lawyer representing two people with disabilities in Nova Scotia says that they have been unnecessarily isolated from society and forced to live in institutions because of the lack of supervised residences in the community suited to their needs.
The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission began hearing Monday the case of Joseph Delaney, 45, and Beth MacLean, 46, who claim the right to receive the support they need to live elsewhere. only in institutions similar to a hospital.
The commission will also look at the case of Sheila Livingstone, a disabled woman who died before her case could be heard.
Attorney Vince Calderhead said Monday that the three plaintiffs had spent years locked in a locked wing of a hospital without medical or legal justification. According to him, these are the “last vestiges” of asylums of the past where the poor were housed.
Ms. Calderhead felt that keeping people with intellectual or physical disabilities in institutions where they have no control over their lives, their exits and where they are forced to live far from their families is a violation of the Act. the human rights of the province.
The Government of Nova Scotia, for its part, has argued that refusing to fund a supervised home in the community for persons with disabilities does not necessarily constitute a violation of their human rights.
Kevin Kindred, a Justice Department lawyer, told the panel that while the province supports the principle of community care, it is not a fundamental right as defined by law.
Some activists believe that this case, which will be heard over the next two months, could be critical for people with disabilities in Nova Scotia.