Tuesday, August 1, 2017

--My nomination ----------- Gerald L. Gall Award: for outstanding contribution to and demonstrated excellence in the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.---------------2017 Human Rights Awards Nominations Thank you for nominating for the Human Rights Awards! We will be in touch as the awards near. Best, Renee


https://www.jhcentre.org/human-rights-awards/

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARDS

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Nominations are NOW OPEN for the 2017 Human Rights Awards.

To fill in a nomination form, please click HERE
The deadline for nominations is Saturday, September 30 2017. Selections will be made by November 2017.  
Held in commemoration of International Human Rights Day, these awards are meant to recognize those in our community who are actively promoting, fulfilling, protecting or educating on human rights, and making our communities a place where all belong, are included and able to participate.
Every year awards are given out to recipients, who are local human rights champions who are building Edmonton as a human rights city. In 2016, we awarded our first winner from outside of Edmonton in our efforts to recognize Albertans making an impact. This is followed by the Gerald L. Gall Award for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution and has demonstrated excellence in the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.
Robert P. Lee, the recipient the Gerald L. Gall award in 2016, explains what the award means to him,  “Right now, there’s a little more failure than success in the work that I do. Because it is so challenging, in a way I feel that I’m not worthy of it yet. I hope to help the people that I’m representing- and I’m not there yet.” The lawyer, also a children's advocate, has represented victims of sexual abuse who he felt were not being treated fairly by the legal system.
The 2016 awards recipients are
  • Robert P. Lee, Gerald L. Gall Award 2016
  • Paula Kirman.Human Rights Champion 2016
  • Ruth Adria, Human Rights Champion 2016
  • Kristina De Guzman,Human Rights Champion 2016
  • Roy Pogorzelski, Human Rights Champion 2016
The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights envisions a world that manifests a culture of peace and human rights in which the dignity of every person is respected, valued and celebrated.  We work to advance a culture of peace and human rights through educational programs and activities, community collaboration and relationship building guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For additional information, contact:
Tisha Raj
Project and Communications Coordinator
John Humphrey Centre for Peace & Human Rights

Contact: 780.235.2961 or tisha@jhcentre.org
I am a writer. I recognise folks. What this means is that I can see beyond the baloney to the interior of people. When I see the good stuff, I like to get this good stuff recognised.
For people working in the human rights area, most of them are slogging day after day like Ruth Adria of The Elder Advocates of Alberta Society facing retribution and insult for no damn reason while the rest of us simply stay silent and safe.
But when you do move out of silent and safe, you can face retribution.
What are you going to do then?
I'd say you call up the Seniors' Lawyer--Mr. Allan Garber.
He'll be on your side defending you.
And he will be doing this with his characteristic intelligence, relentless determination and courage.
For such good works, I nominate Mr. Allan Garber for the 2017 Gerald L. Gall Award.
You go get them Mr. Garber!

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2017 Human Rights Awards Nominations
The Human Rights Awards are presented annually to individuals of all ages, businesses or organizations that are making a positive contribution to the lives and well-being of people in Edmonton. These recipients are those that are actively promoting, fulfilling, protecting or educating on human rights in the city and making the community a place where all belong, are included and participate. Once you have completed the nomination form, a follow-up will be done with the nominee to confirm their nomination.
Nominations close on October 10, 2016.
Email address 

Which Award do you wish to nominate for? 


Human Rights Champion: Our every day heroes. Local champions working to make their community a better place; a place where all are included, participate and belong.

Randy L. Palivoda Award for Public Service: for outstanding contribution and demonstrated excellence in the protection and promotion of human rights in their role as a public servant.

Gerald L. Gall Award: for outstanding contribution to and demonstrated excellence in the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.


Other:


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2017 Human Rights Awards Nominations
Thank you for nominating for the Human Rights Awards! We will be in touch as the awards near.Best, Renee
**********************************************************************

If you decide to leave the place of safety in this world, which is generally the place of silence to risk speaking and go beyond this small step to working for change in any way--- the words you speak and the acts you do will be neutralised by the system. At least this has been my experience after I activated myself to speak and write about the tolerated non-compliances in the continuing care system in Alberta.

