Not a catch-all: ex­pert

Hu­man rights panel hears pro­gram not meant for peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY RYAN ROSS rross­the­guardian.pe.ca twit­ter.com/ryan­r­ross

The dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram at the cen­tre of a hu­man rights com­plaint was never meant to pro­vide sup­ports for ev­ery­one, says one of the peo­ple in­volved in de­vel­op­ing it.

Bob Creed, a for­mer di­rec­tor of so­cial pro­grams for P.E.I., was on the stand at that hear­ing Fri­day where he said the pro­gram was de­vel­oped to delink dis­abil­ity sup­port from so­cial as­sis­tance.

“It was very pro­gres­sive at the time,” he said.

The dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram was im­ple­mented in 2000, but does not in­clude help for peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness, which led Laura King to file a dis­crim­i­na­tion com­plaint with the P.E.I. Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

King, who has schizophre­nia, filed the com­plaint in 2013 and was at the hear­ing in Char­lot­te­town Fri­day along­side her mother, Mil­lie King, who has been speak­ing on her be­half.

Laura re­ceives about $300 per month from so­cial as­sis­tance, but Mil­lie pre­vi­ously tes­ti­fied she felt her daugh­ter should be el­i­gi­ble for the dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram.

Fri­day was the third day for the hear­ing, which saw sev­eral wit­nesses take the stand, in­clud­ing Creed, who talked about the dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram.

Creed told the hear­ing panel the pro­gram wasn’t de­vel­oped to re­place other sup­ports and ser­vices but was, in­stead, meant to deal with un­met needs.

The pro­gram cov­ers in­tel­lec­tual, phys­i­cal and some neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.

Creed said when the pro­gram was un­der de­vel­op­ment peo­ple in the men­tal health field felt a model fo­cus­ing on re­cov­ery was best for peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness.

A spokesman for the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion who tes­ti­fied Thurs­day told the panel the dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram doesn’t ad­dress the com­plex­i­ties of men­tal ill­ness.

Creed said there were sup­posed to be fur­ther dis­cus­sions of a se­cond phase in the pro­gram af­ter it was im­ple­mented to deal with men­tal health.

“I guess to­day those dis­cus­sions are still un­der­way.”

The dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­gram doesn’t pro­vide ser­vices for a re­cov­ery model, Creed said. “The pro­gram is not a beall pro­gram.”

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