People with mental disabilities win class status over loss of services at age 18 in Ontario

Posted
December 14, 2018
Article Source
Global News

A lawsuit alleging the Ontario government has been arbitrarily making thousands of mentally disabled people wait indefinitely for provincial government supports after they turn 18 was certified as a class action on Friday.

In his decision, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba agreed the plaintiff had made a strong enough case to allow the as-yet untested claim to proceed to trial on its merits."The plaintiff's complaint is not about inadequate funding or the need for a greater allocation of governmental resources but about the negligent utilization and administration of existing resources," Belobaba wrote in his decision.

"The plaintiff's complaint is not about inadequate funding or the need for a greater allocation of governmental resources but about the negligent utilization and administration of existing resources," Belobaba wrote in his decision.

The lawsuit, which accuses the province of harm-causing negligence, seeks $110 million in damages. It also asks for a declaration that the government has failed adults assessed as eligible for help but who have instead been placed on indeterminate waiting lists.

Belobaba appointed as representative plaintiff Briana Leroux, 20, of Timmins, Ont., a woman with a rare brain disorder. She has a mental age of about three, cannot speak, and lacks the most basic ability to care for herself.

Her father Marc Leroux, acting as her litigation guardian, has previously told The Canadian Press that the loss of a day program and other help for his daughter when she turned 18 caused immense stress on the family. He was not immediately available to comment Friday.

In his analysis, Belobaba agreed to allow certification on two of three grounds Leroux had proposed: negligence and a breach of her charter rights.

Read more: People with mental disabilities win class status over loss of services at age 18 in Ontario