Letter to Premier of Ontario and his response

Monday, April 5, 2010

Greetings Dear and Honourable Premier of Ontario:

I need you to intervene to prevent my death, as only you can do that now. The Ontario Government has not provided equal access to essential services or housing for people with my types of disabilities. You can correct this oversight.

I have severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities / Environmental Sensitivities / Electrohypersensitivities (MCS/ES/EHS) as well as Fibromyalgia (FM). I am housebound, unable to work, and dependent on ODSP as a result.

ODSP provides my sole means of support for all needs of life.

I have written to you several times over the past few years, asking for help as my condition and circumstances have been deteriorating.

I have now received notice that I will indeed be evicted this week, despite having no safe place to go, that is, a medically required place that will also accommodate my severe disability related needs. In other words, all pre-existing places do not accommodate my needs, are not accessible, will subject me to noxious substances and acceleration of death, as will homelessness.

I believe it is your job to act in the best interest of ALL the people of Ontario, and to follow the Human Rights Code as well as respecting the Criminal Code.

You can prevent my death and avoid contravening both Human Rights and Criminal Code violations.

You can ensure that I have enough time here in my current home, which I am being evicted from this week so my landlords can pursue demolition of the block, and you can also order the resources made available for a safe place to be prepared that will accommodate my disability related needs and allow me to live instead of being put on life support (much more expensive) and very quickly accelerating my death, as my disability responds best to prevention of symptoms.

As someone with severe chemical and environmental sensitivities I need a home free of noxious substances found in everyday personal care and cleaning products and building materials, as well as away from wireless technologies. Even going outside subjects me these chemicals blowing out of dryer vents or coming off people as they walk by.

I need a safe home.

The Ontario Government needs to accept responsibility and provide medically required, disability related accessible housing for me now.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Regards,
linda sepp

Toronto, Ont
M6P 3K6

Attached:

The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario and applies to the areas of employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations.

In the workplace, employees with disabilities are entitled to the same opportunities and benefits as people without disabilities. In some circumstances, employees with disabilities may require special arrangements or “accommodations” to enable them to fulfill their job duties.

Customers, clients and tenants with disabilities also have the right to equal treatment and equal access to facilities and services. “Facilities and services” could be restaurants, shops, hotels, and movie theatres, as well as apartment buildings, transit and other public places. Public and private educational providers also need to make sure their facilities and services are accessible and that appropriate accommodation is available for students with disabilities….

[…]

“Disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and others not. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. It includes …,*** environmental sensitivities, as well as other conditions.

Persons with disabilities face many kinds of barriers on a daily basis. These can be physical, attitudinal or systemic. It is more effective to identify and remove barriers voluntarily rather than waiting to respond to individual accommodation requests or complaints.

Identifying and removing barriers also makes good business sense. In addition to responding to the needs of customers or employees with disabilities, barrier removal enables fuller participation by others, such as older persons and families with young children, who also benefit from increased accessibility.

Employers, unions, landlords and service providers can start by conducting an accessibility review of their facilities, services and procedures to see what barriers exist. An accessibility plan can then be developed and immediate steps taken to begin removing barriers. Developing an accessibility policy and a complaints procedure will also help to address existing barriers and avoid creating new ones.

In fact, the best way to prevent barriers is to design inclusively. This means that when planning new facilities, undertaking renovations, purchasing computer systems or other equipment, launching Web sites, setting up policies and procedures, or offering new services, design choices should be made that avoid creating barriers for persons with disabilities.

Keep in mind that barriers aren’t just physical. Taking steps to prevent “ableism” – attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities – will help promote respect, dignity and the full participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the community.

Duties Tending to Preservation of Life

215. (1) Every one is under a legal duty…

(c) to provide necessaries of life to a person under his charge if that person
(i) is unable, by reason of detention, age, illness, mental disorder or other cause, to withdraw himself from that charge, and
(ii) is unable to provide himself with necessaries of life.
(due to my disability and lack of access to any appropriate accommodations, I am dependent upon ODSP to provide financial and other support for the necessities of life)

Offence

(2) Every one commits an offence who, being under a legal duty within the meaning of subsection (1), fails without lawful excuse, the proof of which lies on him, to perform that duty, if
(a) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(a) or (b),
(i) the person to whom the duty is owed is in destitute or necessitous circumstances, or
(ii) the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed, or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be endangered permanently; or
(b) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.

Duty of persons undertaking acts

217. Every one who undertakes to do an act is under a legal duty to do it if an omission to do the act is or may be dangerous to life.

Duty of persons directing work

217.1 Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.

Criminal negligence

219. (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

Death that might have been prevented

224. Where a person, by an act or omission, does any thing that results in the death of a human being, he causes the death of that human being notwithstanding that death from that cause might have been prevented by resorting to proper means.

Acceleration of death

226. Where a person causes to a human being a bodily injury that results in death, he causes the death of that human being notwithstanding that the effect of the bodily injury is only to accelerate his death from a disease or disorder arising from some other cause.

Administering noxious thing

245. Every one who administers or causes to be administered to any person or causes any person to take poison or any other destructive or noxious thing is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years, if he intends thereby to endanger the life of or to cause bodily harm to that person; or
(b) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, if he intends thereby to aggrieve or annoy that person.

###

The Premier’s response:

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3 responses to “Letter to Premier of Ontario and his response

  1. I am a Canadian living in British Columbia. I also have severe multiple chemical sensitivity. I, fortunately, have safe housing, and I am ever so grateful for this fact. Prior to living here I came very close to losing my life on many occasions. It is sad that this happens when clearly this is an environmental issue that affects everyone and everything on this planet to some degree.

    After moving to safe housing and realizing that I am completely functional when given a clean environment, t seemed I should return to work as a teacher. With assistance from my doctor and my union I attempted to return to work. After three and a half years it was determined that my employer, the largest school district in British Columbia, could not safely return me to work (through arbitration) – as the duty to accommodate would cause undue hardship.

    The government cannot have it both ways. If we cannot be accommodated in the workplace, then our disabilities must be accommodated with safe housing through social programs. I urge the government of Ontario to show some leadership!

    ELAINE WILLIS
    Anmore, British Columbia

  2. Hi Linda,

    Someone messaged me on Facebook about your issue. I live in Hamilton, ON. It’s nowhere near as bad as Toronto in terms of toxins, but it’s still pretty bad. But we have great social services here.

    One place I would check is the Pain Clinic. I see Dr. Tunks, and he is amazing. If you can get a referral to him, he might be able to help you.

    This is their number: 905-521-2100 ext 40836

    The pain management clinic isn’t available to those without their own insurance. But Dr. Tunks took me on as a patient of his own because I needed help. Hopefully he can help you!

    Also, ODSP allots a certain amount of money to each recipient to move. Call and ask for it. That will at least help you in that department.

    If you can’t find a place to stay, admit yourself into the ER, and hope they can have their SSWs there help you find a new place to stay.

    Is there any way to get into a woman’s shelter?

    Just some ideas I’m tossing around.

    I wish you all the best!
    Shauna

  3. Elaine, BRILLIANT observation: “If we cannot be accommodated in the workplace, then our disabilities must be accommodated with safe housing through social programs.”

    Shauna, thanks for the suggestions. My MCS is too severe, I am housebound and have to avoid other people and places. I also cannot use the phone for more than 2 minutes a day. The hospitals around here apparently refused to prepare an appropriately safe room for me when my Dr tried to find me one in advance. I was told I’d have to take my chances and hope they’d provide the infectious diseases special room and make the other arrangements after I arrived – I wouldn’t live long enough…

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