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.
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).
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.
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.”
Professor Archie Kaiser’s moving tribute to Dave Kent, one-time People First Nova Scotia president and tireless activist on behalf of people labelled with intellectual disabilities and others who have been marginalized and stigmatized.
Very sad news. Dave Kent, a much beloved People First Nova Scotia activist and spokesperson, passed away suddenly yesterday of a heart attack.
The mother of a man who lives at Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville told a human rights tribunal today that the institution is the right place for her son, who lives with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. “Joey is happy at Quest. He has a beautiful room, a beautiful yard. It’s quiet. He goes on outings,” said Betty Rich. “Small option homes aren’t a good solution for Joey. It may well be that small options works for others, but I am the mother, and I must make my own calls.”
Dave Kent, president of People First Nova Scotia and Korey Earle, president of the national People First, feel devastated that the issues they raised around the Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act (Bill 16) at Law Amendments were not taken seriously at all. “The presentations ended at 10:30 am. By 12:20 pm, the first article about it was written and online stating that the Bill had passed second reading as is.”
Abuse at institutions for people living with intellectual disabilities continues to affect way too many many residents, a recent Freedom of Information request reveals. The institutions are regulated by the Department of Community Services.
Meanwhile, legislation to ensure that vulnerable residents are protected against abuse and incidents properly investigated is not effective, advocates say.