Dear Mayor Savage and Councillors,
We are the parents of nine-year-old twin boys with disabilities who live in Halifax. We are writing to you with regards to the city’s policy on access to summer camps for children with disabilities.
We believe that limiting access to only three out of the eight weeks of camp available to children without disabilities is discriminatory. Canada is committed to safeguarding and upholding the rights of individuals with disabilities and the Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical or mental disability in the provision of, or access to, services or facilities.
The official arguments used by the city – that it is too expensive to cover the needs of all children with disabilities and that there is an insufficient number of support workers trained to support our children – are not valid grounds to breach the Act. Also, these arguments speak to the lack of knowledge and insight in the management and planning of equitable services that are responsive to the range of diversity in the city, including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability.
We therefore kindly ask that you support us as parents of children with disabilities so that when we wish to enrol our kids in HRM summer camps we will not have to hear that access is limited and, as a result, their ability to socialize with peers is curtailed and as a family, we have fewer opportunities for affordable recreational activities over the summer.
Nancy Spina and Ruben Zaiotti
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