CANADA and where relevant the USA:


SELECTED SOURCES (listed by date of publication). (Links as of August 2, 2012.)


Healthfulness of life: a unified view of mortality, institutionalization, and non-institutionalized disability in Canada, Institute for Research on Public Policy, 1978


Survey of Canada Pension Plan disability benefit recipients, Health and Welfare Canada, 1982


From Asylum to Welfare, Simmons, Harvey G., 1982


Dialogue on Disability: a Canadian Perspective, 1984


Changes: disability and the challenge of renovation, the Barrier Free Design centre of Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, 1985


Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Substitute Decision Making for Mentally Incapable Persons by Advisory Committee on Substitute Decision Making for Mentally Incapable Persons [Ont.] 1987


A national database on disabled persons: making disability data available to users, Statistics Canada, 1987


Income Insecurity: the disability income in Canada, Torjman, Sherri Resin, 1988


Working Together: more on developing community response networks in relation to Part 3 of Adult Guardianship Act: support and assistance for abused and neglected adults, Public Trustee of British Columbia, 1988


Vulnerable: sexual abuse and people with a intellectual handicap, the Roeher Institute, 1988


Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990


Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of People with Disabilities: A Study of the Victims, Sobsey, Dick, 1990


Unbalanced: Mental Health Policy in Ontario, 1930-1988, Simmons, Harvey G., 1990


Poor Places: disability related housing and support services, the Roeher Institute, 1990


Selected socio-economic consequences of disability for women in Canada, Statistics Canada, 1990


Our Master Race: Eugenics in Canada, 1885-1945, McLaren, Angus, 1990


Persons with intellectual disabilities who are incarcerated for criminal offences: a literature review, Correction Services of Canada, 1991


Changing Canadian Schools: perspectives on disability and inclusion, the G. Allan Roeher Institute, 1991


Disability Insurance: where will the money come from if you’re disabled? By Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, 1992


Physical Disability and Social Policy, Bickenback, Jerome B., 1993


No Pity: People With Disabilities Forging A New Civil Rights Movement, Shapiro, Joseph P., 1993


Answering the Call: police response to family and care-giver violence against people with disabilities, the Roeher Institute, 1993


Abuse of Deaf Students and Jericho Hill School, BC Ombudsman, Public Report No.32, 1993


As true as taxes: disability and income tax system: a report of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons, 1993


Violence and Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities: The End of Silent Acceptance, Sobsey, Dick, 1994


Report on Committee on Disability Issues: a Report to the Minister of Human Resources from Canada Pension Plan Advisory Board, 1994


Adolescent health survey: chronic illness & disability among youth in British Columbia, McCreary Centre Society, 1994


Disability is not measles: new research paradigms in disability, the Roeher Institute, 1994


Income security reform from a disability equal rights perspective: prepared for The Canadian Disability Rights Council, Goundry, Sandra A., 1994


Litigating for disability equality rights: the promises and the pitfalls, Goundry, Sandra A., 1994


Women, Disability and the Law: identifying barriers to equality in the law of non-consensual sterilization, child welfare and sexual assault, prepared for The Canadian Disability Rights Council, Goundry, Sandra A., 1994


The Canadian disability resource program: offsetting costs of disability and assuring access to disability related supports(a proposal for reform), Rioux, Marcia H., 1994


As if children matter: perspectives on children, rights and disability, prepared by L’Institut Roeher in collaboration with Partnerships in Community Living, 1995


Disability and vulnerability: a demographic profile: prepared by the Roeher Institute, 1995


Report of Special Counsel regarding Claims Arising out of Sexual Abuse at Jericho Hill School Prepared for the BC Ministry of Attorney General by Thomas R. Berger, O.C., Q.C., 1995


Harm’s Way: the many faces of violence and abuse against persons with disabilities in Canada, the Roeher Institute, 1995


Disability, community and society: exploring the links, the Roeher Institute, 1996


An inventory of disability relevant legislation, policies, procedures, programs and services, prepared by BC Office of Disability Issues, 1996


