Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MDC closure overdue

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WAYNE.GLOWACKI winnipeg FREEPRESS files
The Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie currently houses around 220 people.

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WAYNE.GLOWACKI winnipeg FREEPRESS files The Manitoba Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie currently houses around 220 people.

Supporting people in the community is not only a matter of rights, it is the right thing to do (Resolve MDC's future, Editorial, June 4).

With the 1996 implementation of the Vulnerable Persons Act and a halt to new admissions to institutions, Manitoba was headed in the right direction for supporting people with intellectual disabilities. Today, more than 5,000 adults live in Manitoba communities and have similar support needs to the 200-plus people living at the MDC.

It appeared our government was taking a different direction in 2004 when it announced the investment of $40 million to redevelop the MDC. The Community Living movement, People First, and allies responded by launching a human rights complaint in 2006 on behalf of the then-380 people living at the MDC.

Decades of research and carefully controlled studies on community placement after closures worldwide discredits the four classic reasons used to justify keeping people institutionalized: severe limited adaptive behaviour, severe challenging behaviour, extraordinary medical needs and advanced years.

Supports to meet those needs are provided in the community to thousands of people by more than 100 community organizations every day.

It is morally wrong to continue to deny people their rights as equal citizens. The slow pace of people moving out of institutions is not acceptable -- it is time for a closure announcement.

JANET FORBES

Executive director

Community Living Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 9, 2014 A8

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