The deputy minister of Community Services told a legislative hearing Tuesday that Nova Scotia does not have a specific schedule for phasing out large institutional facilities for persons with disabilities. The government is committed to closing the facilities, as recommended in a report from ten years ago. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal concluded in October 2021 that the province’s refusal to provide “meaningful” access to housing services for people with disabilities amounted to a breach of their fundamental rights.
This is similar to Olmstead v. L.C., which was decided in June of 1999 by the United States Supreme Court. It required states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of individuals with disabilities and to ensure that people with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting suitable to their needs.
Eight adult residential and regional rehabilitation facilities are still operating, according to the deputy minister, but one of them, Harbourside Lodge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, which is home to 22 people right now, is set to close by the end of this year.
As of March 31, 498 individuals were residing in adult residential and regional rehabilitation facilities, according to the Department of Community Services. Another 375 were accommodated in residential-care facilities, which provide permanent government-assisted accommodation for persons who require personal care and assistance with day-to-day living.
All disabled people should be able to live in their communities. We belong in the same neighborhoods as our family and friends. People like Vicky Levack who has Cerebral Palsy shouldn’t be stuck in institutions for a decade. Nova Scotians shouldn’t be forced into institutions when they would be able to live in the community with the proper support.
Doucette, Keith. “Despite Court Ruling, No Timeline for Closing N.S. Institutions for Disabled People.” CTV News, CTV News, 6 Sept. 2022, https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/despite-court-ruling-no-timeline-for-closing-n-s-institutions-for-disabled-people-1.6057062.
“How Two Women Changed Thousands of Lives.” Disability Rights Texas, Disability Rights Texas, 17 June 2019, http://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/2019/06/17/olmstead20th/.