TITLE

Eaton v. Brant County Board of Education

AUTHOR(S)
Pothier, Dianne
PUB. DATE
June 2006
SOURCE
Canadian Journal of Women & the Law;2006, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p121
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In Eaton v. Brant County Board of Education, the Women's Court of Canada reverses the 1997 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, which rejected a presumption of integrated education for disabled students. The Women's Court finds that although the Supreme Court did not actually invoke the terminology of "separate but equal," that is the essence of their decision to find no breach of section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms arising from segregated placement. According" to the Women's Court, the Supreme Court's rejection of a presumption of integration amounts to the adoption of a hierarchy of difference, which is inconsistent with the equality guarantee in section 15 of the Charter. The Women's Court finds that a constitutional presumption of integrated education for disabled students is necessary for two reasons. First, such a presumption is required to counteract the historic legacy by which, segregation has connoted inferior status. Second, a constitutional presumption of integration is necessary to place an onus on the state to make the integrated educational environment genuinely inclusive and to meet diverse needs. Such an onus puts the responsibility on the state to demonstrate the specific conditions and circumstances under which an integrated educational setting cannot meet the best interests of disabled students, which is a matter of section 1 justification. In any context in which segregated education is sought to be imposed, section 15 itself demands integrated education. Thus, the Women's Court of Canada concludes that section 15 is breached in the present case. As a result of mootness, however, section 1 is not addressed.
ACCESSION #
28861351

 

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