N.S. hearing delayed on housing for disabled people as province decides on exemption

·1 min read

HALIFAX — A hearing before Nova Scotia's Human Rights Commission about housing discrimination against people with disabilities is being delayed while the province determines how it will proceed.

Donald Murray, chair of the commission's board of inquiry, is allowing government lawyer Kevin Kindred until July 11 to decide whether the province will try to exempt itself from a decision by Nova Scotia's top court.

The Court of Appeal ruled against the province last year, stating the government's failure to offer “meaningful'' access to housing for people with disabilities amounted to a violation of their basic rights.

Nova Scotia's Human Rights Act says the province can exempt itself from that ruling if it can prove the discrimination is justified in a free and democratic society.

But Kindred told the hearing today he would be willing to forgo the exemption if he is assured the government would be able to offer housing and services to people with disabilities in a pragmatic way.

The original human rights case was launched by three people with intellectual disabilities who spent years confined in a Dartmouth, N.S., psychiatric hospital despite medical opinions stating they could be housed in the community.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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