"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Monday, May 8, 2017

NEWS RELEASE: DISABILITY RIGHTS COALITION

UPCOMING PROVINCIAL ELECTION

We are asking you to take action in your home communities to support and address issues relating to individuals with disabilities and their families.  We share with you our latest News Release and ask you to also share/post it on your websites/facebook & tweet away...

Contact your local candidate and ask them what their position is on the "Transformation Process"...or attend a candidates meeting...

Contact local media in your area to see whether a story could be done on these issues pertaining to the Transformation and how it relates in your community.

DRC have asked for meetings with Premier McNeil & Opposition party leaders to highlight our concerns & the issues facing our community.  This is a chance to have your voices heard.

Ask other family & community members to support you in your efforts!

NEWS RELEASE DISABILITY RIGHTS COALITION

Since 2014 the Liberal government stalls Human Rights Complaint that was filed jointly with three individual complainants, the Disability Rights Coalition(DRC) and the Canadian Elizabeth Fry Society.

In light of the recent Report Card released by CHAG--Community Housing Action Group April 10th that identified the Liberal government’s failure in moving forward with the 10 recommendations found in the Roadmap and the recent article in the Herald April 17, titled “No quick shift for care of the mentally challenged in NS,” makes it necessary for the DRC to speak publicly about this government’s attitude and lack of regard it has for persons with disabilities living good lives in the community.The three individuals who are parties to the Human Rights complaint have been incarcerated in a NS institution for years now, long after being ready for community living. The government, Department of Community Services, refused to move them as long as litigation was ongoing. How do we have faith in this current government who responds to this HR complaint by refusing to support three individuals as part of its transformation of 25 individuals into the community with no commitment to resolving this and improving the quality of their lives.

From January 2017 to present the Province has proposed a mediation process as an alternative to a Board of Inquiry for DRC, offering our members the opportunity to participate in a 1 day workshop on the DSP Transformation Process and to have one seat on an Advisory Committee for Phase 3. DRC has declined this offer based on its member’s vast experience and expertise within community supporting persons with disabilities to live full lives with much success; and our knowledge of the previous Advisory Committee members throughout Phase 1 & 2 who were not allowed to divulge any information discussed at these committee meetings.

At this point there is much rhetoric from the Provincial government about what they say they have accomplished but we see little evidence of outcomes or how they plan to “build capacity” within our communities, as stated in the Herald article. To date, despite our desire to work in partnership with the Liberal Government, there has been no dialogue with us as a cross-disability provincial coalition or with residential agencies throughout NS who have been successfully supporting and building community capacity for persons with disabilities for decades.

TMELINE:

  • On August 1st, 2014 the Human Rights Complaint was filed. On August 11th,the complaint was rejected by the provincial government. Throughout August to November/14 an application for judicial review was submitted.
  • In March 2015 a Human Rights investigator recommends against a formal hearing despite finding discriminatory treatment. Parties make a submission to the Human Rights Commission urging it to move forward to a Board of Inquiry.
  • In May/15 the NS Human Rights Commission refers complaint to Board of Inquiry for a hearing and the Elizabeth Fry Society was dismissed with no cause.
  • June/15 Mr. Walter Thompson was appointed to Chair the single person Board of Inquiry and in August/15 Mr. Thompson convenes the first pre-hearing conference.
  • Throughout August-September/15 the Province objects to several requests for disclosure submitted by DRC including information about the closures of the Children’s Training Centres, Quest, the Braemore Inquiry, waitlists, records of institutional abuse throughout the province and the “moratorium” supposedly imposed by government to prevent the development of placement options.
  • January, 2016, Mr. Thompson cancels hearing dates for Feb/16 due to the slow pace at which government was providing pre-hearing disclosure and by March/16 orders the province to disclose the information requested by DRC/HRC with the exception of the records of abuse in NS Institutions.
  • New hearing dates were set for September/16.
  • Throughout January-September/16 the province provides sporadic disclosure information.
  • May/16 the Province alleges that Mr. Thompson should recuse or withdraw as Chair due to “reasonable apprehension of bias” due to two letters he wrote to the then Minister of Community Services, Peter Christie 1. Asking the province to address the delays in discharging patients from a forensic unit and 2. Advocating to keep open existing community-based housing for people with disabilities in 2000-2001.
  • August/16 when Mr. Thompson dismisses the motion the Province files an appeal to the NS Court of Appeal to have him removed.
  • September/16 the province applies for a stay of proceedings and the September hearing dates were cancelled.
  • October/16 the Province argues that Mr. Thompson should not order the disclosure of the documents identified and Mr. Thompson replied in writing ordering the province to disclose all information agreed upon.
  • November 28th/16 the NS Court of Appeals hears the Province’s appeal based on “reasonable apprehension of bias.
  • February 2017 the Human Rights Commission dismisses the Province’s appeal.
The DRC would like to point out that we have been advocating for 3, now 2 individuals (due to the unfortunate passing of one of the complainants) to be approved and supported to live in community with no commitment from government who, in fact, has done nothing but stall this process from the very beginning. The Department of Community Services appears to practice systemic discrimination against people with mental and developmental disabilities by considering community options a privilege and not a RIGHT.

CONTACT:
Marty Wexler  martywexler@gmail.com

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