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October 26, 2012

Incarceration of Information

Are you dying to find the latest annual report of the Nova Scotia Disabled Person's Commission (DPC)?  Look no further than the Disabled Persons Commission Annual Report 2002-2003.  Although Canada signed the UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities on March 11, 2010, it's still 3 years in the future for the DPC.

These 5 to 9 year old reports are among the most current documents on the website of the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission, which today (October 26, 2012) proudly announces

I received a response on July 12, which is reproduced in full here, and contains details of:
  • efforts to increase the commission’s staff, to create a Disability Strategy for the province and to redesign the website to be fully accessible.
  • A new and fully accessible website currently in the testing stage with the expectation that it will be rolled out by early Fall. 
  • Links to 3 additional statistical reports, published in 2009 and 2010, all reviewing 2006 data 
  • A list of current Commissioners
  • Caution that many of the issues are complex and progress can be incremental. 
  • And concluding with pride
    • "I’m proud of our work and look forward to an expanding role for the commission as we embark on developing the Disability Framework." 
Nice, but not exactly the flood of pent-up information I was looking for.

So with my friend and fellow blogger Parker Donham, I filed a Freedom of Information Request on July 16, asking for the minutes of the Minister's Steering Committee meetings (twice a year for ten years) and the draft Disability Strategy and Disability Framework (whatever that is).

Not having heard by August 16, I inquired and learned there was no record of my request.  Should I have spent $10 to send registered mail?  

  • So the 30 days for the DPC to respond actually started running August 16.
  • September 16, a 30 day extension is sought 
  • October 18, another 30 day extension, granted by the Freedom of Information Review Officer without consulting us.

90 days is way too long.  I think these people
  • don't do anything
  • have never written another annual report
  • have confused 'disabled' with 'stupid'
  • have confused 'disabled' with 'passive'
  • need to be held accountable
As a disabled person, I'd like to be wrong about the people who are supposed to protect my interests.  So maybe I could get an answer before the UN Convention is signed.  3 years ago!

Gus Reed

PS Here are a half dozen studies that should have been done:

  • Making Departmental Websites and Services Accessible
  • The Payoff for Accessible Tourism
  • Physical and Programmatic Barriers to Employment
  • Accessible Transportation in Rural Nova Scotia
  • Recreational Opportunities for Nova Scotians with Disabilities
  • Moving Beyond a Medical Model of Disability

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