Nova Scotia’s highest court has ruled there is systemic discrimination in the province against people with disabilities who are seeking services and housing in the community.
In a landmark decision issued today, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal said the provincial government’s failure to offer people with disabilities “meaningful” access to housing and care is demonstrated by long wait lists.
The decision is the result of an appeal of a human rights decision that found three people with intellectual disabilities had been discriminated against by being kept in a Halifax psychiatric hospital for years.
The human rights decision also concluded that there wasn’t wider discrimination regarding how housing and supports were provided by the state to people with disabilities.
In a unanimous ruling, the three-judge appeal court panel disagreed that evidence must exist of each individual person being mistreated for systemic discrimination to occur.
During the hearing last November, lawyers for the coalition argued the mistreatment of people with disabilities includes unnecessary institutionalization, lengthy wait times, and forced removal to remote areas far from family and friends.