In general, an ordinary citizen like myself has no way to reveal the system wide failures that are present in Alberta that result in neglect, harm and fatality of our most vulnerable seniors and handicapped individuals in the continuing care system.  The setup of the system is plainly designed in my opinion to mitigate the risks of liability and lawsuits for the government, the health authority and the continuing care providers.  The maze that citizens have to run to even bring up problems that  are then dealt with internally in bureaucratically and politically expedient ways prohibits the public discourse necessary to correct the human rights abuses that are ongoing in the continuing care system in Alberta.

The ordinary citizen placed in this maze that has been set up by the government of Alberta-- has no way to bring to the public the stories of hell. Families need to tell these stories. There needs to be public discourse so that as citizens,  we can decide how we will best take care of our most vulnerable citizens who are completely defenceless in the continuing care system. How defenceless are these citizens? As the recent nursing home murders in Ontario have demonstrated, some of these seniors  are completely defenceless. They absolutely require advocates in our society such as Ruth Adria of the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society to bring their issues to the public. Then the public needs to discuss and participate in a functional democracy -- to arrive at the solutions for the problems that are present.

But if the public does not know of the problems because families are too afraid to speak of the problems publicly and then when they do speak -they are punished by well established retribution tactics of banning, lawsuits and evictions--how will solutions to these persisting problems be found?

When I wrote about my handicapped sister’s stories of hell, I was sued.  This in itself is nothing new.  Ruth Adria of The Elder Advocates of Alberta Society has been sued repeatedly in the past for public discourse of continuing care issues. Lawsuits are used as part of the risk management strategy of continuing care providers to silence families in Alberta and maintain a performance facade that is not always accurate. When faced with a lawsuit that requires many thousands of dollars to fight--most families will give up and the real problems that are present in the continuing care system remain hidden and therefore intractable to change. In my case, I did not give up and I looked for a lawyer.

I discovered that there are not many lawyers interested in defending citizens against the retribution of continuing care providers.  Mr. Allan Garber was willing to defend me in court and I contracted him for this purpose.

I knew very little about Mr. Garber before I was sued.  As a stay at home mummy, I have never had the opportunity to encounter lawyers of any sort much less one who was defending the human rights of seniors and handicapped citizens.  Mr. Garber provided wise counsel and helped me through the lawsuit.

When I look at the past work Mr. Garber has done I realise that this work is generally of a high moral calibre. Not many lawyers are defending the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society for good reason--it’s difficult work with stressed families who often do not have the financial resources to pay the high costs of legal pursuit.

Mr. Garber -I believe is doing this work as part of his life’s mission.  I have reviewed some of the legal work he has done and found it to be primarily of the most ethical sort--defending those our society has written off as throwaway citizens without the same rights of so called "normal" citizens---such as my severely handicapped sister.  Mr. Garber seems to have a real feeling for defending the rights of the least among us.

Perhaps the most important work Mr. Garber has done was in representing sterilization victims in a class action lawsuit in 1998, against the province of Alberta for wrongful sterilization. He was successful with other lawyers in obtaining compensation for these victims

One important lawsuit concerns the fees charged by nursing homes that is ongoing to this day.

Other lawsuits include assisting families impacted by harm, neglect and deaths in the continuing care system and the medical system in Alberta. One important case concerns the death of a patient at Alberta Hospital. The death of Lorraine Adolph is one of a series of deaths that have repeated at this facility despite several fatality report recommendations. It appears that AHS has derived no “learnings” from these deaths which keep repeating with no consequences for the system that failed these defenceless citizens:


On a continuing  basis, Mr. Garber has provided support for victims of retribution in the continuing care system in Alberta where the Trespass to Premises legislation is used to ban advocates and thereby separate residents from their family members.  The failure of the GOA to ensure the human rights of seniors and handicapped citizens in the continuing care system is astonishing to me. How is it even possible that the Trespass to Premises legislation is being used in the “homes” of residents and contrary to their right to associate with others?  Even when seniors want and need their supporters the continuing care provider is able to prohibit contact and enforce separation by court order.  I fail to see how this legislation is legitimately used considering the requirements of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And yet we have the government of Alberta allowing the use of this legislation contrary to the requirements to ensure the human rights of vulnerable people in the continuing care and medical system.

Most recently Mr. Garber worked with Ruth Adria of The Elder Advocates of Alberta Society to end age discrimination in Alberta.   A human rights defender such as Ruth Adria, in today’s society cannot make much progress without the assistance of such a lawyer.  Speaking for the defenceless in our society whose human rights are written over simply  because they have no voice in our society, no power and no financial resources to defend themselves with requires that there be lawyers like Mr. Garber who are willing to provide help when most needed.

