L. B. v. Toronto District School Board, et al.

(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case) (Sealing order) (Certain information not available to the public)


Education law - Schools, Human rights, Remedies, Damages - Education law – Schools – Special needs students – Human Rights – Remedies – Damages – Tribunal awarding applicant general damages for discrimination for failure to accommodate his special educational needs in Grade 9, but denying him cost of private school tuition (for remainder of Grade 9 year and for subsequent years) as special damages for discrimination – Judicial review of Tribunal decision allowed in part – Applicant entitled to special damages for remainder of Grade 9 year – Court of Appeal dismissing applicant’s motion for leave to appeal – Whether quantum of damages awarded to L.B. should be increased – Can “resident pupil” status be used to shift the onus of engaging in the accommodation dialogue onto the withdrawing student? – Can Tribunal expertise be extended, in the absence of a supporting factual and evidentiary record on the ultimate issue, and without notice to the parties?.


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The applicant L.B. filed an application before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, under s. 34 of the Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, alleging that the Toronto District School Board discriminated against him while he was in Grade 9 on the basis of disability. L.B. had been provided with an Individual Education Plan (“IEP”) since Grade 2. In secondary school, L.B. began to exhibit poor attendance within the first week of his Grade 9 year and his attendance problems increased during the winter months until he effectively stopped attending school. L.B. then withdrew from that public school to attend a private school instead, for the remainder of the Grade 9 year and for the remainder of high school. The Tribunal awarded L.B. general damages for discrimination, because he had not been seen by any professional staff, he did not have access to all of the supports included in his IEP and his mother was not informed of any potential alternatives to removing him from the school to meet his needs. However, the Tribunal refused to award L.B. special damages to compensate him for the tuition and all other costs for his attendance at the private school. This remedial decision was confirmed in a subsequent Tribunal Reconsideration decision. On judicial review, however, a panel of the Superior Court held that L.B. was entitled to special damages, for the remainder of the Grade 9 year only. The Court of Appeal dismissed L.B.’s motion for leave to appeal.