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November 25, 2019

Irony

Having fought since July 26, 2016 (1215 days) for the simple right to wash my hands at provincially licensed restaurants, it's pretty ironic that I just spent 6  nights in hospital with a nasty case of Norovirus.

Personal hygiene (handwashing) is the only way to manage Norovirus.

Norovirus was already on the boat when we boarded in Memphis, TN - some continuing passengers were quarantined and the crew was frantically wiping every exposed surface (with the wrong stuff).  There was a note on the bed to wash hands with soap and water.


It is the unvarnished truth that you cannot maintain clean hands while using a manual wheelchair.  You accidentally touch the tires while exiting the men's room.  The tires rub your winter coat.  People are constantly touching you inadvertently.

It took me 2 days to succumb.  Truly violent symptoms all morning in our tiny cabin.  The on-board EMT called the ambulance.

Five nights in the hospital with very little progress, then a mad dash for the flight home and another night in a hospital.

Five Nova Scotians tried to beat some sense into the mostly impenetrable brains of government officials, inspectors and restauranteurs through a Human Rights Complaint, which they won in September, 2018.  It is 14 months since the government announced a fast track action plan:
"The province will not appeal the Sept. 6 decision of a human rights board of inquiry.
The Department of Environment was ordered to require restaurants to have accessible washrooms in order to comply with the food safety regulations, unless that requirement can be shown to cause undue hardship*.
The province will fast track an action plan that will ensure the human rights decision is implemented in a timely fashion. This plan will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders, including the disability community and the restaurant industry."
*The words "undue hardship" do not appear in the order.

Working feverishly at their usual glacial pace, the government is doubtless wrestling with the completely made-up notion of 'undue hardship' - figuring how to allow noncompliant restaurants to continue if their fiscal affairs are marginal.  This seems like s fool's errand, since about 80% of restaurants fail within five years of opening......

But no 'undue hardship' for me?  Being excluded from public health regulation isn't 'undue hardship'?  Was projectile vomiting that Crab Bisque 'undue hardship'?  How about "We're just giving this Vancomycin to make sure you don't get CDiff and die on us".  Or "No worries, this heart monitor is just a precaution".

For the cheap, irresponsible and, frankly, dangerous restaurant industry, 'undue hardship' means 'We're broke and can't observe public health regulations.  Sorry. Here's a bucket.'  Having an accessible washroom will mean bankruptcy.  I say good riddance to unhealthy restaurants!

For me 'undue hardship means 'I wonder if there are easier way to die......'.

Any attempt to incorporate the notion of 'undue hardship' into regulations is clearly directed at people with disabilities, discriminatory and crying out for a Human Rights Complaint.

Good luck with that!

October 2, 2019

Enough!

A complaint made September 29 to the Human Rights Commission from me only:
************************

Under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act this is a complaint against:
  • The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
  • The Nova Scotia Ministry of Justice
  • The Nova Scotia Ministry of Environment
  • The Nova Scotia Ministry of Health
for failure to enforce of a Human Rights Board of Inquiry order. 

On September 6, 2018, a Human Rights Board of Inquiry ordered Respondent  PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA (DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT), AND/OR PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA OR CAPITAL DISTRICT HEALTH AUTHORITY "to interpret, administer and enforce the words "washroom facilities for the public available in a convenient location" in s.20(1) of the Food Safety Regulations as requiring those washroom facilities to be accessible to members of the public who use wheelchairs"

Since the order, no such enforcement has taken place.  The Ministry of Justice has applied its Restorative Justice protocols, authorized for "those who have been affected by criminal harms".  The order does not contemplate any delay in execution.  "Restorative Justice" simply does not apply, and its use discriminates against me and other people with disabilities.  

Since the order, I have filed Food Safety complaints on five occasions
  • Carleton - October 26 2018
  • Le Coq - October 22 2018
  • Stories - October 19 2018
  • Dalhousie Faculty Club - March 1 2019
  • Five Fishermen - October 19 2018
To my knowledge, each of these continues to operate in violation of section 20(1) of the Food Safety Regulations.

