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Three Nova Scotians awarded damages after facing disability discrimination

Complainants improperly housed in acute care hospital for “years on end”

1 min read
caption The ruling released by the independent inquiry board released December 4
Abigail Trevino

An independent board of inquiry has awarded damages ranging from $60,000 to $140,000 to three Nova Scotians with disabilities who faced discrimination at the hand of the provincial government.

Walter Thompson, chair of the board, ruled that Beth MacLean, Joseph Delaney and Sheila Livingston had faced discrimination at the hands of the health-care system, and were entitled to financial compensation.

Delaney and MacLean were both awarded $140,000. Sheila Livingstone, who died in October 2016, was awarded $60,000, to be paid in trust.

Thompson also stated in his decision, released Wednesday, that the two living complainants should be rehoused and moved into small group homes designed for long-term care.

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The human rights complaint was filed in 2014, and hearings concluded in November 2018.

The ruling comes after all three of the complainants were housed in Emerald Hall for years, a facility intended for short-term treatment of acute psychiatric illnesses. Thompson found the province failed to place them in suitable group homes. Delaney still lives in Emerald Hall.

As it was not designed for long-term care, Emerald Hall is locked 24 hours a day, preventing residents from leaving unless family or staff are available to escort them out. The ruling concluded that living in Emerald Hall for years on end has an “adverse impact” on their quality of life.

A report released in March said MacLean, Livingstone and Delaney had been discriminated against on the basis of physical and intellectual disabilities.

Thompson’s ruling addressed what damages should be awarded.

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Abigail Trevino

Abigail is a fourth year journalism student at the University of King's College. She is also the publisher of The Watch, the university's campus...

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