Slow rollout leaves persons with disabilities on waitlists

Basic quality of life is at risk for many as a result of the Liberal government’s slow phase-out of Nova Scotia’s eight adult residential facilities, says Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg MLA Brian Comer.

The Standing Committee on Community Services will be discussing phasing out Adult Residential Centre and Regional Rehabilitation Centre Facilities today.

“This isn’t just paperwork. These are people’s lives and the lives of their families that are put on hold as a result of this government’s lacklustre approach to governing,” says Comer. “Their lack of action on their own commitments directly impacts those waiting to start living their lives in the community.”

The goal in phasing out these facilities is to have their residents living and contributing to society in a more independent, community-focused manner, and was formally started in June of 2013 with the creation of a joint government Community Advisory Committee.

The road map was to take five years, but the Liberal government added five years to that plan, pushing it to 2023, and leaving Nova Scotia as one of the last provinces to close all of its institutions.

“Almost eight years with this report collecting dust with little to show for it, and all the while people are waiting in facilities and with their families,” says Comer.

The only measurable progress came in 2017 when the government announced its commitment to open eight small option homes to support 32 individuals. To date, four homes are in use; the remaining four were announced late yesterday in advance of today’s meeting.

“On the eve of this committee, the Liberal government is scrambling to show its work on a promise years in the making,” says Steve Craig, MLA Sackville - Cobequid. “Part of governing means you are taking responsibility for people who can’t take care of themselves. People with disabilities and their families don’t deserve to wait years for the government to get its act together.”

As of yesterday, over 1,500 people were on waitlists for community placements.