On-track: the mid-term review of the Provincial Strategy to Coordinate Disability Issues, prepared by Martin Spiegelman and Suzee Cameron, BC Office of Disability Issue, 1996


The effects of disability on British Columbia’s economy, National Institute on Disability Management and Research, 1997


The Disability Income System in Canada: option for reform: report prepared by Task Force on Disability Issue, Torjman, Sherri Resin, 1997


Not Wanted in the Classroom: Parent Associations and the Education of Trainable Retarded Children in Ontario: 1947-1969, Pletsch, Vera, 1997


Speaking Out: Against Abuse in Institutions : Advocating for the Rights of People with Disabilities : Conference Proceedings, Montreal, Quebec December 1st, 1995, 1997


Keeping America Sane: Psychiatry and Eugenics in the United States and Canada 1880-1940, Dowbiggen, Ian Robert, 1997


Literacy, disability, and communication: making the connection, the Roeher Institute, 1999


Future Directions: to address disability issues for the Government of Canada: Working Together for Full Citizenship, Human Resources Development Canada, 1999


Canada Pension Plan: disability benefits: the appeals process by Human Resources Development Canada, 1999


Disability-related support arrangements, policy options and implications for women’s equality, the Roeher Institute, 2000


Enhancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities: by the year 2020, every work ready person with a disability will be employed, BC Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security, 2001


The Need To Know: Administrative Review of Woodlands School, 2001


Strategic Plan, 2002-2007, Office of Disability Issues, Human Resources Development Canada, 2002


Getting it Right for Canadians: the Disability Tax Credit, Standing Committee on Human Resources

Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, 2002


Review of representation agreements and enduring powers of attorney: undertaken by the Attorney General of the Province of British Columbia, 2002


Listening to Canadians: a first view of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program: by Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, 2003


Defining Disability: a complex issue, Government of Canada. 2003


The Woodlands Project, A Report of the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, 2002-2004


Audit of the governments review of eligibility for disability assistance, Office of the Auditor of British Columbia, 2004


Disability Tax Fairness: a Report of the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities, Canada, 2004


Report on the Uniform Civil Enforcement of Money Judgements Act, BC Law Institute, 2005


Between myself and them: stories of disability and difference, 2005


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005


Disability and Social Policy in Canada, McColl, Mary Ann, 2006


Conversation on Health: People With Disabilities, BC Ministry of Heath , 2007


Legislative proposals, explanatory notes and overview relating to Registered Disabilities Saving Plans, Canada Dept. of Finance, 2007


Unfitting stories: narrative approaches to disease, disability and trauma, 2007


Pay Now or Pay Later, Autism Families in Crisis, Final Report on: The Enquiry on the Funding of Autism Treatment, The Senate Standing Committee on Social Issues, Science and Technology, 2007


In Their Name: the call for a wrongful death act in BC, 2008


Envisioning Home: Participatory Action Research with George Pearson Residents, 2008


Disability, mothers, and organizations: accidental activists, Panitch, Melanie, 2008


Absent Citizens: Disability Politics and Policy in Canada, Prince, Michael J., 2009


Reporting of Critical Incidents and Deaths to the Representative of Children and Youth, Special Report, BC Representative of Children and Youth, 2010


Foundation For Change, Report of the Public Commission on Legal Aid in BC, 2011


A Review of Antipsychotic drugs in BC Residential Care Facilities, BC Ministry of Health, 2011


Best of Care: Getting it Right For Seniors In BC, BC Ombudsperson, 2012







2005: LGH evicts patient, RCMP called: NV man refuses move to facility in Vancouver

(North Shore News 2005)

Lions Gate Hospital administrators called the RCMP in Thursday as hospital staff attempted to force a patient with muscular dystrophy, a debilitating muscle-wasting disease, to move to another facility against his will.

Paul Caune, a longtime North Vancouver resident who relies on a ventilator and who requires assistance to move from a bed to a wheelchair, refused to be transferred to the George Pearson Centre, a care facility on the south side of Vancouver.

