Human rights of people with disabilities violated by hospital: inquiry

A human rights inquiry has found that the human rights of three people with intellectual disabilities were violated by confining them in a Nova Scotia hospital ward for more than a decade.

The applicants in the case, Beth MacLean, Joseph Delaney and the late Sheila Livingstone, had argued that the province should have provided them with small homes in the community with suitable care and support.

The Disability Rights Coalition, an advocacy group, was also a complainant in the case.

Walter Thompson, the chairman of the board of inquiry, found that the province discriminated against the complainants on account of mental and physical disability.

However, he did not find that the province discriminated against persons with disabilities who reside in institutions generally or who are on a waiting list for placement in a small-options home.

Thompson concluded that each disabled person's circumstances must be assessed individually and then a decision made as to whether they had meaningful access to services.

This decision is the first in a two-stage process.

The second part of the hearing, to be held later this year, will allow the province to argue whether the discrimination is justified in accordance with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.