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.”
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)
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.