Press release: Dyslexia community responds to OHRC Right to Read Inquiry

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Dyslexia community applauds the Ontario Human Rights Commission “Right to Read” Public Inquiry

Toronto, ON – October 3, 2019 – Decoding Dyslexia Ontario and The Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association applaud the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) decision to launch the Right to Read inquiry into human rights issues that affect children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities in Ontario’s public education system.

Dyslexia is the most common reading disability, affecting approximately 6%-17% of children. That’s at least 2 children in every classroom who struggle to learn to read with little to no support. These students face many barriers, including lack of access to school psychologists for timely diagnosis and lack of access to systematic evidence-based reading instruction.

We know that students who struggle with reading can be identified as having a reading disability/dyslexia as early as kindergarten. The science of the reading brain indicates that appropriate reading instruction and remediation works best – takes less time and will produce better results – when provided early, before the end of Grade 1. However, across Ontario, most children are diagnosed with dyslexia after the third grade and very often are not provided with the scientific, evidence-based reading instruction they need to become proficient readers and successful learners in the classroom.

Harvard School of Education reports that, “Children with dyslexia are less likely to complete high school or pursue higher education and are at an increased risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Early identification of dyslexia is therefore critical for improving reading outcomes in children, and for preventing and ameliorating the socio-emotional problems that accompany reading failure” (Ozernov-Palchik and Gaab).

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has taken the bold step to look more deeply into the structural and systemic barriers that students with reading disability/dyslexia face on a daily basis in our public schools.

This inquiry offers an opportunity to bring to light the challenges our education system faces in teaching all children to read. We hope the inquiry will also identify solutions needed to ensure the right to an education for children with reading disability/dyslexia, which is guaranteed under the Ontario Human Rights Code.


“Decoding Dyslexia Ontario is incredibly grateful for the commitment of the OHRC to this human rights issue in our public education system. Generations of families and their children with dyslexia will be well-served by your work in this area. Our province will be reminded that equitable access to education is not a luxury, it is a right and that this right, afforded to all, is the cornerstone for the future development of Ontario and Canada as a whole,” says Annette Sang, MSW, Founder/Board member, Decoding Dyslexia Ontario.

“We hear heart-breaking stories from parents of students with dyslexia all across the province. We know that many children are struggling to be identified and to get the services they need to succeed at school,” says Lark Barker, president of Decoding Dyslexia Ontario. “The wait-to-fail approach for students with dyslexia is not acceptable in a province that guarantees the right to an education for all.”

“My great hope is that this will be a moment of reckoning for the culture of education in this province. And that the findings of the inquiry will lead our education system forward to embrace the science of reading and ensure that every child realizes their right to read,” says Alicia Smith, President of the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.


Decoding Dyslexia Ontario

  • Lark Barker, President: (647) 400-6805
  • Annette Sang, Founder/Board member: (609) 933-8127

IDA Ontario

  • Alicia Smith, President Elect: (705) 427-9544


Decoding Dyslexia Ontario is a parent-led, non-profit organization concerned with the limited understanding of dyslexia with Ontario public education and education stakeholders. It raises dyslexia awareness, empowers families to support their children who are dyslexic, and shares best practices regarding identification, remediation and support for students with dyslexia.

The Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association is a non-profit charitable organization founded in June 2004. The branch is operated by volunteers, providing free information and support to individuals with dyslexia, their families and the teachers and professionals who work with them.

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Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association