Healthcare Inclusion Media release

Media advisory – Public panel discussion on the urgent need for housing and supports for people with severe physical disabilities (Feb 28)



PANEL DISCUSSION: No More Warehousing: Time for Housing and Dignity for Nova Scotia’s Severely Physically Disabled

WHAT:  Public panel focused on the urgent need for long-term housing options and supports for people with severe physical disabilities

WHEN: Thursday, February 28th, 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Lindsay Children’s Room, 2nd Floor, Halifax Central Library

WHY: At present, few housing options exist for Nova Scotian’s with severe physical disabilities. In order to receive round-the-clock care, people with severe physical disabilities are forced to move into a nursing home if they cannot afford to live independently. The government provides up to seven hours per day of in-home funded care, but this is not enough for people with high-needs physical disabilities. Under this level of funding, people with severe physical disabilities are alone for 17 or 18 hours a day or have to pay out-of-pocket to cover care for the remaining hours if they wish to stay in their own homes.

At the moment there are at least 240 Nova Scotians between 18 and 60 residing in long-term care (i.e., a nursing home). There are no group homes catering to their level of need or age group. There is no place where they can be part of the community. Despite the province’s Accessibility Act, signed in 2017, which states, “The Government acknowledges it must take a leadership role in the process of achieving an accessible Nova Scotia.” Nova Scotia is nowhere near that goal.


·      Introduction by Jen Powley, disability rights advocate, and author of, Just Jen – Thriving Through Multiple Sclerosis

·      Video presentations by Catherine Frazee, professor emeritus of disability studies at Ryerson University, andBonnie Klein, filmmaker and director

·      Panelists include:

o   Carrie Ernst – Executive Director of Independent Living Nova Scotia, disability advocate, and strategic planner of supportive programming

o   Claire MacNeil – Legal Counsel for the Disability Rights Coalition, Lawyer with Dal Legal Aid

o   Mary Burtt – Mother, caregiver, and care planner for her terminally ill daughter (who is in a long-term care facility)

o   Melanie Gaunt – Resident of a long-term care facility

o   Joanne Larade – Executive member of the Halifax Chapter of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and resident of a long-term care facility. 

o   Victoria Levack – Sexuality in disability educator, advocate, writer, and resident of a long-term care facility

·      The event will be moderated by journalism professor, Stephen Kimber