“I was informed that basically I have two choices. Either I take the bed that’s now available at Pearson, or we force the hospital . . . to get a court order,” said Caune. “Presumably the Mounties would have to enforce that.”

As of 10 a.m that morning, Caune was declared a trespasser by the hospital. Vancouver Coastal Health, the authority that runs the hospital, is now seeking that court order to force his removal.

Caune, who has been a patient in the neurology unit of LGH for six months, fears the move would isolate him from his family, and reduce his quality of life.

George Pearson Centre, located at 700 West 57th St., will be far more difficult for his loved ones to reach than his current location, said Caune. His parents, who are both approaching 80, will be unable to make the commute from here very frequently, he said, removing a major source of emotional support.

The new facility would also place him in a dormitory-style ward with up to nine other respirator-dependent patients, he said. His privacy, security and independence would all be compromised.

“It’s impossible in that setting to lead a normal life, which is what I’ve been leading,” said Caune.

Viviana Zanocco, a spokesperson for the health authority, said the Pearson facility is not nearly as bad as Caune makes it out to be.

“He said quite a few things about George Pearson that are simply untrue,” said Zanocco.

Caune’s claims that he would only be bathed once a week, and that he would only be taken out of bed once in 24 hours are false, she said. [In 1997 when I lived for nine months in the NS nursing home Evergreen House residents got showers once a week; it was well know GPC residents got showers once a week; when I was there, 2005-2007 I like every other resident got showers once a week; once I went three weeks without a shower]His treatment, she said, will be suited to his needs.

“That depends on the patient. Some people like having a bath once a week. Some need it twice a week,” she said. “It’s routine- oriented.”

As to whether there was a dormitory-style living area at the Pearson centre, she said she did not know off the top of her head.

Caune had been living in a group care home run by the North Shore Disability Resource Centre until a bout of pneumonia put him in hospital in June. It is to this care home, or some equivalent, that he wants to return now, but the home lacks the budget to support his advancing condition.

“We just weren’t getting enough funding from Vancouver Coastal Health,” said John Newman, a representative for the facility.

Caune now requires two people to move him from bed to wheelchair and back, and the home cannot support that in its budget.

Caune could be accommodated on the North Shore if he and others with similar needs were to share caregivers in a single, small facility, argued Newman.

Zanocco said it is not that simple.

“There is more involved than whether or not there is someone there who can lift him,” she said.

As to the cost of supporting Caune at the new facility, Zanocco said it could not be broken down that way, because all residents share staff and amenities.

In addition, there is more at issue here than just Caune’s care, said Zanocco.

“When somebody is taking up a couple of hospital beds, that becomes an issue in terms of the hospital’s ability to care for people,”

she said. “So on behalf of other patients who need that care, we have to act.”

Caune understands the hospital’s concerns, but says he feels justified in resisting. He does not want to stay at Lions Gate; he just wants to stay on the North Shore.

“I don’t want to risk being stuck (at the Pearson centre) for the rest of my life,” said Caune.

Why the health authority called in the Mounties during the Thursday confrontation is not entirely clear. The health authority maintains that the RCMP presence was required only to maintain order, not to add weight to the hospital’s case.

The attending officer, Insp. Howard Eaton, said that he had not wanted to get involved initially as he did not see it as a police matter, but that the health authority asked him to attend in case Caune’s supporters became disruptive. When he got there, though, he was asked by a hospital official to speak with Caune.

“I said I really don’t know what I can say to him, I mean it’s not a policing issue,” said Eaton. “I’m sure they were probably trying to put a little leverage on him.”

It is possible that a solution may be found to the dispute, and that a forced removal might be avoided, said Caune.

During Thursday’s confrontation, he agreed with a hospital administrator that he would move to Pearson for a maximum of two years, if the health authority could promise that they would create a place for him within that time, he said.

Zanocco was not aware of such an agreement, but she noted that the health authority could likely make no such promise, as the creation of appropriate accommodation on the North Shore was beyond the health authority’s control.

