The Challenge to Balancing
Rights, Risks and Responsibilities
Kerry’s Place Autism Services offered a workshop on this subject before its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 22 November 2003.
Orville Endicott, Barrister &
Solicitor, opened the workshop with an outline of the key principles, especially
those that stem from the significance of Section 15, subsection 1 of the
Canadian Charter of Rights (1982):
A new booklet prepared by the Ontario
Association for Community Living spells out some of the key rights for
The translation of principles into practical everyday rights for disabled persons was the focus of the presentation by Bill Allerton, CEO of Accreditation Ontario. His emphasis was on the effects of the new approach to the rights of disabled persons on the traditional agency model that has inevitably tended to curtail individual rights. Clearly there are many challenges to administrators and staff in developing and supporting a broader and deeper sense of rights and responsibilities among the people in their care.
One mechanism to enhance the process was suggested—the creation of rights committees. Such a committee within an agency could review and monitor emergency procedures, consider reports of abuse and neglect, develop policies to help in the exercise of individual rights, and ensure provision for receiving and resolving complaints. All committees would include some members who were not employees of the agency.
A half-day workshop could only provide some very basic outlines of the complex issues. Its focus was almost entirely from an agency perspective and gave little guidance to parents and others who have major responsibilities for care and individual development.