We are already too silent.  We need to be able to speak and communicate our opinions so that change might happen. We need to participate in a democracy and defend the human rights of those who are marginalised and unable to speak for themselves. But if citizens face not only banning that separates them from their family members in the continuing care system as in the case of the Tucker family in Grande Prairie--but also legal action that destabilises their financial situation and stresses their families--how can we participate in a democracy? There is no anti-SLAPP legislation in Alberta that prohibits legal retribution to silence citizens who are speaking of issues that matter such as the neglect, harm and fatalities suffered by defenceless seniors and handicapped citizens in the continuing care system in Alberta. When retribution happens as it does with cease and desist letters followed by lawsuits--who will then provide the help that human rights defenders need? Not many lawyers in Alberta are working on these important human rights issues.  Mr. Garber is to be commended for his long history of advocacy and support for seniors and marginalised individuals in our society. Such work is a calling and it needs the full respect and honour that our society can provide for such a man.



Judge to decide fate of nursing home lawsuit

CBC News Posted: Jun 01, 2007 1:58 PM MT Last Updated: Jun 01, 2007 1:50 PM MT
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A judge will decide the fate of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought against the Alberta government over increases to nursing home fees.
A three-day hearing in Edmonton was set to wrap up Friday. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheila Greckol will then decide whether or not the lawsuit can go to trial.
The lawsuit was brought forward by the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society and James Darwish, and deals with increases of more than 40 per cent to accommodation and meal fees in 2003.Darwish's late mother was in a nursing home run by Capital Health at the time.
More than 10,000 people are part of the claim against the provincial government and nine regional health authorities that could end up costing authorities more than $100 million.
Allan Garber, Darwish's lawyer, told CBC News he is trying to show that seniors hit with the hikeended up paying for more than just accommodation and meals.
"There's an interplay between the accommodation charge that the residents pay on the one hand and the health-care costs, which is the responsibility of the government. We're of the view that the residents of the long-term care facilities have been paying for health-care costs, which are in essence the responsibility of the government."
But lawyers for the Alberta government called on the judge to quash the lawsuit.
In court Thursday, a lawyer representing the province argued the increases to accommodation charges were all standardized across Alberta for the sake of simplicity.
The lawyer said the charges were laid out in nursing home legislation and the province did not have to explain what the accommodation money was used for in the care facilities.
The province is reluctant to discuss the case because it's before the courts.
Buta spokesperson for Alberta Seniors and Community Supports said every province in the country charges accommodation fees in nursing homes and Alberta's fees are among the lowest in the country.
Subsidies were put in place to help low-income seniors cover the rising costs and about 70 per cent of seniors did qualify for them at the time, said the spokesperson.
If the judge does decide to let the trial go ahead, it could still be two years before it reaches the courts.




Court approves seniors class action against Alberta over long-term care fees

The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled a class-action lawsuit can proceed against the province over the fees it charges seniors in long-term care.

EDMONTON — The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled a class-action lawsuit can proceed against the province over the fees it charges seniors in long-term care.
The lawsuit was filed by the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society after the government increased rates at nursing homes in 2003 by 40 per cent. There have been subsequent increases.
The court on Friday turned down the government’s attempt to block the class action.
“We won big and we are extremely pleased,” said Ruth Adria, the society’s executive director. “Now the lawsuit can go forward.”
The society claims the government overcharged about 14,000 seniors by more than $128 million over a two-year period. Other allegations include breach of contract and discrimination under the Charter of Rights.
The average age of seniors involved in the lawsuit is 85. They all live in nursing homes or auxiliary hospitals and are incapable of caring for themselves.
The government wasn’t saying much about the Appeal Court ruling.
“At this point, the government’s lawyers are reviewing the decision and since this matter is still before the courts, it really is not appropriate to comment at this time,” said Alberta Justice spokesman Andy Weiler.
In a news release issued June 17, 2003, the Alberta government announced that accommodation rates in long-term care homes would rise to “improve the quality of resident care and services.” It noted rates hadn’t risen since 1994.
The association representing long-term care facilities said at the time that rent increases were needed to cover the rising cost of food, linen service and maintenance.
The lawsuit contends that Alberta is charging seniors more than the actual cost of room and board in long-term care.
Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in court.
Allan Garber, the society’s lawyer, said it’s hoped the government will settle the claim before it proceeds to Court of Queen’s Bench.
Garber would not say just how much money the group is seeking from the province.
The lawsuit is keeping the government accountable for its obligations to seniors under the Hospitals Act and the Nursing Homes Act, he said. Since the lawsuit was filed, regional health authorities have been rolled into one superboard called Alberta Health Services.
“We are seeking damages to recover monies that were paid that should not have been paid,” Garber said.
“Many of these people suffer from dementia. They are a weak and vulnerable group in our society. That’s who stands to benefit. We are asking the government to follow its own laws.”