“If something is created, of course he’ll be moved back,” she said, but added, “I don’t see how we’d make a commitment based on something that isn’t in our control, unfortunately.”

For now, the health authority is still seeking a court order for Caune’s removal. How, exactly, it will be enforced is unclear.

“I don’t know,” said Zanocco. “To my knowledge this is the first time we’ve sought a court order in a situation like this, so I’m not quite sure what the process would be.”

Eaton said that he or another officer would likely attend as the court order was being enforced, but that the RCMP would by no means become physically involved.

“I’m not going to be touching the man,” he said. “We’re not qualified to be moving people.”

Caune is not sure how it will play out, either.

“As far as we all understand I cannot be made to live there without my consent,” he said. “Where they would remove me to I have no idea, since we all know that I have really no other place to live.” –James Weldon North Shore News Dec 11 2005

2005: Court order could be needed to move patient

(Copyright The Province 2005)

A man suffering from deteriorating muscular dystrophy is refusing to move out of the North Shore’s Lions Gate Hospital to a long-term care centre in Vancouver.

But the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority says the patient, who needs help getting in an out of bed and relies on a breathing apparatus, cannot occupy an acute-care bed at Lions Gate when the George Pearson Centre in Vancouver is equipped to provide long-term care.

An authority official confirmed that a court order will be sought to move Paul Caune from Lions Gate, where he has been housed for the past six months. Caune has vowed to resist.

“I’ve got muscular dystrophy which gets worse as I get older. I use a wheelchair and I don’t have the physical strength to get

myself out of bed,” he said.

His resistance to moving from the hospital is based on three factors, he said.

He believes that the George Pearson Centre provides patients with one assist to get into bed and one assist to get out of bed per day. He also claimed patients at Pearson get only one shower a week.

He said his elderly parents live in North Vancouver and will not be able to visit him as often if he is located in Vancouver.

“South Vancouver will be a very long way for my parents to visit. My father is 80 and my mom is 76,” he said. “I have lived on the North Shore all my life.”

Caune said he also hopes to put pressure on the health authority to develop resources on the North Shore to look after people with similar needs.

VCHA spokeswoman Viviana Zanocco said Caune’s claims about the George Pearson Centre are not accurate.[See above section to see how wrong Zanocco is] And she said that Lions Gate is not the place for someone who needs long-term care.

She said Caune occupies two acute-care beds [This was not true; I used only one bed] at the hospital because of the amount of equipment he needs, and acute-care beds need to be freed up for other patients.

Zanocco said a facility that can cater to Caune’s needs does not exist in North Vancouver.

Caune said he will resist any attempt to move him.

On Thursday, RCMP were called to the hospital but declined to intervene.

Health authority spokeswoman Maureen Melachuk said the organization will seek a court order to compel Caune to move out of the hospital. When the order will be sought is not clear. –Salim Jiwa Vancouver Province Dec 12 2005

2005: Disabled LGH patient agrees to Pearson move

(Copyright North Shore News 2005)

A bedridden man who was threatened with eviction from Lions Gate Hospital left the facility voluntarily this week when he struck a deal with the Vancouver Coastal Health authority guaranteeing his eventual return to the North Shore.

In signing the agreement, Paul Caune, a six-month LGH resident with debilitating muscular dystrophy, spared the hospital the need to obtain a court order for his removal.

In a letter dated Dec. 12, Randi Enweani, director of the surgery program at LGH, confirmed that the health authority is “committed to returning (Caune) to the North Shore to an appropriate facility within two years.”

The resolution was greeted with mixed feelings from those who supported Caune in his protest.

“He said he didn’t get 100 per cent of what he wanted, but he got as much as he could,” said John Neumann, executive director of information and advocacy services at the North Shore Resource Centre, who has been advocating on Caune’s behalf. “It’s bittersweet.”

The health authority said that they were happy with the arrangement.

