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On July 19, 2016, the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) filed a Manitoba Human Rights Complaint

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On July 19, 2016, the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) filed a Manitoba Human Rights Complaint on behalf of Tyson Sylvester and Amelia (Amy) Hampton against Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, Manitoba Families, and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

The complaint stated that the Respondents have discriminated against Mr. Sylvester, Ms. Hampton, and others based on their age and physical disability. Tyson, Amy, and others qualified for comprehensive resources before they graduated high school or turned 18 (whichever came first). After graduating high school or turning 18, they no longer qualified for these resources despite continuing to have the same needs.

The Respondents have each been provided the opportunity to respond to the complaints. Their response is as follows:

  • On 19 October 2016, the WRHA responded by indicating that they deny the complaint. Specifically, they are not responsible for the administration of the Children’s disABILITY Services Program (“CDSP”) or the Community Living disABILITY Services (“CLDS”). They indicated that the MHCP is not intended to eliminate the role of families in providing personal care. They also indicated that the complaint is frivolous and vexatious.
  • On 21 October 2016, Manitoba Families responded by indicating that there was no merit to the complaint. They stated that it is frivolous is nature because the CLDS is ameliorative in nature.
  • On 18 October 2016, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living responded by stating that they are not service providers and therefore cannot be found to be discriminating against Tyson and Amy. Rather, they state that the RHAs are responsible for the provision of services.

Currently we are waiting for the report of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission in response to the complaint.

Danielle’s Story

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It was a tough lesson in injustice when Danielle Otto had to kick off her career in law by taking legal action.

Danielle was part of the 6,000 students who won a case against the Law School Admission Council, which previously denied persons with disabilities extra time completing its standardized test, the LSAT.

Unfortunately, she’s gotten used to getting nothing done without a fight.
“I don’t struggle academically, but I definitely struggle with the system,” says Danielle, a second-year law student with visual impairment and difficulty with fine motor control. “If you don’t have a fighting personality, it’s pretty hard to accomplish much of anything.”

In fact, since graduating high school and choosing to live on her own, the battles have gotten even more tedious and mundane: “it’s a situation of fighting to go to the bathroom enough times a day,” says Danielle.

Qualifying for only 43.25 hours of assistance in the home per week, Danielle has to pay for a private service to help her when she’s out of the house – for instance, when she’s interning at the Public Interest Law Centre for the summer. Though something as simple as going to the bathroom takes about 15 minutes – she’s charged for a minimum of two hours per instance, which costs $65. The province subsidizes about 65 per cent of this cost, but at $20 per bathroom break, the costs run up.
“I know a lot of people just don’t eat or drink during the day, but that’s not a sacrifice I’m willing to make,” says Danielle.

In order to work, Danielle fought for self-managed hours, which enables her to hire private help outside of the home. She experienced resistance to her inconsistent lifestyle from these agencies, because the services available to her are intended for much older individuals.

“It really sucks to be like, ‘Sorry work, I can’t come because my staff didn’t show up.’ It can make me seem like a flake, but it’s for reasons that I can’t control at all.

“The system is not premised on ‘How can we help Danielle be her best?’ It’s ‘What is Danielle incapable of doing, and what is the minimum level of support we can provide to make that happen?’ The system is so stringent it makes it really challenging to be where I need to be, and do what I need to do.
“I’m left to kind of struggle and figure it out.”

Tyson’s Story

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One sunny day in June 2018, Tyson sat in a prison cell in the middle of Old Market Square. While passersby expressed shock to see him there, Tyson was eager to get the message across: the province’s care system has locked him out of his own life.

For three years, Tyson has been dealing with the aftermath of losing services after high school. When he was in school, he led an active lifestyle and dreamt of going to university to study computer science. He enjoyed a busy social life and spent time connecting with others online.

After graduating, his life took a sharp turn. Tyson had to return the screen reader he had been given to access the computer, not only for leisure but also for necessities like online banking. Instead of going out every day for school and social activities, Tyson found himself stuck at home without a support worker to assist him in going out. The only service he qualifies for is home care, which is capped at 55 hours each week. Home care involves only basic support with things like bathing, clothing, medical prescriptions, and warming up food and laundry. It doesn’t involve any kind of assistance outside the home. The home care hours are so limited that Tyson sometimes had to choose between necessities like breakfast and laundry. Because Tyson felt unsafe without the necessary supports, he recently moved to a personal care home in Winnipeg.

When he was younger, Tyson was able to live his active lifestyle with the support of a personal care worker who assisted him in going out and attending social events. Now, stuck at home, Tyson is feeling the loneliness of an extrovert surrounded by four walls. That is why he took his experience to the public on that day in June.

Tyson is driven by the hope that this campaign will change things for him and other individuals with physical disabilities in Manitoba. No one should lose services that have allowed them to thrive. No one should be locked out of their life.

Amy’s Story

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When Amy graduated from high school, she was eager to continue her education and go to university. Always leading an active life, Amy was good at balancing school, spending time with her close-knit group of friends, and attending programs at the Movement Centre. But graduating from high school didn’t open any new doors for her – in fact, she lost her access to services that made it possible for her to pursue all the activities she enjoyed. Amy even lost access to medical services such as physiotherapy and occupational therapists as well as specialized equipment.

This sudden loss of services and independence is a common story for individuals with physical disabilities in Manitoba. It looks different for everyone, but it always involves getting shut out of services that had been available before turning 18 or graduating from high school. For Amy, it meant that she lost the ability to go to school and has had to reduce her time with friends.

