Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Constitution Act, 1982:

Relevant Sections of The Charter:

Application to the Colleges:

Section 15 (1) Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms:

"Every individual is equal before 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…or mental or physical disability.This section 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…or mental or physical disability".

15 (1) The Charter clearly protects citizens from discrimination on the basis of mental or physical disability. This protection applies to the colleges. Colleges provide government supported post-secondary education and are required to respond to "individuals or groups without imposing burdens, obligations, or disadvantages on such individual or groups not imposed upon others, or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits, and advantages available to other members of society" (1993 p 115).

Section 15 (2) Fundamental Freedoms:Special and Targeted Programs

Programs and services that have, as their basis, the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals may be considered non-discriminatory. However, it is essential to consider that the program or service is not thwarting "an individual's efforts to obtain equality" (1993, p 124-125).

Colleges must first consider opportunities within the regular or usual manner of opportunities that are considered for all. Special arrangements may be provided, but not before considering equal participation within what currently exists. Colleges are required to examine the ways and means for an individual to participate without interfering with equal opportunity.

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