The number of Nova Scotians housed in institutions remains disproportionately high in comparison to other Canadian jurisdictions. A complaint to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is currently being heard by J. Walter Thompson.
In 2014 a complaint to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission was made on behalf of three residents living in an institutionalized setting who have disabilities and the Disability Rights Coalition. Since the complaint was filed one of the residents passed away. They have been living for many years in a hospital setting, despite being medically cleared to be released from hospital. The complainants allege that living in the institutional setting is discriminatory and that they want to live in community in small options home.
Expert witnesses have testified on behalf of the complainants, offering insight into the many ways that institutionalization disempowers people and causes psychological and physical harm. With the current wait list at 504 people waiting for supportive housing, and an additional 1024 people currently living in large congregate institutions and group homes while they await transfer to a home of their choice in community. The eight small options homes currently being developed in the province are not sufficient to meet this need. Community Homes Action Group (CHAG) is a group of concerned citizens, health care professionals, educators, researchers, parents and advocates focused on the crisis in residential options for persons with developmental disabilities and to work with the provincial government to find solutions.
The following is an excerpt of a letter from CHAG sent to the Hon. Karen Casey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board in February, 2018.
“Community Homes Action Group recommends an investment in at least 25 new small option homes each year for the next three years. This would create up to 75 new supportive living homes in communities across the province by 2021 supporting up to 300 people with disabilities currently on waitlists and in inappropriate housing. ”
The pace needs to be stepped up to move people with developmental disabilities from institutions, so they may live full and inclusive lives in community.
The links below are from media coverage during the Human Rights Commission Hearing. Follow updates on this story on our social media platforms:
https://www.facebook.com/nsacl/ and https://twitter.com/NSACL http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/beth-maclean-claims-15-years-spent-in-hospital-discrimination-1.3093066 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/nova-scotia-human-rights-case-seeks-to-establish-right-to-supported-housing-for-people-with-disabilities/article37847947/ https://magic106.com/news/4023235/n-s-inquiry-disabilities-housing/ https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/03/08/people-with-disabilities-lose-hope-skills-in-psychiatric-hospital-nova-scotia-therapist.html http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-february-6-2018-1.4522000/people-with-disabilities-have-a-right-to-live-in-the-community-not-institutions-argues-lawyer-1.4522928 http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/nova-scotia-argues-that-supported-housing-for-disabled-is-not-a-right http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/austerity-logic-led-to-worse-housing-for-people-with-disabilities-expert-1.4690704 http://www.timescolonist.com/patients-stuck-at-halifax-forensic-hospital-for-years-rights-inquiry-told-1.23325464