We are hopeful that the courts will rule that, no matter what Mr. Webb’s disability, he wants to live in society and should have the right to do so. No one should be locked up because he or she is disabled or needs appropriate support in order to live successfully in the community.Really?
No one should be locked up because he or she is disabled or needs appropriate support in order to live successfully in the community?
I can see thousands of individuals with disabilities and their family members across the province shaking their heads in disbelief ... wondering why in the world this thought had not occurred to them, too.
At any rate, I sincerely hope both the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and Joe Q. Public can keep that concept in firmly in mind when the human rights complaint brought by three residents of Emerald Hall is heard later this year.
Yes, this is the very same human rights complaint where individuals had been forced to live in a psychiatric hospital for up to 13 years (with no end in sight) for the simple reason that the Department of Community Services either couldn't or wouldn't provide them with placement in the community.
The very same complaint where the investigation conducted on behalf of the Human Rights Commission found that “the existence of discrimination cannot be denied", yet, incredulously the investigator recommended that the complaint be dismissed. That would have been the end of the matter had the complainants' lawyers not fought on and brought the matter before the Commission for a review, arguing successfully that it should go forward to a hearing.
News Flash #1: Individuals with disabilities who cannot live in the community without support need someone to provide them that support.
News Flash #2: Caregivers don't work for free - someone has to pay them a living wage.
And just who would that "someone" be? For the uninitiated, it would be the provincial government in the form of the Department of Community Service's Disability Support Program.
But what happens if you are forced to rely on a system where the wait list for residential placement currently sits at over 1000 people?
What are individuals with disabilities and their families to do when they want nothing more than to live in the community but simply can't move out of their family home, Emerald Hall or an institution because the Dept of Community Services won't provide the funding for the type of support the person
requires to be successful in the community?
Could there be anything the public could possibly do to help?
Oh, wait. I know. One really helpful move would be to bash an individual's family members for the continuation of institutions in Nova Scotia.
I have yet to meet anyone in the disability community who wants to see their family member housed in an institution. Have you?
* You might have noticed that the sarcasm was a bit thick in this post. That's something I generally work very hard to avoid, but sometimes a person simply has to use whatever tools are at their disposal to make people see that a spade really is a spade.
** Part III will, as promised, will examine take a look at the alternative being presented to guardianship at the moment - supported decision-making.