In the Auton 2000 lawsuit, parents argued that denying their children medically necessary ABA treatment was discrimination under the Canadian Rights and Freedoms act. If ABA was provided through medicare, this would greatly improve access to ABA in the schools. This lawsuit was won in BC, but later struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Auton 2000 decision is an excellent read to see the historical state of things in BC prior to 2000. It is thanks to the BC findings that there were many changes made in BC which included individualized funding for autism treatment (where previously there was nothing) as well as an acceptance that ABA was the best treatment for autistic children. We need to be forever grateful to those families who sacrificed their time and money for this lawsuit.


The Hewko (2005) lawsuit was started to fight for the right to ABA in BC classrooms. This lawsuit was won in BC and never appealed. In short, parents have the right to be part of the collaborative IEP process and they must be listened to and taken seriously. Secondly, the school must have instructional control over the child. This second part is very powerful for making sure there is an ABA trained aide with your child. However, getting an ABA trained aide is still not a guarantee. In some BC districts, parents continue to struggle or have to threaten to sue, while in other districts well trained ABA aides are provided. The ABA Support Network will be working to improve access to ABA paraprofessionals in all school districts. If you are having difficulty with your district, you may contact us for advice or support.

Read the ASBC-FEAT of BC Hewko Interpretation here.


On November 9, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) handed down a landmark decision on disability rights. The Moore case says that students with disabilities are entitled to receive the accommodation measures they need to access and benefit from the service of public education.  In this regard, the Court said that adequate special education is not “a dispensable luxury”.  The Court acknowledged that such measures serve as “the ramp that provides access to the statutory commitment to education made to all children in British Columbia.”

Read a Summary of Key Points.

Next – we recommend you read about the initiative to have autism treatment covered under medicare in Canada – Medicare for Autism Treatment Initiative