October 31, 2018 1:14 pm
Updated: October 31, 2018 4:05 pm

Disability rights advocates occupy Quebec ombudsman’s office, demand meeting with health minister

Disability rights activists are staging a sit-in at the Quebec Ombudsman's office. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018.

Anne Lecalir/Global News

A group of about a dozen disability rights advocates spent Wednesday morning standing their ground and demanding help from the Quebec government.

They gathered at Phillips Square in downtown Montreal to protest what they call a crisis in the social services sector.

A smaller group of advocates, many in wheelchairs, made their way into a conference room at the Quebec ombudsman’s office on the 10th floor at 1080 Beaver Hall.

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“We are 10 individuals under the banner Mouvement PHAS demanding to speak with the Quebec health minister regarding help for people with disabilities,” Sam Kuhn from Coalition Autisme Quebec said.

“We are currently occupying the ombudsman’s office, we asked them to contact the minister of health — this office refused and so we are refusing to move.”

READ MORE: Montreal parents claim autistic daughter denied basic therapy

Kuhn, who has two daughters with disabilities, has already made headlines for his fight for psychological assessments and speech therapy services after his daughters failed to get the help they were promised.

He recently filed human rights complaints against two Montreal school boards.

Martin Dion, the member of Mouvement PHAS, holds up a sign at the occupation.

Courtesy of Sam Kuhn

The latest move from PHAS is just the first of a series in what the group calls an “escalating campaign of direct action by people with disabilities.”

The advocates left in the early afternoon. The group’s plan was to stay put until Quebec’s new Health Minister Danielle McCann, agreed to meet with them.

“The occupation is over,” Kuhn said. “The director agreed to pass on our demands to the minister.”

READ MORE: Quebec plans to freeze salary increases for medical specialists

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