N.S. mom of man with disability testifies in favour of large facility residences

A woman whose son lives in a facility for people with disabilities in Halifax defended larger centres in her testimony Tuesday at a human rights hearing where the complainants are arguing for access to smaller homes.

Betty Rich, the mother of a resident of the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre, says the centre with 24 residents is what she wants for her 50-year-old son Joey Rich.

Rich, who was called as a government witness, says she believes the residents of Quest are safer there, and she would prefer her son continue to live there rather than be moved to a small options home.

Two people with intellectual disabilities, Beth MacLean and Joseph Delaney, have alleged the Department of Community Services violated the Human Rights Act by forcing them to remain at the Emerald Hall psychiatric ward in Halifax for over a decade, even though they had been medically discharged.

The human rights complaint, laid in 2014, argued they should have been provided housing in a ``small options'' home after psychiatrists medically discharged them.

The province's lawyers argue that while the province supports the principle of community-based care, it's not a human right as defined in the legislation.