Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Human Rights Work 2017--Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

Younger boy has gone to  NAIT.
It's brilliant outside right now although cold.
I will be going out to shovel snow.

The grassy snow is everywhere sprouting and the light smashing through my writing room window is appalling like a headlight seeking me out.

I did not have time to pick up Rebecca yesterday for a home visit. I did pick up her BIPAP mask from VitalAire though which was good.

I will pick up a silicone cushion as a backup when they come in; VitalAire will let me know so I can go in and pay for it. This extra cushion will be the reserve one.

The slow and tedious work of the lawsuit prep. continues. At least I have finished project 1 for the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society.

The Elder Advocates Working Group has decided to do another public presentation. It will be better planned than the last one we did which was a learning experience for all of us.
Such public events are important so that we can gather statistics on the number of families impacted by continuing care problems.  It will also enable us to talk about the issues that matter to families that are not being dealt with by the health care and continuing care system.

We will need speakers and such like. It's a big job but we have enough volunteers and we will call up others who will be contributing to the work.

All in all a good plan for 2017 which started out well with the age discrimination lawsuit. Human rights will be our focus for this year especially the rights of our most vulnerable citizens and handicapped folks.


Albertans no longer discriminated by age as province forbids under human rights

It’s unclear why Alberta decided to be the last province to hold out on this ground.
It’s unclear why Alberta decided to be the last province to hold out on this ground. (Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)
Alberta is finally going to make ageism a ground for discrimination.
An Edmonton court has recently ruled that age is going to be a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Up until now, age was not listed as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the act when it came to such things as tenancies and goods and services, even though age is mentioned in the act. All other provinces have included age as a discrimination ground in their human rights codes for years.
It’s unclear why Alberta decided to be the last province to hold out on this ground but the court’s go ahead on Friday has been greeted with cheers by many advocates.
That includes the well-known seniors’ advocate, Ruth Adria, who fought for the change.
"Over half a million Alberta citizens, their rights are violated under the Charter. . . They do not have equal benefit of the law or protection of the law," Adria told CBC News.
Seniors in Alberta have faced discrimination when it comes to such things as drivers testing, which is age based and affects seniors “profoundly.”
However, this decision doesn’t just affect the elderly but the young as well. There have been situations in Alberta in which landlords refuse to rent to families, because the property is an adult-only building and they don’t want families as tenants. It’s likely the prohibited age discrimination inclusion will make it a lot tougher for them to do so.
That leaves the question of why Alberta waited this long to make age a prohibited ground. That’s a question that also baffled Adria’s lawyer, Allan Garber, who explained the court’s decision by saying, “They realized that they had to get in step with the rest of Canada. But it’s also the right thing to do, whether or not they’re in step, it’s the right thing to do.”
The court gave the province one year to figure out the exemptions the government wants to make under the newly prohibited ground, then it will become law.
Garber said they will be watching closely to see what exemptions the government makes under the new ground to ensure they don’t go against seniors’ interests.


“Age” to be Included as a Prohibited Ground of Discrimination in Alberta

On January 6, 2017 Ruth Adria of “Elder Advocates” brought an action to the Court of Queen’s Bench arguing that the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA) should include ‘age’ as a prohibited ground of discrimination. The primary argument progressed by Adria is that the AHRA violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it deprives Albertan seniors of equal protections and benefits provided by the law without discrimination. Adria explains that there are over half a million Albertan citizens who are not protected against discrimination based on their age. Adria’s lawyer (Allan Graber) pointed out that, “to the best of [his] knowledge, Alberta is the only province in Canada that still does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of age with respect to goods, services, rental accommodations, and tenancies.”
Situations in which seniors could benefit from the inclusion of ‘age’ as a protected ground in the AHRAare numerous. Adria explains that seniors with physical disabilities have been forced to live in the dementia wing of their care residence even though they have fully functioning cognitive abilities. Seniors in this situation are unable to challenge their placement, and they would benefit from this change in the law. As well, when senior citizens end up in the hospital after an accident (such as a fall) their healthcare practitioners are able to order them to be relocated to an assisted living facility, rather than return to their homes. Adria describes that, “Even if [that person’s] family wants to take them home they say you can’t.” As well, Adria also highlights that the rules that apply to seniors who drive vehicles can be discriminatory in some situations and could also be challenged by this change in legislation.
The AHRA was formed in 1972 and did not include age as a protected ground of discrimination, which has been an issue ever since. In 1984 age was recommended to become an enumerated ground by the Human Rights Review Panel, and again in the 2008 the government was asked to include age in the Act but the province refused. In this recent court case, Adria’s application to include age in the AHRAwas unopposed by the provincial government and granted by Justice Paul Belzil. We can expect to see changes implemented by the beginning of 2018.

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