Nova Scotia Disability Services Class Action
Koskie Minsky LLP and McKiggan Hebert Lawyers have commenced a class action which alleges that Nova Scotia’s social assistance system discriminates against people with disabilities.
In Nova Scotia, people with disabilities who are determined to be eligible for assistance endure long delays for appropriate and adequate services. Many people with disabilities who are eligible for assistance wait years, or even decades, for appropriate services. By contrast, Nova Scotia provides social assistance to nondisabled persons immediately on confirmation of eligibility, without delay.
Because of these delays, people with disabilities who are eligible for disability assistance are confined to large-scale institutions, nursing homes, and hospital psychiatric wards. Others remain at home with inadequate supports. While all people with disabilities can be accommodated in the community, Nova Scotia’s mismanagement of its disability assistance system unjustly compels them to accept placements which separate them from their friends, family, and support networks, and deprives them of personal autonomy and dignity.
This class action alleges that Nova Scotia’s mismanagement of its system of disability assistance violates sections 7, 9, and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is negligent, breaches fiduciary duties, and results in the unlawful imprisonment of certain people with disabilities who have been confined to hospitals.
This class action is brought on behalf of the following proposed class:
Waitlist Class Members
All persons, who were alive as of May 4, 2022, who were on the waitlist for services under the Social Assistance Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 432 for any period of time after April 1, 1998, exclusive of any period for which an individual was residing in (a) a Regional Rehabilitation Centre, Adult Residential Centre, or Residential Care Facility; (b) a nursing home without a medical reason for being there; or (c) a hospital without a medical reason for being there.
Institution Class Members
All persons, who were alive as of May 4, 2022, who for any period of time after April 1, 1998 resided at a Regional Rehabilitation Centre, Adult Residential Centre, or Residential Care Facility, while eligible for assistance under the Social Assistance Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 432.
Nursing Home Class Members
All persons, who were alive as of May 4, 2022, who for any period of time after April 1, 1998 resided in a nursing home, without a medical reason for being there, while eligible for assistance under the Social Assistance Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 432.
Hospital Class Members
All persons, who were alive as of May 4, 2022, who for any period of time after April 1, 1998 resided in the Nova Scotia Hospital or another hospital operated by the Nova Scotia Hospital Authority or any of its predecessors, without a medical reason for the hospitalization, while eligible for assistance under the Social Assistance Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 432.
For more information, or if you think you might be a class member, please call us at 1-877-309-9111 or send us an email at NovaScotiaDisabilityServicesClassAction@kmlaw.ca
November 2, 2022
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has set a timetable for certification motion for this case. The certification motion will be heard by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court on June 19-20, 2024.
- November 2, 2022
What is a class action?
A class action is a lawsuit which provides a method for a large group of people with common claims to join together to advance one large claim. Class actions are a more efficient and cost-effective way for groups of people with common claims to gain access to the legal system and seek justice.
What does certification mean?
In order for an action to proceed as a class action, the court must determine whether it is appropriate for the case to be treated as a class action. Some of the factors the courts consider are the extent to which the claims of the class
members are common, and whether a class action is preferable to other methods (such as individual actions) of advancing the issues. The decision as to whether a class action should be certified takes place at a certification hearing and is decided by a judge. If certified, a representative plaintiff will advance the action on behalf of all of the class members.
How do I know if I am a Class Member?
The certification order will always contain a description of who is a class member. We post the certification orders in our actions so that you can review them. You do not need to “sign up” to become involved in a class action. If you are included in the class description, you are automatically a class member who will be affected by the outcome of the class action unless you decide to “opt out”.
Are Class Members notified of the certification of the class proceeding?
Yes. After the claim has been certified, the court will authorize notice to be given to the members of the class.
Can I opt out of a class action and pursue independent legal action?
Yes. When a class action is certified, class members are always given an opportunity to opt out of the action. A deadline is imposed for opting out. If you do not opt out by the given deadline, class members will be bound by the outcome of the class action, whether it is successful or unsuccessful. If you opt out, you will not receive any benefit if the action is successful.
Will there be any cost to class members for legal fees?
Typically, class actions are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that the class action lawyers will be paid only if the class action is successful at trial or settled. In that case, class counsel fees may be paid by the defendants or out of the settlement or judgment proceeds as approved by the court. In addition, the plaintiff may seek funding assistance from the Class Proceeding Fund which, if funding is granted, may provide funding for disbursements.
I still have questions…
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Toll Free Hotline: 1-877-309-9111
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