It’s shocking to hear of abuse in a public facility. Nonetheless, a lawsuit to the tune of fifty million has been filed against the Manitoba government, claiming abuse at the Portage la Prairie’s Manitoba Developmental Centre.
Now the residents will be forced to move will move to community living. David Weremy is the representative plaintiff in the case. The facility is a century old and formerly housed those with mental disabilities.
Weremy is happy about the closure of his home for 18 years. He says he experienced years of trauma, which included sexual abuse, physical assault and confinement without clothing in a room.
“Bad things happened every day and every night.”
Weremy file the lawsuit in October of 2018 and last May it was certified as a class-action suit. The province appealed that certification and a decision is pending.
“Living at home is better. I can go anywhere I want —
go out somewhere, go to the casino.”
Of note, the plaintiff has worked with People First of Canada, a task force to help eradicate such institutions. He wants people to live in community and exercise control over their own lives.
Proponents agree that people in these places are treated like second-class citizens. Janet Forbes, the executive director of Inclusion Winnipeg is “thrilled” to hear that the facility was closing having advocated for its closure for nearly three decades.
“It was a long time coming. People have the right to live in the
community. Institutional care is a very old model that never worked.”
The problem per
The problem per Forbes is that “It congregated them, it segregated them.” It might be a bit of a challenge to transition those still living there. Inclusion Winnipeg is a group working to support such cases. Forbes notes, with good, thoughtful planning, they can have lives in the community where they really thrive.