February 5th is the first day of a human rights hearing regarding the province’s provision of supportive housing for people with disabilities.
Vince Calderhead of Pink Larkin represents three complainants who spent years in a locked wing of the Nova Scotia Hospital without any legal or medical justification. All three individuals were found medically able to live in a supportive, community-based setting. A lack of community-based housing has resulted in years of their unnecessary segregation from society and confinement in institutions.
Nova Scotia largely halted the creation of community-based homes for people with disabilities in the 1990s. Since then, people with disabilities who want to live in a community-based home have had to wait years or even decades for a placement.
The case is not just about three individuals in need of appropriate supportive housing. It is about systemic issues in Nova Scotia’s provision of housing supports for people with disabilities.
The opportunity for systemic reform led the Disability Rights Coalition, an advocacy group for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, to become a separate complainant in the case.
“The government is failing in providing support for families and persons with disabilities and individuals are having their rights denied” says Dave Kent, a member of the Disability Rights Coalition and President of People First Nova Scotia.
Claire McNeil and Donna Franey of Dalhousie Legal Aid Service represent the Disability Rights Coalition.
The complaint was inspired by progress other provinces have made in de-institutionalizing people with disabilities and providing inclusive housing options.
Mr. Calderhead hopes a successful hearing will result in reforms ensuring community-based housing for low income people with disabilities in Nova Scotia.
“Our clients’ needless institutionalization is a human rights violation which has been the subject of comments by UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies. If successful, this claim will be a profound vindication of the rights of persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia and a huge step forward in their inclusion in Nova Scotian communities,” said Mr. Calderhead.
Opening arguments for the complainants and the province will begin at 9:30 a.m. on February 5th
The hearing will take place in February, March, and June of 2018. The hearing dates in February and March are at the Best Western Chocolate Lake Hotel, 250 St. Margaret’s Bay Road, Halifax.
The February and March hearing dates are:
February 5, 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
March 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15
For further information please contact Vince Calderhead at: firstname.lastname@example.org,