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.
“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.
Scott Neigh, of the excellent Talking Radical podcast, interviews Marty Wexler and Claire McNeil about the fight against institutionalization in Nova Scotia and the appalling Human Rights tribunal decision (which is being appealed).
A little bit of good news for anybody wants people labelled as living with intellectual disabilities to have better access to community-based housing options in Nova Scotia.
The Disability Rights Coalition is 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 needs.
“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.
Media release: Over 1,000 Nova Scotians with disabilities are currently being warehoused in rehabilitation centres, nursing homes, and other institutional facilities. Over 1,500 persons with disabilities remain waitlisted for housing supports.
Here is a short video, recently released by the Disability Rights Coalition, that presents the case for community living in Nova Scotia in a powerful way. The video contains strong language and some violence.