UPDATED

Alta. nursing home lawsuit OK'd by top court

Class action seeks $100M from province in nursing-home fee dispute

CBC News Posted: May 12, 2011 7:55 AM MT Last Updated: May 12, 2011 4:03 PM MT
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A class-action lawsuit against the Alberta government for driving up nursing home fees has been given the green light by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The top court ruled Thursday the son of a former long-term-care resident and the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society can sue the province on behalf of thousands of seniors in Alberta over a sudden rise in nursing home fees in 2003.
"Our clients couldn't be happier," said lawyer Allan Garber. "You have to remember the people we act for are elderly, chronically disabled, and the prospect of them advancing their own claim individually would be most unfair."
However, the ruling limits on what grounds the province can be sued.
The lawsuit can move forward on the allegations that seniors are paying for services that may be the government's responsibility, and that the charges may constitute discrimination against seniors because of their age and disabilities, said Garber.

Alberta also certified suit

The lawsuit initiated by James Darwish questions the amount his late mother, Johanna, was charged for living at an Edmonton seniors home.
Darwish claims the 40 per cent increase in long-term-care fees in Alberta over 18 months violated the Canada Health Act by artificially inflating accommodation fees to subsidize the cost of medical expenses.
The class action was certified by the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench in 2008. The province appealed the decision, which was later upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal.
The lawsuit seeks more than $100 million from the Alberta government and the former regional health authorities on behalf of thousands of seniors in long-term-care homes since 2003.
But Gaber is hoping the dispute will be resolved before what will be a long and expensive legal battle.
"I'm hopeful we can sit down and solve this some way," he said.


Lawsuit: Elder Advocates et al vs. Crown
Home > About Elder Advocates > Lawsuit: Elder Advocates et al vs. Crown
Update – Nov 30, 2012


Local couple watches closely as provincial government faces lawsuit over long-term care costs






BY GILLIAN SLADE ON JANUARY 11, 2017.
Residents of long-term care facilities allegedly subsidizing health-care costs is the subject of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the government and health authority. Local resident Ken Collins, 83, and his wife Alice, 78, are following proceedings with interest. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 11 years ago Alice is now in a seniors' residence costing about $23,000 a year.ÊBecause Alice is ill, Ken takes exception to her being considered a "resident" rather than a "patient".--NEWS PHOTO GILLIAN SLADE


gslade@medicinehatnews.com @MHNGillianSlade
A multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the government and health authority alleges that residents of long-term care facilities are subsidizing health-care costs.
Elder Advocates of Alberta Society filed the lawsuit on behalf of seniors in continuing care homes in 2005. The case was heard in Court of Queens Bench for several weeks in November and will return in February.
“After Feb. 1 it will be many months before the judge makes a decision,” said Ruth Adria of Elder Advocates. “I’m sure it will take at least six months for the judge to give a written decision.”
The suit relates to the increase in continuing care accommodation rate that took place in August 2003, said Adria.
Originally there were about 14,000 people in the class action lawsuit, but it will be more now because of the number who have entered the system in care since then.
“We originally filed for $128 million but since then numbers of people have been in a nursing home or an auxiliary hospital. Anybody who has been in care since 2003 and even those that have died, if we win, their estate would get some sort of settlement,” said Adria.
Elder advocates alleges that the provincial government artificially inflated “accommodation charges” — a direct charge on residents for their housing and meals while in care — in order to subsidize the publicly-funded costs of medical services.
Ken and Alice Collins of Medicine Hat are following proceedings with interest. After living together in a modest semi-detached home, with just government pensions, everything changed in 2012 when Alice was moved to a seniors’ residence.
Alice, 78, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 67. Ken, 83, initially cared for Alice at home with the help of Home Care a couple times a week. After a series of falls and an illness, Alice was admitted to hospital and assessed as needing placement in a facility.
While it costs about $1,500 a day for someone in hospital, Alberta Health Services only contributes between $175 and $225 for the person’s care in a seniors’ residence, said Ken.
All of Alice’s pension goes towards her accommodation — about $23,000 a year — said Ken. Because Alice is ill, as opposed to being a senior who has chosen to live in a seniors’ residence, Ken takes exception to her being considered a “resident” in the care home.
“Alice is a patient, not a resident,” said Ken. “Under the Health Act she is under the care of AHS and they have no right to charge her for that care.”
The couple, married for decades, had to sign an involuntary separation agreement to gain as much as possible in pension and benefits. Ken was left with only his own pension to pay rent and meet all the expenses in their home that they’d previously shared.


