May 29th, 2023

Ontario NDP survey shows students with special needs face hundreds of hours of school exclusions

QUEEN’S PARK – Data collected by Ontario NDP Education critic Chandra Pasma (Ottawa West - Nepean) in collaboration with the Ontario Autism Coalition (OAC) reveals that students with special needs are facing ongoing instances of exclusions, including many who missed out on a full school day due to lack of resources.

The Ministry of Education does not currently track and report data on all exclusions.

"Time and time again, the Minister of Education has avoided the question of school exclusions,” said Pasma. “How can we address this issue or build support for children and families across the province who are being harmed by exclusion programs if the government cannot even admit there is a problem?”

Parents who responded to the survey shared their dismay about their child’s exclusion from school programs and the lack of resources available for students with special needs. “Funding and lack of educators prevent children like my daughter from getting the help she needs” shared one parent in response to the survey. “My son is only allowed in school until 10:45 a.m. each day” shared another.

“Ford’s Conservatives are completely out-of-touch with the reality that these parents and students face every day, trying to navigate a broken system that leaves their families behind. Platitudes are not enough. It is time for the Minister to listen to the families, start properly tracking this data, and take action to prevent further exclusions,” added Pasma.


  • 86.7% of survey respondents indicated their child was experiencing an ongoing exclusion.
  • Of the 13.3% who reported a one-time, rather than ongoing, exclusion, the majority cited resource shortages as the reason their children were unable to attend school
  • 32.5% of survey respondents indicated that the child was excluded for the full school day
  • For the two-week period the survey was open, there were a total of 558.5 hours where children with disabilities were excluded from Ontario schools.