The Human Rights Commission has authority to enforce compliance.  I requested that it do so in a November 24, 2018 email to Christine Hanson.  I did not receive a reply.  Relevant sections of the act are:
S(37) Every person in respect of whom an order is made under this Act shall comply with the order. 
S(38) Every person who does anything prohibited by this Act or who refuses or neglects to comply with any order made under this Act is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to, if a person other than an individual, a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars. 
S(39) (1) No prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted without the consent in writing of the Minister. 

The entanglement of interests is a concern:  
  • The Minister of Justice is the Minister responsible for the Human Rights Act.
  • The Human Rights Commission did not support the complainants in the board of inquiry.
  • The Human Rights Commission cannot impose a fine for noncompliance without the minister's approval.  
  • The respondent's legal team was provided by the Minister of Justice.  
  • The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which was granted intervenor status by the Board of Inquiry and filed a document bitterly opposing the complaint, has been given equal standing in the mysterious Restorative Justice process.
  • The Ministers of Justice, Environment and Health are all colleagues in cabinet.

Most importantly, because of the nonfeasance of the above-named entities, people with disabilities remain in jeopardy of their health.  The failure to include them in the administration of Public Health policy is dangerous and discriminatory.

I seek penalties in the amount of $1000/day from September 6, 2018 until the first day of enforcement, paid by the above-named entities, to be placed in a revolving fund under the administration of the Accessibility Directorate for the exclusive purpose of helping restaurants meet the standard of the order.  So far, that would be $389,000.

You are certainly in possession of the documents I cite.  I look forward to hearing from you.  I prefer and request email communication.

Gus Reed

September 24, 2019

Bluenose



For me, the most interesting Nova Scotia artist is Earl Bailly.  The town of Lunenburg website says:

b. 8 July 1903 in Lunenburg, d. 1 July 1977 in Lunenburg
An inspiration to others in overcoming physical challenges to lead a full, productive life. Evern "Earl" Bailly brought attention to Lunenburg with his lifelong artistic accomplishments, and his engaging personality. Stricken with Polio at the age of two, he lost the use of his arms and legs, learning to write and paint with his mouth. Earl developed a highly refined sense of colour and composition, being well read in art theory and practice. He travelled to major cities in across Canada, the U.S. and Bermuda, achieving recognition at Galleries for the quality of his Maritime scenes. In 1933, with his brother Don, Earl sailed to the Chicago World's Fair on the original Bluenose, with Captain Angus Walters.
I was lucky enough to buy one his paintings this summer


It's called "Uploading Salt" and shows a wheelbarrow being filled with salt. The more I look at it, the more I see.  For the present discussion, take note of the ramp, a useful accessory if you happen to be toting something weighing 2,170 kilograms per cubic meter.

Bailly may have used just such a ramp when he sailed on the Bluenose to the Chicago World's Fair.

Last week I was in Lunenburg, where the Bluenose was open to the public.  I asked if my wheelchair and I could go aboard, and was told maybe I could be carried up the steps and down the ramp, and the decks were barrier free. 

This being 2019, I declined.  Meanwhile I watched seniors gamely attempting the tall step with no railing.


According to the ever-reliable and disability-friendly website of the Executive Council's Agencies, Boards, and Commissions, there are no openings on the Schooner Bluenose Foundation's Board.

Available Position Types: The following positions are currently vacant, or will become vacant in the next year.
- There are no upcoming vacancies.

Current members are:

Honourable Leo Glavine (Halifax) President & Member

Hmm, isn't he

Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage
Minister of Seniors
Minister responsible for the Heritage Property Act
Minister of the Voluntary Sector

?????????????????

So I'm nominating Leo Glavine for the James McGregor Stewart penalty of $1000 for failing to make a very simple and obvious change for accessibility.  He is responsible for Seniors, after all.  I wonder if he's ever met one.....

The bill for rebuilding the Bluenose was $24 million and Leo couldn't find $250 for a ramp