Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A Nova Scotia Human Rights enquiry reached a crucial stage last Wednesday after closing statements were delivered by the Province of Nova Scotia, the respondent in the case. If the enquiry chair finds that the way government deals with housing needs of people with disabilities is indeed discriminatory, then, and only then, will there be a second phase, to determine  to what extent the Province must make changes in its policies and activities.

Paul Vienneau is one of the accessibility advocates who successfully challenged the government’s refusal to enforce health and safety regulations when it comes to accessible washrooms. After a long battle with the Human Rights Commission there finally was a human rights tribunal, and in September they won their case. Just this Friday the government announced that it accepts the decision. Paul is NOT impressed.

Warren (Gus) Reed is one of the successful complainants in a recent human rights case that considered the province’s refusal to enforce accessible washrooms in restaurants. Here Reed looks back on the tribunal in all its absurdity. “It is typical of the provincial authorities not to exercise any creative economic thinking.  Accessibility calls for new approaches and less whining!,” writes Reed, who pulls out a calculator himself. The money spent on government lawyers could have been spent so much wiser.

Didn’t hear much about the police check study over the summer, but the NS Human Rights Commission recently launched an online survey asking all HRM residents about their encounters with police. We have long argued that what is needed is not yet another study, but an immediate stop to the racist practice, but maybe the survey has some redeeming qualities.

In July we reported on a Nova Scotia Human Rights tribunal asked to decide whether to prevent people who use wheelchairs from washing their hands in a restaurant amounts to discrimination. Well, this time the good guys won, and the the province lost. Another loser was the NS Human Rights Commission, which did not want to consider the case until told by a judge to do so,

Day two of Community Services deputy minister’s testimony at the human rights enquiry: When it comes to community living, government inaction is the operative word, and that hasn’t substantially changed with the end of the so-called moratorium on small options homes. Individuals continue to languish in large institutions, and parents continue to worry about what will happen to their loved ones when they die.