How Special Education Differs on Reserve

The following chart summarizes some of the differences between special education in First Nations communities and in non-First Nations communities. As a result of these and other differences, First Nations children are not guaranteed the same quality of special education as non-First Nations children:

Some Differences Between Special Education Services On and Off Reserves
Special Education On Reserves Ontario’s Special Education System
There is no legal right to free and appropriate special education in the Indian Act All children have a legal right to free education and appropriate special education under provincial laws
Funding insufficient to meet provincial standards Greater funding to meet student needs
There are no specialized legal procedures or rights for First Nations parents to ensure their children get appropriate services Parents can use provincial laws to ensure their children get appropriate services (e.g. parents can participate in and appeal decisions made about their children)
Some children may not get services unless the family or First Nation can pay Children are guaranteed special education services
Specialists (e.g. speech therapists) often unavailable or very expensive Specialists (e.g. speech therapists) available from school board
Little or no funding for high-level curriculum creation and policy setting Provincial ministry provides high-level curriculum creation and policy setting
Small education departments have small budgets that cannot absorb costs of certain students with high needs Large school boards have large budgets that can afford high cost services, benefit from economies of scale, and can balance out high cost cases