**



Family of deceased patient launches lawsuit against AHS, doctor

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Julia Parrish, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Thursday, November 3, 2011 6:03PM MDT
The children of a 68-year-old Alberta Hospital patient have filed a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services and the doctor who treated their mother, for the death of the elderly woman.
The case stems from the disappearance of Lorraine Adolph in December of 2008, after she stepped outside the facility for a cigarette, but never returned.
A search of the hospital grounds was conducted – but her body was found a week later in a snow bank just steps from the door.

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Lorraine Adolph is seen here in an undated photo.
Lorraine Adolph is seen here in an undated photo.
Adolph's children are suing Alberta Health Services and her doctor, Dr. Robert Granger for her death – the lawsuit is for $45,000 each.
"I think they want some sense that justice is being done, that a wrong will be made right to some extent," Adolph family lawyer Allan Garber said. "Although the amount of money, you can never, never compensate for the loss of a mother."
Dr. Granger has filed a statement of defence, in it, he states:
If the patient suffered injury, which is denied, she did so as a result of her own negligence.
The lawyer representing the family said the argument doesn't make sense.
"She thought she [smelled] dead bodies in her apartment," Garber said.
"She was there [in Alberta Hospital] under mental health certificates, so no, I think it's a stretch to say that she was responsible for her own death,
"[Adolph] was not responsible, that's why she was there."
Alberta Health Services has also filed a statement of defense which states in part:
The defendant hospital provided Lorraine Adolph with the necessary hospital and nursing care as instructed.
None of the claims have been proven in court.
With files from Kim Taylor
****





Garber, Allan


Allan Garber
“What's really striking is that the people carrying out these acts were not thugs. They were respected, even well-intentioned, members of society and the medical establishment […] It shows how power can be abused.''Source
Allan Garber (19-- -), LL.B. is a lawyer in Edmonton, Alberta that specializes in the rights of the elderly and hospital patients (Zabjek, 2011). In 1998, Garber represented 78 out of nearly 700 sterilization victims in a class action lawsuit against the province of Alberta for wrongful sterilization (Honore, 1998).
Some of Garber's clients had not only been sterilized by the province, but had also been used as subjects for experimental drug research without their knowledge or consent. The drugs used on these victims included the anabolic steroid norbolethone (now illegal in Canada) that was given to treat ‘undersized’ children, as well as the anti-psychotic tranquilizer haloperidol (Jimenez, 1998). In total, the class-action litigation against the province lasted three years and finally ended on November 2, 1999 with Justice Minister David Hancock announcing a settlement of $142 million as compensation to the victims (Lexpert, 2000).
-Andrew Ball

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Government of Alberta News Release 99 - 033 For immediate release: November 2, 1999 The Stratton Agreement achieves two important goals of this government: to resolve these cases fairly and reasonably, and to resolve them without subjecting victims to the further trauma of a trial. - Dave Hancock, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Stratton Agreement concludes sterilization negotiations Edmonton