“We’re very pleased that we reached an agreement that would put him in a facility that’s appropriate to his care needs and that he’s satisfied with,” said Viviana Zanocco,

Caune, who relies on a ventilator and requires assistance to move, had refused to be transferred from LGH last week out of fear that the new facility would isolate him from his social network and result in a significant decline in his quality of life.

The hospital, saying it needed the bed for more critically ill patients, called the RCMP last week and warned Caune that they would seek a court order to force him to move if he continued to refuse to co-operate. That measure was avoided with the current agreement.

While Caune was granted most of the conditions he was seeking, he told the North Shore News Friday that he is very unhappy at the George Pearson Centre, the Oakridge-area care facility to which he was moved. While the staff are “wonderful,” he said, the open, 10- bed ward where he is staying is like a fishbowl. “This is how society treated disabled folks in the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s. Basically, you warehoused them,” said Caune. “It’s just gonna grind your spirit down.”

The ward, where residents’ beds are separated by curtains, offers very little privacy, and the noise of 10 ventilators makes it very difficult to sleep. The facility, on a large parcel of land, is isolated from, rather than integrated into, the community, he said. It is a stark departure from the care facility where he had lived a “normal life” on the North Shore.

Since the News’ front page story of Dec. 11, there has been much debate over whether Caune’s criticism of the standards at the Pearson centre, the Oakridge-area facility is justified.

In a letter to the News, Cathy McLennan, a North Vancouver resident whose brother has stayed repeatedly to Pearson, said Caune’s portrayal was well founded.

“The rooms are dormitory style, it was very noisy due to all the respirators running and (my brother) never slept more than a few hours a night when he was there,” wrote McLennan. “After spending time with my brother at the facility, I can assure you (Caune’s) worries are justified.”

Linda Korbin, Executive Director of the B.C. Association of Social Workers, gave a similar assessment. “George Pearson Centre does not represent an adequate housing for people with disabilities,” she wrote in a letter. “It is an institution in which residents do not have the privacy, independence or personal support that most of us take for granted. Mr. Caune is wise to refuse to move there.”

But the types of concerns raised in the media are “completely unfounded,” said the B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union in a release this week. The union represents many LPNs and care aides who work at the facility.

“Our members . . . are very committed to the needs of their residents,” George Heyman, president, said in the release. “Yes, the building is not new but the facility is well run, and the setting, 12 acres of parks and garden, is quite beautiful.”

A number of Caune’s specific complaints were not accurate, said Stephen Howard, communications officer for the BCGEU. There is no cap on the number of lifts per day [This is incorrect; the staff routinely, in spite of the fact that there was no policy to do so, told residents GPC has a ‘one-up-one-down rule; in 2007 Paul Caune was present at a managers meeting in GPC where the Manager of Residential Services admitted she had no idea the staff had been telling residents the one-up//one down rule is policy and she declared she would tell them to stop doing this; this manager worked at GPC for six years], he said, and while residents only receive one shower or bath a week, they also receive a full “bed bath” daily and a weekly hair wash.

There are also some private rooms and other spaces where residents can go to spaces to be alone or with visitors, he added. “Pearson isn’t a prison.”

Open wards (in addition to private rooms) was in fact what the residents wanted, said the health authority’s Zanocco. “Residents didn’t want to be in rooms by themselves cause they felt a little bit isolated,” she said.

While she acknowledged that there are waiting lists for those who move from the ward to private rooms, not everyone in the ward wants one, she said.

Caune will be lobbying the health authority to move him back to the North Shore as soon as it can. “I don’t want to end up like one of those people who are dead inside,” said Caune. –James Weldon North Shore News Dec 18 2005 [The links to the North Shore News articles are in the Canadian Newstand data base, which can be accessed through public library websites in BC.]

Quadriplegic charged for threats: [Final Edition]

Seyd, Jane. North Shore News; North Vancouver, B.C. [North Vancouver, B.C]27 Aug 2006: 9.






A wheelchair-bound quadriplegic from North Vancouver who has previously been an advocate for the disabled is facing several criminal charges and has been banned from medical facilities in North Vancouver after allegedly threatening to kill medical staff, including John Neumann, a director of the North Shore Disability Resource Centre.

