used for them. Officials from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
told the parents the board isn't required to spend the money on the
individual student for whom it is allocated.
Ms. Paquin says her daughter Nicole, 7, who has Down's Syndrome, got no
special education services whatsoever, despite an assessment calling for
them. And Mr. Bonnah said his son, Zachary, 9, lost his speech therapy and
physiotherapy and had his educational aide cut back to two days a week, in
the second half of this school year.
The parents filed a complaint with Ottawa-Carleton police this week.
(correction actually three weeks ago and the matter is under investigation
of fraud towards the children). But regional police can only investigate
individual cases, not systemic problems, the parents say so they want a
forensic audit of the ministry's grants.
The families said they plan to continue their protest camp outside Mr.
Baird's office through the weekend.
THE EDUCATION ACT
"Administration-The Minister is responsible for the administration of this
Act and the regulations and of such other Acts and the regulations
thereunder as may be assigned to the Minister by the Lieutenant Governor in
And also from the Education Act:
"Identification programs and special education programs and services-The
Minister shall ensure that all exceptional children in Ontario have
available to them, in accordance with this act the regulations, appropriate
special education programs and special education services without payment
of fees by parents or guardians resident in Ontario,"
And also from the Education Act:
"The Minister may at any time require a board to amend its special
education plan in a manner that the Minister considers necessary so as to
ensure that the board provides special education programs and special
education services that meet the current needs of exceptional pupils of the
GENERAL LEGAL PROVISIONS
52. (1) The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any
law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the
extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.
(2) The Constitution of Canada includes
(a) the Canada Act, 1982, including this Act;
(b) the Acts and orders referred to in the Schedule; and
(c) any amendment to any Act or order referred to in paragraph (a) or (b).
EQUALIZATION AND REGIONAL DISPARITIES
36. (1) Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the
provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the
exercise of their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures,
together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are
(a) promoting equal opportunities for the well being of Canadians;
(b) furthering the economic development to reduce disparity in
(c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all
(2) Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle
of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have
sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public
services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. (19)
24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter,
have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent
jurisdiction to obtain such remedy, as the court considers appropriate and
just in the circumstances.
15. (1) Every individual is equal before the and under the law and has the
right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without
discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race,
national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has
as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals
or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national
or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical
ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE PART 1
Freedom from Discrimination
1. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services,
goods, and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestory,
place or origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual
orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap.
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