PSA: Equity Watch webinar, 15 December 4:30 pm Atlantic: People with disabilities fight segregation and demand inclusion
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.
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.
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.
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.”