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.

Joey Delaney, the Nova Scotia citizen who suffered terribly as a consequence of being inappropriately warehoused at the NS Hospital, was awarded a mere $100,000 by NS Human Rights inquiry chair J. Walter Thompson. After all, he found Joey Delaney “so disabled that payment to him of a very large sum will not have a greater impact on his life than a moderate sum.” Such ableist reasoning makes Warren (Gus) Reed very angry.

“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.”