Disability rights advocates are hailing a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada dismissing the Nova Scotia government’s appeal of a lower court ruling on housing discrimination.
Halifax Examiner: Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Nova Scotia’s bid to appeal systemic discrimination ruling
The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed Nova Scotia’s bid to appeal a decision that found the province has for years been discriminating against people with disabilities.
On April 14th, 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision on the Province’s application for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision. The top Court dismissed the Province’s request to appeal. In doing so, the Supreme Court awarded costs against the Province, payable to the DRC.
A lawyer who represented the Disability Rights Coalition says the Houston government’s first budget doesn’t go far enough in guaranteeing that all Nova Scotians with disabilities are supported and can live in communities. (photo:CBC)
FOR THE RECORD: Although Told Repeatedly, Governments Failed to Prevent Discrimination Against Disabled
Before Omicron and protesters took over the news cycle, Nova Scotia’s new PC Premier was facing criticism for his about-face on defending in court the Province’s treatment of people with disabilities. After initially declaring that people shouldn’t have to take government to court to make it “do the right thing” Tim Houston did just that to Nova Scotians with disabilities who need supports and services to live in the community.
The Province of Nova Scotia imposes a budgetary cap on social assistance for persons with disabilities that it does not impose on social assistance for the non-disabled.
With the budgetary cap in place, the government cannot meet what the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has identified as its legal obligation to provide social assistance to persons with disabilities under the Social Assistance Act.
This government has the chance to put this right and respect its legal obligations by removing the budgetary cap.
Halifax – Labour, education, business, and community organisations together with individuals representing tens of thousands of Nova Scotians have joined together in an open letter calling on the Premier to take immediate action to fulfill the equality rights of persons with disabilities in need.
The letter calls upon the Premier to implement the Court of Appeal October 6 ruling, drop the application to the Supreme Court of Canada, negotiate a systemic human rights remedy to the problem of discrimination against people with disabilities in accessing social assistance, and end the funding cap which singles out the disabled and creates barriers to their inclusion in our communities.
A lawyer representing the province basically conceded Wednesday that the Nova Scotia government has systemically discriminated against people with disabilities, as the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal found in an October 2021 decision.
“We are not going to relitigate the issue (that was) before the Court of Appeal,” said Kevin Kindred, one of two lawyers representing the province at an independent human rights board of inquiry pre-hearing.
Instead, the province will argue that the widespread discriminatory practices, identified by the Disabled Rights Coalition and confirmed by the court, were justified. (photo: Francis Campbell)
Dozens of groups and prominent individuals have signed an open letter to Premier Tim Houston in support of a request from the Disability Rights Coalition.
The names go on for eight pages, but the request is straightforward: the signatories are demanding that the premier act immediately on a Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision last October that said the province could no longer deny people with intellectual and physical disabilities equal access to income assistance and housing/care outside of large institutions.
More than 60 groups and individuals representing tens of thousands of Nova Scotians are collectively calling on Premier Tim Houston to drop his appeal of a human rights ruling that found the province systemically discriminates against all Nova Scotians with disabilities. (photo: Ryan Taplin)