Remedy in Disability Rights Coalition v Province of Nova Scotia

The human rights complaint of Beth MacLean, Sheila Livingstone, Joseph Delaney and Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia vs. Province of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission examined the practise of institutionalization of persons with disabilities resulting in a finding of systemic discrimination and a remedy that promises to transform how Nova Scotians with disabilities are supported to live in community.

This is a monumental undertaking guided by a five-year resolution process which will be monitored by an independent expert, and progress reported on an ongoing basis via this webpage.

An important part of this undertaking is that it will be public facing and the reporting will be done on a scheduled basis to monitor the work of the Province in the implementation of the terms of the interim settlement agreement.

All parties to this matter have been working collaboratively to secure an independent monitor to oversee the remedy process. Upon selection an announcement will be made and posted here. A detailed timeline will be developed outlining the progress to fulfill the work described in the expert report and guided by the terms of the interim settlement agreement.

Below you will find a list of decisions and announcements related to this historic human rights case, and a selection of media coverage throughout the process. You can also find background information related to this case on the Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia website

June 3, 2024: Province Submits Annual Progress Report to Human Rights Commission

The Province submitted the first annual progress report to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

May 10, 2024: Expert Monitor Contracted

In accordance with section C. of the interim consent order and Settlement Agreement, Dr. Michael Prince has been appointed as independent monitor for the purpose of making periodic assessments and reporting on  the Province's compliance and progress under the Interim Settlement Agreement.  The expert monitor role was established to provide unbiased and public facing reporting on the progress of a 5-year plan to address the issue of community housing for people with mental and physical disabilities who have historically been housed in institutions. Dr. Prince was jointly selected by the parties in this matter and has been contracted by the Human Rights Commission until terms of the interim settlement remedy recommendations are fulfilled by the province.  

Dr. Prince is a Canadian expert in federal-provincial relations, disability issues, social discrimination, income security and poverty and housing related issues. To aid in this work Dr. Prince may utilize the services of Melina Buckley, as an expert legal advisor. Both the monitor and the legal advisor will remain entirely independent of the parties in their reporting roles.

June 29, 2023: Board of Inquiry Decision on Remedy Issued

Board Chair Donald C. Murray’s decision included an interim consent order and an interim settlement agreement outlining a five-year resolution process. The interim consent order in this case will act as a public commitment by all parties.  This interim order allows the Board of Inquiry to keep jurisdiction over the matter given the amount of time it will take to implement.

April 26, 2023: Human Rights Review and Remedy for the Finding of Systemic Discrimination Against Nova Scotians with Disabilities Released

The report, titled Human Rights Review and Remedy for the Finding of Systemic Discrimination Against Nova Scotians with Disabilities, was jointly commissioned by the Disability Rights Coalition and the Department of Community Services. It was prepared by Eddie Bartnik, an internationally recognized expert in disability, mental health and community services from Australia, and Tim Stainton, a professor in the school of social work at the University of British Columbia and Director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the university.

The report includes six key directions with supporting action plans and timelines for implementation. The Province and the Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia have agreed that the recommendations will form the basis of a remedy for this human rights complaint.

February 11, 2022: Newly Constituted Board of Inquiry Announced

This newly constituted board of inquiry resumed hearings on the matter following the decision by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

Donald Murray, who is independent of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, was appointed as board chair.

At the outset of this hearing the parties agreed on a path forward and that included a collaborative approach to the complaint rather than further litigation.  This left the issue of remedy as the final issue to be determined.

Given the scope of the systemic discrimination finding the parties agreed that they needed expert guidance on what a realistic and workable remedy should look like for Nova Scotians with disabilities who have faced discrimination accessing housing and unnecessary institutionalization.

The parties worked together to identify and secure an expert panel to make a report and recommendation to the Board of Inquiry.

October 6, 2021: Nova Scotia Court of Appeal Decision Issued

The December 5, 2019, decision of the Board of Inquiry was appealed in part.  The resulting  Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision found systemic discrimination was proven at the Borad of Inquiry and that the Board of Inquiry was in error on that count.  The case was sent back to a newly constituted Board of Inquiry to resume arguments on the issues of systemic discrimination and remedy.

December 5, 2019: Board of Inquiry Decision on Remedy Issued

In his decision, Board Chair J. Walter Thompson awarded damages to complainants and family members as follows:

  • $140,000 in trust to each Joey Delaney and Beth MacLean with $40,000 from each to cover legal costs;
  • $60,000 to be paid in trust to Sheila Livingstone (now deceased), $40,000 of which to cover legal costs, and $10,000 to be paid to each of Olga Cain (sister of Ms. Livingstone) and Jackie McCabe-Sieliakus (niece of Ms. Livingstone).
  • News Release
  • Remedy Decision

March 4, 2019: Board of Inquiry Decision on Prima Facia Discrimination Issued

Board chair J. Walter Thompson found that the province discriminated against the complainants, Beth MacLean, Sheila Livingstone, and Joey Delaney in the provision of access to services or facilities on account of mental and physical disability. It did not find systemic discrimination against Nova Scotians with disabilities in relation to access to housing or institutionalization.

Media Coverage

Progress and Monitoring Reports

Interim Progress Reports

April 23, 2024: Addendum to Januar 2024 Interim Progress Report

January 2024

Annual Progress Reports

May 2024

Comments from Parties

  • [will be posted when available]

Monitoring Reports

  • [will be posted when available]