Moore decision: equality law and rights of persons with disabilities

In a 2:1 decision, the BC Court of Appeal ruled against the Moore family in this important equality case. The case arose when the North Vancouver School District closed the only intensive accommodation available to such students, to teach them basic literacy skills. The District claimed it had no choice, and had to end the service because of "chronic underfunding" from the Ministry of Education. However, while it claimed poverty, the District kept other expensive non-core recreational programs going, such as its Outdoor School.

The Moores argued successfully before the BC Human Rights Tribunal that the government had a legal obligation to provide equal services to students with severe learning disabilities. The Tribunal was overturned by the BC Supreme Court, and that decision has been upheld by two judges in the BC Court of Appeal. However, in a strong dissenting opinion Madame Justice Rowles held that Jeffrey Moore and other students with severe disabilities were subjected to discriminatory treatment. The Moores, represented by Frances Kelly and Kendra Milne of Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), are going to seek leave to the Supreme Court of Canada. This is an important legal precedent for equality law, and especially impacts the rights of persons with disabilities.

Link to the decision:
Moore decision | BC Courts