Thursday, January 27, 2011

Canadian Supreme Court won't hear appeal over transfer of autistic man to U.S. facility

From Global Toronto:

FREDERICTON, Canada - Canada's top court won't hear an argument that the New Brunswick government discriminated against a man with autism by transferring him to Maine for care.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a claim brought by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission against the former Department of Family and Community Services.

The court typically doesn't give reasons for not hearing a case.

New Brunswick Appeal Court ruled against the commission last year, upholding a decision made in Court of Queen's Bench.

The man's parents argued that the province's decision to move their son out of Fredericton, place him in institutional care in Saint John and ultimately move him out of New Brunswick amounted to discrimination.

The Appeal Court said the level of care required by the autistic man simply wasn't available in the province.

Seamus Cox, a lawyer at the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, said last week's decision by the Supreme Court of Canada ends the matter.

"The file will now be closed," he said.

The man's parents filed a complaint with the human rights commission in 2002. The man, who was 21 at the time, had been living in a group home in Fredericton near his parents because of his escalating aggressive behaviour.

When the group home could no longer accommodate him, the Department of Family and Community Services moved him to Centracare, a specialized long-term care facility in Saint John for a short-term placement.

In March 2005, the man was transferred again to Spurwink, a facility in Portland, Me.