These changes have shut Amy out of her social life and her dreams of attending university. They’ve had an impact on her family, too. Amy’s mother used to work when Amy was in school, but now she is her daily caregiver. Amy’s parents are aging and are worried about what will happen to her in the future. They are very worried about where Amy will live and who will care for her when they are no longer able to take care of her in their home. Amy and her family are fighting for continued access to the services and supports she used to have, so that she can go back to living her active lifestyle and pursuing her dreams.

On July 19, 2016, the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) filed a Manitoba Human Rights Complaint

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On July 19, 2016, the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) filed a Manitoba Human Rights Complaint on behalf of Tyson Sylvester and Amelia (Amy) Hampton against Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living, Manitoba Families, and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

The complaint stated that the Respondents have discriminated against Mr. Sylvester, Ms. Hampton, and others based on their age and physical disability. Tyson, Amy, and others qualified for comprehensive resources before they graduated high school or turned 18 (whichever came first). After graduating high school or turning 18, they no longer qualified for these resources despite continuing to have the same needs.

The Respondents have each been provided the opportunity to respond to the complaints. Their response is as follows:

  • On 19 October 2016, the WRHA responded by indicating that they deny the complaint. Specifically, they are not responsible for the administration of the Children’s disABILITY Services Program (“CDSP”) or the Community Living disABILITY Services (“CLDS”). They indicated that the MHCP is not intended to eliminate the role of families in providing personal care. They also indicated that the complaint is frivolous and vexatious.
  • On 21 October 2016, Manitoba Families responded by indicating that there was no merit to the complaint. They stated that it is frivolous is nature because the CLDS is ameliorative in nature.
  • On 18 October 2016, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living responded by stating that they are not service providers and therefore cannot be found to be discriminating against Tyson and Amy. Rather, they state that the RHAs are responsible for the provision of services.

Currently we are waiting for the report of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission in response to the complaint.

Province Receives Report On Home Care Services in Manitoba

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January 26, 2017

PROVINCE RECEIVES REPORT
ON HOME CARE SERVICES IN MANITOBA

The province today released a report commissioned following a review of
Manitoba home care services by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG)
in 2015, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen
announced.

“Provinces across Canada are struggling with the increased costs of
health care associated with aging populations and chronic disease,” said
Goertzen. “Manitobans deserve high-quality health care and home care
services, and our government is reviewing this report and considering
the recommendations. The task will be made significantly more
challenging by proposed federal changes to the Canada Health Transfer,
which will take $18 million from Manitoba’s health care system in 2017-18.”

The 2015 OAG review recommended steps be taken to improve service
quality, timeliness and consistency and that needs assessments and care
plans be completed to ensure both short and long-term strategies are in
place to meet the needs of Manitobans. /The Future of Home Care Services
in Manitoba/ report was developed by consultant Reg Toews.

“Reductions to health transfer funding by the federal government will
have a significant impact on our ability to deliver health-care services
for Manitobans,” said Goertzen. “We will keep advocating for the
federal government to contribute its share to health care for all
Canadians, and continue to make appropriate investments to improve this
service relied on by so many Manitoba families.”

The report finds Manitoba is projected to experience a significant
increase in home care admissions over the next 20 years, requiring a
financial investment of an additional $572 million over the same time
frame to provide basic services for clients.

“We want to thank Mr. Toews, as well as the many stakeholders, staff,
clients and families he consulted for the thorough work on this vital
and complicated issue,” said Goertzen. “The report reflects the
contributions of a wide cross-section of Manitobans and as a result
provides a very detailed analysis of the issues and a number of
recommendations for our consideration.”

To read the report, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/health/homecare/index.html
<http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/homecare/index.html>.

Province Launches Conversation on Health-Care Funding

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January 26, 2017

PROVINCE LAUNCHES CONVERSATION
ON HEALTH-CARE FUNDING

Manitoba has launched a social media and web-based public awareness
campaign to inform the public of the significant impact of reduced and
eroding federal funding for health care, Health, Seniors and Active
Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“Health care is the single largest budget item for provinces and
territories, each of which is responsible for the delivery of quality
health services for Canadians,” said Goertzen. “The federal
government’s unilateral approach and refusal to engage in a discussion
around the importance of a long-term and sustainable partnership on
health care funding should be of concern to every Manitoban.”

Created 50 years ago, Medicare originated with 50/50 cost sharing of
health care between federal and provincial governments. Today,
provinces pay more than 75 per cent of health-care costs and the federal
government continues to reduce growth in health-care funding.

The minister said the result is a $30 billion gap between the proposal
the federal government has made to some provinces and territories and
what evidence-based studies indicated is actually needed to maintain the
sustainability of health-care systems, even with an additional $11
billion in targeted funding.

“Manitoba is facing a challenging fiscal situation and the federal
government’s decision to reduce health-care funding by more than $1
billion over the next 10 years is going to put additional strain on our
ability to provide services to Manitobans,” said Goertzen. “Federal
funding is essential if we are to address the increasing costs
associated with the health- care needs of our growing and aging population.”

Manitobans need the federal government at the table for a discussion on
the future of health care, the minister said. He is urging Manitobans
to join the conversation via social media using the hashtag
#sharethehealthcanada and to share their concerns directly with members
of Parliament, the minister added.

“By working together, we can find solutions that will work for
Canadians,” said Goertzen. “We believe health care is worth the
conversation.”

For more information, visit <http://www.manitoba.ca/sharethehealth>.