January 2023: Eddie Bartnik and Tim Stainton, independent reviewers, release an update on their work towards a systemic human rights remedy to end the discrimination against persons with disabilities as found by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
Nova Scotia does not have a precise timeline for phasing out large institutional housing for people with disabilities, the deputy minister of the Department of Community Services told a legislature hearing Tuesday. (Jean Laroche/CBC)
On the eve of the anniversary of the all-party endorsement of the “Roadmap” on equality for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia, the Disability Rights Coalition (DRC) applauds the Premier for his government’s decision to abandon any attempt to justify the systemic discrimination found by this Province’s highest Court in October of 2021 against persons with disabilities.
Nine months later, now that the Province has abandoned its bid to justify the discrimination, the next step is a collaborative process to craft an effective and meaningful remedy that fixes the discriminatory government system.
A lawyer representing a disability rights group in Nova Scotia says he’s relieved the province won’t try to exempt itself from a court ruling that concluded the province discriminated against people with disabilities who were seeking housing.
An independent human rights board of inquiry in the matter of Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia, Beth MacLean, Sheila Livingstone and Joseph Delaney vs. the Province of Nova Scotia will continue Tuesday, July 12.
The board chair in this hearing is Donald Murray, who is independent of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Express, 980 Parkland Dr., Halifax. The proceedings will be livestreamed on this webapge.
“There’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel but we’re just hoping that the tunnel is shorter than what we thought,” said Claire McNeil, a lawyer for the Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia.
Vicky Levack was recently interviewed on the Todd Veinotte Show, CityNews 95.7 about the aims and current status of the court proceedings that the Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia is involved in.
“The Court of Appeal ruled last year that the government’s failure to offer “meaningful” access to housing for people with disabilities amounted to a violation of their basic rights. But under Section 6 of Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Act, the province can exempt itself from that ruling if it can prove the discrimination is justified in a free and democratic society.” -Keith Doucette
A Disability Rights Coalition lawyer says there can only be one conclusion as to why the province does not do the right thing for Nova Scotia’s disabled.
“Fundamentally, they (government) don’t care about people with disabilities,” said Claire McNeil. “They say they do and you hear that all the time from this premier and previous premiers and ministers of community services but actions speak louder than words and the solution to this problem has been staring us in the face for decades and other provinces have done it and we haven’t.”