A negotiated settlement with Albertas victims of sexual sterilization brings closure to nearly 100 per cent of the cases brought forward to date. The settlement was announced today by Dave Hancock, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Negotiator and former Justice Joseph Stratton, Q.C., and Plaintiffs Committee members Jon Faulds, Alan Garber and Gary Wanless joined Hancock to make the announcement. The Sexual Sterilization Act became law in Alberta in 1928. The Progressive Conservative Government repealed the legislation shortly after its election in 1971. The Government of Alberta expresses its profound regret to those who have suffered as a result of being sterilized under this Act. "We are compensating these victims and finding ways to treat these people in a sensitive, fair and equitable manner. We are doing the best we can for all concerned to make things right and to correct, as much as possible, the wrongs of many years ago," said Premier Ralph Klein. "It is important that this very sad chapter of Alberta history is now closed for the hundreds of victims. The compensation can never fully deal with the trauma suffered by these individuals," said Hancock. Hancock added, "Justice Stratton and the members of Plaintiffs Committee are to be commended for their hard work and commitment to reaching a settlement. This was a complex and most difficult task, and it is to their credit that they took on the challenge for the good of all concerned. I would also like to congratulate the staff of Alberta Justice who have worked hard and long on bringing resolution to this matter." "I am pleased that all but a few of these claims have been settled," said the Honourable Joseph Stratton, Q.C., former Justice of the Alberta Court of Appeal. "I attribute that success to the resolve of all parties to the negotiations to reach a fair settlement and I truly believe that has been achieved." Justice Stratton was retained by Alberta Justice in June 1999 to negotiate with the 38 law firms representing the claimants. The few remaining claims are expected to be resolved in the near future. As a result of the agreement, the representative cases that were scheduled to go to court in December have been resolved. The nearly 250 cases settled by the agreement announced today will cost in the range of $82 million, bringing the total amount paid to claimants to approximately $142 million. - 30 Attachments: Settlement details and Statement of Regret Justice website: http://www.gov.ab.ca/just Contacts: Dave Hancock - Minister of Justice and Attorney General - (780) 427-2339 Bob Scott - Justice Communications - (780) 427-8530 Settlement details:* 1995/96 - present Total claims brought forward Claims withdrawn Claims requiring resolution 958 75 883 June 1996 - present Claims settled under Public Trustee, third party negotiation, and the Settlement Panel 635 $ 60 million November 1999 Claims settled under Stratton Agreement Total settled to date 246 881 $ 82 million $142 million * These numbers change almost daily as claims are resolved. Background information: The Sexual Sterilization Act was passed in 1928 and was repealed as one of the first actions of the current government after it was elected in 1971. More than 600 cases were resolved between January 1996 and June 1999. In June 1999 the Honourable Joseph Stratton Q.C. was retained to negotiate a settlement with a Plaintiffs Committee. Justice Stratton is a long-standing member of the Alberta Bar and is a former Justice of the Alberta Court of Appeal. Plaintiffs Committee coordinated the negotiations on behalf of 38 law firms, representing a total of close to 250 claimants. The Stratton Agreement results in: Settlement of 248 of the remaining sterilization lawsuits Discontinuance of the seventeen representative trials scheduled to start in December 1999. Other settlements achieved to date: Of the total of 958 cases brought forward, about 956 have been achieved to date. The number changes each day as more are resolved. In addition, a few new cases have been brought forward. In total, about 75 claims were withdrawn or declined because the claim was invalid, or for other reasons. Fewer than 20 claims remain (including new cases) and are expected to be resolved in the near future. The Settlement Panel, chaired by Gary McPherson, was established in June 1998 to provide claimants with an option other than court. A few cases are still in negotiation and the Settlement Panel remains available to claimants. Expression of Regret The Sexual Sterilization Act became law in Alberta in 1928. The Progressive Conservative Government repealed the legislation shortly after its election in 1971. The Government of Alberta expresses its profound regret to those who have suffered as a result of being sterilized under this Act. "We are compensating these victims and finding ways to treat these people in a sensitive, fair and equitable manner. We are doing the best we can for all concerned to make things right and to correct, as much as possible, the wrongs of many years ago," said Ralph Klein, Premier. "It is important that this very sad chapter of Alberta history is now closed for the hundreds of victims. The compensation can never fully deal with the trauma suffered by these individuals," said Dave Hancock, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Alberta Index | Dept Index | Justice and Attorney General Home Page | News Releases |Top of Page Comments regarding presentation should be forwarded toWebEditor@gov.ab.ca Technical and service related questions should be forwarded toWebMaster@gov.ab.ca Copyright(c); 1999 Government of Alberta Return to Government Home Page
****



February 27, 2014 7:38 pm
Updated: February 27, 2014 10:53 pm

Family members call for change to seniors care system after being banned from seeing their loved ones

- A A +
EDMONTON – The frustration is boiling over for some people in Alberta. They feel the seniors care system has let them down because restrictions have been put in place when it comes to seeing their loves ones.
On Thursday morning, a number of people tearfully shared their stories of being restricted or outright banned from visiting a family member in care.
Huguette Hebert says she was once banned from the Covenant Health facility her husband was staying at because she wanted to stay in the room while he was being changed.

