A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
~Yoko Ono

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Continuing Saga of Human Rights in Nova Scotia

In my last post, we discussed the (hopefully) upcoming changes to the Disability Support Program following the ruling of the NS Court of Appeal in the human rights case involving three residents of the NS Hospital.

I gave some of the backstory and talked about the interim agreement reached between the Disability Rights Coalition and the Province.

Believe me, after all these years, I'm as cynical as anyone else when it comes to wholesale changes in how (and if) Nova Scotia delivers services to individuals with disabilities. 

But the one change (and if this doesn't make a difference, I can't see how anything else ever will) in this case is a decision with the force of law behind it.

The NS Court of Appeal agreed with us and the Supreme Court of Canada denied the Province's leave to appeal so .... there's really nowhere else for them to go.

Our family attended one of the in-person sessions held across the Province and it was ... interesting. Kentville was suppose to be the third meeting but ended up being the first and the Province readily admitted that it wasn't prepared for the turnout. 

A few interesting take-aways from the meeting. 

  • The Province has 5 years to implement all the changes set out in the Agreement.
  • They will need to hire 100 more social workers to make this work.
  • The plan is to hire 25 social workers every year.*
  • The waiting list that always 'wasn't** will no longer exist.
  • Instead your worker will come to you to ask where and how you want to live.
A very astute person in the audience asked what would happen if suitable housing wasn't available (which seems to be the case for a lot of people in the Province, with disabilities or not). The response was something to the effect that if you couldn't find what you were looking for, you would need to wait until you could. I assume that meant you would need to 'settle for something else'  (of your choice) in the interim but you know what they say about the danger of assuming. Although I suppose we can't legitimately ask the Province at this point to figure that (or a lot of other things) out right away.

The sessions are over now so I hope at least some of you attended.

BUT the reason I started this post was ... [drum roll please] ... I actually read the plain language executive summary of the independent expert report today. I found it a little hard to navigate at first - how the heck do I find p. 2 - but it turns out the squiggly little up and down arrows at the bottom of the page did the trick. It's very short and I make no comment on its sweetness but I would suggest we all at least start there.

The full report (which I admit I have not yet read) can be found here.

Very well. Carry on.

*Meaning that it will take 4 years just to get the staff they need.

** I assume most of us have found that depending on who you speak with (and when), there may or may not be a waiting list for services.

No comments: