Legal arguments in the appeal of a Nova Scotia human rights board decision about the institutionalization of people with physical or intellectual disabilities continued today. Intervenors in the case argued that the systemic nature of the discrimination must be acknowledged. There is no discrimination, lawyer Kevin Kindred countered for the province.
A Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry was wrong when it denied the systemic causes underlying the institutionalization of people with disabilities in Nova Scotia. It was also wrong in how it determined the damages it awarded to three individual complainants. That, in a nutshell, is the case against the province being argued in front of Nova Scotia Court of Appeal judges today and tomorrow. This is what happened on day one.
The Disability Rights Coalition, along with Beth MacLean and Joseph Delaney and others, is appealing a bad decision by the NS Human Rights Commission on institutionalization of people with disabilities. In this editorial the coalition explains the reasons for the appeal, and how you can follow the court case on line.
27 institutionalized residents of Harbourside Lodge, an adult residential centre in Yarmouth, will move into community settings. We speak with Donnie MacLean, president of People First Nova Scotia, and Patricia Neves, executive director of the NS association for Community Living to rejoice while also putting this move in perspective.
After reading about the construction of a new building for children with learning disabilities or autism as young as two years old, Kathy Myketyn looks at how society deals with people with learning disabilities over the last 90 years or so. “Step-up to add your voice for those who have none, to stop this human rights travesty,” she writes.
“The way that we’re looking at it, regardless of whether there’s four residents or 40 or 400, you’re taking children away from their families. What the press release says is that it will house children from two to 18 years old. No two year old should be removed from their family. No parent wants to have their child sent to live somewhere else, they will only agree when there are no alternatives provided, says Patricia Neves, Acting Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living.
As of March 2020, twenty people who have been deemed ready for discharge are detained at the East Coast Forensic Hospital. They are needlessly placed at an elevated risk for acquiring COVID-19 in addition to being exposed to numerous other ethical, legal, social, and health issues.
Facing the same threat of coronavirus, a new order issued by Dr. Strang institutes more accountability for nursing homes than for institutions for people with developmental disabilities. That leaves Community Services off the hook, and that is wrong, says human rights lawyer Claire McNeil. As well, protocols around isolation of infected residents need to be revisited.
We rightly hear a lot about the COVID-19 related risks faced by people incarcerated in Nova Scotia’s jails and prisons. What is more or less forgotten is that the 800 to 900 citizens labeled as living with disabilities who live in institutions in this province are facing the very same risks.
With so many people on a waitlist for community-based living opportunities, the eight small option homes the government has committed to just don’t cut it, writes Wendy Lill of the Community Homes Action Group.