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She claims she had been allowed to do that for months before, but that day, staff wouldn’t let her, telling her it was against the policy.
Hebert says a security guard was called, and when she resisted leaving, she was banned for what ended up being a day.
“I very quietly moved towards my husband, who was frightened – I could see on his face that he was extremely anxious…So I whispered to him, ‘I love you, everything will be fine.’ I kissed him on one side, on the other side, and hugged him. And then I picked up my belongings and left.”
Hebert isn’t alone in her experience.
Shauna McHarg has also been battling Covenant Health. She says she hasn’t been able to see her father for almost two years, and has had her visiting time restricted with her mother.
McHarg is in the process of seeking documents which detail why that is — a fight that’s gone all the way to the courts.
She claims an adjudicator ruled back in August for Covenant Health to provide her with the records.
“Covenant Health went to judicial review, rather than provide me with the records,” McHarg said. “So, that would make me think that there’s something to hide.”
The VP of Medicine & Chief Medical Officer for Covenant Health, Dr. Jeff Robinson, says that while he can’t comment on specific cases, he’s “very confident” that “every effort possible” is made to explain all the circumstances to those involved in cases like this.
“We never try to rush through it, unless there is a direct threat to the patient,” said Robinson. “And we try to make sure that everybody understands. They may not agree, but we do our best effort to make sure that they understand.”
One example he gave of a situation that may result in a person being kept from seeing a loved one is if the visits end up being too agitating for the patient, who may suffer from mental illness.
Public Interest Alberta is challenging the province to investigate and stop seniors care facilities and other health facilities that decide to ban family members without due process — something it believes is happening far too much.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said the organization’s executive director, Bill Moore-Kilgannon of the cases presented on Thursday.
“We know from our travels around the province that there are many, many more.”
“It seems to me that there’s often a knee-jerk reaction: ‘well, if you don’t like what we’re doing, you know, you’re out of here. It’s our way or the highway,'” said Allan Garber, a lawyer who works in this field.
He hopes to see a system put in place soon that would allow a review of these decisions.
Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne , though, insists these incidents are rare, and that the province has good processes to deal with them when they do come up.
“I think we should be focused on the needs of patients and staff in our facilities,” he said.
The province recently announced details of a new health advocate office, which could be another way people can voice their complaints. It’s expected to be running by April.
Whether that will be enough to help those who feel shut out by the current policies remains to be seen.
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News
***





Ageism to become discrimination in Alberta for first time

'We can now join the rest of Canada'

CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2017 5:18 PM MT Last Updated: Jan 08, 2017 8:41 AM MT
'We can now join the rest of Canada,' says lawyer Allan Garber.
'We can now join the rest of Canada,' says lawyer Allan Garber. (CBC)
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Age will soon be included as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
An application to include age as a discriminating factor was granted at a hearing in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench Friday after it was unopposed by the province.
"We can now join the rest of Canada," said lawyer Allan Garber as he left the court with seniors' advocate Ruth Adria.
While the preamble to the act proclaims all people are "equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities with regard to" many qualities including age, age is not included as a prohibited ground of discrimination in respect to goods and services or tenancies, Adria's application said.
Alberta Human Rights Act
An excerpt from the Alberta Human Rights Act showing that age is not included in the grounds for discrimination under section four of the act. (CBC)
Garber said he was surprised the Alberta government did not oppose the application but said he had no doubt the application would be granted.
Age as grounds for discrimination has been an issue in Alberta ever since the Alberta Human Rights Commission was formed in 1972, Garber said.
In 1984, the Human Rights Review Panel recommended age be included in the act but the province chose not to do so, he said.
In 2008, Adria wrote to the government asking age be included, but again the province refused, he said.

'Their rights are violated'

"Over half a million Alberta citizens, their rights are violated under the Charter," said Adria, chair of the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society. "They do not have equal benefit of the law or protection of the law."
Adria said she will use the change to challenge "unfair or invalid" driving tests and other issues facing seniors.
In an email, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley thanked Adria for raising the issue.
Ruth Adria
Seniors' advocate Ruth Adria intends to use the Alberta Human Rights Act to fight for seniors rights once age is added as a prohibited ground for discrimination. (CBC)
"We look forward to taking steps to expand the areas in which Albertans are protected from age discrimination," she said.
While the application was granted, Justice Paul Belzil gave the province one year to work out certain exemptions before the change becomes law.
Human rights acts in other provinces include necessary exemptions for such things as life insurance, where older people can be charged more, and senior residences which are permitted to exclude people based on age.
Garber said he and Adria will be watching closely to ensure the exemptions are "for the benefit of seniors and not to their detriment."




