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60% of children and youth with intellectual disabilities are denied the right to inclusive quality education, resulting in negative impacts on quality of life, health status, income and employment outcomes.

Research in Canada and around the world shows us that all students learn better in inclusive classrooms. An inclusive education system teaches students the benefits of diversity, cooperation, and consideration of others, whereas separate programs create barriers to opportunities for children to learn from, support, and develop relationships with one another.

Canada has made significant progress in making schools inclusive in the last few decades – in fact, our country is seen globally as one of the most advanced in this effort. However, the progress has not been uniform and many parts of the country remain entrenched in the traditional models of special education. Thousands of children with an intellectual disability face discrimination and segregation in schools every day, unable to participate in the common learning environment with their siblings and peers. Their schools and classrooms have not been structured or supported to make inclusion a reality for them.

Segregated, special classrooms, limited access to teams, and lowered expectations are just some of the ways that children with an intellectual disability are excluded in Canadian schools. We can do better.

Our Vision

All people with an intellectual disability are fully included with their peers in regular education, with appropriate supports from early childhood through to post-secondary and adult life-long learning.

Our 2020 Goal

A national strategy to advance inclusive education across Canada.

Current Work

Inclusive Education Canada (IEC) was launched as a separate organization by CACL in 2009. IEC is a national non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to quality education for all students in inclusive schools and classrooms in Canadian schools. IEC advocates for effective policy provision and investment in supports for teachers and students, as well as builds capacity in our schools and classrooms to make inclusion both a successful and practical reality.

IEC provides leadership to parents and families, as well as teachers, principals and other stakeholders in the education system, as well as provides information on policy and principles of inclusion; classroom practice; school strategies; support strategies for students; support strategies for teachers; leadership; managing change for inclusion; parent and family issues; instruction and pedagogy; teacher training; and, more.

Click here for resources on inclusive education.