“The current government adopted the Roadmap Report and a 10-year time frame for significantly increasing community-based supported living options while decreasing reliance on large institutions. So far, however, the allocation of resources from government needed to create community capacity has been woefully inadequate. Wait lists for services continue to grow – from 1100 in 2015 to 1300 in 2017 to nearly 1500 last year. This is because the badly needed investments by government have not been forthcoming.”

Compensation awarded to the complainants in a human rights enquiry may sound generous, but it is peanuts when you take into account the decades the three were institutionalized, away from community and their loved ones, and subjected to a regime that allows almost no space for making your own decisions.

“In the end I can say that what I have learned about myself is how incredibly strong I am, because I have to be,” said disability rights advocate Joanne Larade in February at a panel on the lack of suitable housing for people with severe disabilities. At the panel she explained what it is like to find yourself, at the age of 42, living among people with dementia, many twice your age. Joanne passed away early last week.

Many Nova Scotians with intellectual and physical disabilities continue to live in large institutions against their will, while others are being taken care of by ageing and senior parents. Affected people are saying enough is enough. We went to today’s press conference at Province House, and transcribed in full the powerful statements by Jeannie Whidden of People First Nova Scotia, and Jen Powley, of No More Warehousing.

The Disability Rights Coalition is collecting signatures to an open letter to Premier Stephen McNeil, asking his government to stop warehousing people with disabilities and focus on investing in community living options instead. Alternatively, the group is asking people who are institutionalized and/or waiting for a community living space to file an individual human rights complaint.