Adults-only buildings threatened by court ruling, advocates fear

Judge ruled in January that age discrimination is prohibited under Alberta Human Rights Act

CBC News Posted: Apr 06, 2017 9:19 AM MT Last Updated: Apr 06, 2017 10:14 AM MT
Gerry Baxter of the Calgary Residential Rental Association says the government should consult with the industry as it moves to get in compliance with a recent court ruling on age discrimination.
Gerry Baxter of the Calgary Residential Rental Association says the government should consult with the industry as it moves to get in compliance with a recent court ruling on age discrimination. (CBC)
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The Alberta government is considering banning adults-only designations for condominiums and rental buildings — a move that some fear will destroy the "peace and quiet" that led them to buy there.
Following a court decision earlier in 2017 that stipulated age must be considered a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act, the provincial government is reviewing its relevant legislation.
The Court of Queen's Bench gave the province until next January to work out any exemptions and ensure its laws are in compliance with the ruling.

Unintended consequence

The issue was brought to court by seniors' advocate Ruth Adria, whose lawyer Allan Garber argued that older Albertans face "unfair or invalid" driving tests and other injustices.
Ironically though, one of the first implications of the decision could be the demise of adults-only buildings.
Andrew Fulcher, with the southern Alberta chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute, says the possible changes have owners in those buildings concerned.
"People have bought into a place with the understanding that that's the way it will be. Now to change it, they're kind of … people are unhappy," he said.

'Peace and quiet' at stake, advocate says

Adults-only units make up about 25 per cent of Calgary's rental market.
Gerry Baxter with the Calgary Residential Rental Association says he hopes the government will consult with the industry about possible exemptions.
"I'm not sure that we necessarily have to discriminate against those people who have chosen a lifestyle way of living. They want to live in an adult-only building for the peace and quiet," he said.
"As the court decision in January explained, the government has a year to rewrite the legislation, to include age but also to determine what exemptions the government would consider necessary."

Government will comply

Adria's court application was unopposed by the province, and officials say the government intends to comply with the decision. There is no word yet on what exemptions it will allow.
Human rights acts in other provinces include exemptions for such things as life insurance — where older people can be charged more — and seniors residences, which are permitted to exclude people based on age.  


Courts say ‘no’ to ageism in Alberta

Age will soon be a discriminating factor under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

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MLA David Shepherd hopes ending discrimination based on age stops landlords from refusing to rent to families.
METRO FILE
MLA David Shepherd hopes ending discrimination based on age stops landlords from refusing to rent to families.
By: Alex Boyd Metro Published on Tue Jan 10 2017
It will soon be illegal to discriminate based on age in Alberta—in the same way you can’t discriminate based on disability, marital status or sexual orientation.


On Friday, lawyer Allan Garber made an application to the Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench on behalf of his client, well-known seniors advocate Ruth Adria, to add age as a discriminating factor to the Alberta Human Rights Act.


The court approved the motion. And that makes Alberta the last province to prohibit ageism, Garber said.


“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."


Garber said ageism is usually associated with seniors. Take driver testing, which is based solely on age, not medical condition, a practice he said affects seniors “profoundly.”


Still, he said, there are likely instances of young people being discriminated against, too, such as if a landlord refuses to rent to a younger person.


Edmonton - Centre MLA David Shepherd thinks that's the case.


He said he hopes the ruling ends discrimination against families by disallowing adult-only buildings in Alberta, which can see people who have children kicked out or not allowed.


“As a representative in the downtown core I recognize that having more families in our community adds to urban vibrancy, helps support local business and really adds a lot to our local communities,” he said.


The province now has the next year to work out any exceptions. Selling cigarettes and alcohol to minors, for example, will probably remain illegal, Garber said.


“This applies to elderly people, to young people, it applies to a whole gamut of the population so they’re going to have to figure out which age-based exemptions should apply.”




CBC Edmonton
Lawyer Allan Garber says age as grounds for discrimination has been an issue since the Alberta Human Rights Commission was formed in 1972.
Age will soon be included as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
CBC.CA
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April 27
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