Monday, 23 September 2019
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Coalition seeks to appeal human rights decision on community living

Several groups are seeking to appeal a Human Rights Board decision that found  that people with intellectual disabilities face no systemic discrimination in terns of housing.
Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Several groups are seeking to appeal a Human Rights Board of Inquiry decision that found that people with intellectual disabilities face no systemic discrimination in terns of housing.

In March of this year Board Chair Walter Thompson decided that three individual complainants, Beth MacLean, Sheila Livingstone and Joseph Delaney, were indeed discriminated against, but that no systemic discrimination occurred against others in similar situations.

The decision leaves hundreds of Nova Scotians with intellectual disabilities, who are either institutionalized against their will or on lengthy wait lists for supported living accommodations, with no choice but to launch their own human rights complaint.

See also: Op-ed: Is the chair of the NS human rights board ‘un-woke’ or just unaware?

“We chose to appeal because we don’t agree with Walter Thompson’s decision,” says Barb Horner, speaking on behalf of the Disability Rights Coalition, a group which had formal standing during the inquiry.  

The coalition consists of organizations such a People First Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living (NSACL), as well as individuals.

“We have not yet been granted permission to appeal, and that is what Thursday will be about,” Horner says.

“The government should be held accountable for discrimination on a systemic scale, as a result of the discriminatory policies and practices that perpetuate disadvantage and hardship for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia,” the Coalition’s press release states.

The Nova Scotia government has also filed a cross appeal against the Board of Inquiry decision. Both the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the individual complainants have indicated to the Court that they plan to participate in the appeal.

As well, three national disability rights groups – the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), and People First Canada – seek to intervene in the appeal, the press release states.

Where: Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, The Law Courts, 1815 Lower Water St., Halifax

When: Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 10:00 am

The DRC has a Facebook page, and a brand new website with lots of information on the human rights case and other issues.

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