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.
We talk with Wendy Lill, chair of the Community Homes Action Group, to understand what the provincial budget means for people labeled with developmental disabilities who are locked up in institutions. or at home, waiting for an opportunity to live in the community like you and I. It doesn’t look good.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Joint media release by People First Canada and People First Nova Scotia tackles the decision in the recent Human Rights tribunal on warehousing of people with intellectual disabilities. “To completely dismiss the idea that people with disabilities are discriminated against in most every system in our society is not someone being ‘un-woke’ – this is someone who is completely unaware and obviously not paying attention.”
NS Human Rights Board chair Walter Thompson ruled that the Nova Scotia government has indeed discriminated against Beth MacLean, Sheila Livingstone and Joey Delaney, three people who were institutionalized against their will. When I first heard the news I thought it was a wonderful victory. Now that I have read the decision I think it mostly sucks, but it isn’t all bad.
Here is why.