Daniel Patrick Hunt, 44, has been ordered under bail conditions to stay two blocks away from Lions Gate Hospital, the North Shore Disability Resource Centre and all other clinics and medical facilities in North Vancouver except with written permission.

He has been charged with threatening after allegedly leaving a voice message on Newman’s office phone May 3 saying he had a gun and was going to shoot people who worked at North Shore medical facilities, including Newman’s assistant.

On a separate occasion, on June 13, Hunt allegedly told one of his care attendants that he planned to stab Newman — who is also a quadriplegic — in the neck with an ice pick.

Hunt also faces further threatening and criminal harassment charges after he allegedly told another quadriplegic, Paul Caune, on March 13 that he was going to kill him and made a series of obscene and threatening phone calls to Caune between January and March of this year.

After Hunt allegedly made threats about shooting medical staff, North Vancouver RCMP searched his home under a warrant but did not find any weapons.

Hunt has been wheelchair-bound after being paralyzed following a car accident 10 years ago. But police recommended the charges because of the serious and detailed nature of the threats, said John MacAdam, spokesman for the North Vancouver RCMP.

Caune said he hopes authorities do take the allegations seriously.

“Obviously he’s a threat to my peace of mind,” said Caune, who is wheelchair-bound himself as a result of muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease, and relies on a ventilator.

Caune said he hopes Hunt will be judged according to his actions before the courts and not given special treatment because of his disability.

Hunt has not yet entered pleas to any of the charges and his lawyer Glen Paruk refused to comment on the case.

His next court appearance is Aug. 31.

(Copyright North Shore News 2006)


Quadriplegic banned from medical clinics: Man agrees to peace bond after threats: [Final Edition]

Seyd, Jane. North Shore News; North Vancouver, B.C. [North Vancouver, B.C]29 Nov 2006: 10.

A wheelchair-bound quadriplegic from North Vancouver has agreed to stay away from all medical clinics on the North Shore for a year – – except with special permission — as part of a peace bond agreement after allegedly threatening to kill health care workers with both a gun and an ice pick.

Daniel Hunt, 44, who has previously spoken out as an advocate for the disabled, agreed Nov. 21 in North Vancouver provincial court to stay at least a block away from all medical facilities except with written permission or in an emergency.

He also agreed to stay away from John Neumann, the director of the North Shore Disability Resource Centre, and Paul Caune, another disabled man — both of whom were allegedly threatened by Hunt.

Hunt was originally criminally charged after allegedly leaving a voice message on Neumann’s office phone saying he had a specially modified gun and was going to shoot 30 people who worked at North Shore medical facilities.

On a separate occasion, Hunt allegedly told one of his care attendants that he planned to stab Neumann — who is also a quadriplegic — in the neck with an ice pick, said Crown counsel Karen Wikberg. Wikberg said Hunt also allegedly told the care attendant “he’d feel a lot better if he shot someone.”

Hunt faced further threatening and criminal harassment charges after he allegedly told Caune, who has muscular dystrophy and relies on a ventilator, that he was going to kill him by either stabbing him in the neck with an ice pick or ripping out the connection to his life support system.

Hunt’s defence lawyer Glen Paruk said his client hadn’t admitted any of the specific allegations. But by agreeing to the peace bond, Hunt agrees he did say things “in periods of anger and frustration” that could cause people to fear him, said Paruk.

Outside the court, Hunt told the North Shore News, “I know what I did was wrong.”

He said he made the verbal threats when he was depressed, frustrated and mixing prescription drugs with street drugs and alcohol. “I was really freaked out and bummed out,” he said. “Some people get angry and they blame other people.”

Hunt said he’s not a violent person. “I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve never shot anyone. I’ve never stabbed anyone.”

He said he is now trying to get on with his life.

Paruk said Hunt has been a quadriplegic since a car accident 10 years ago and has wrestled sometimes with drug and alcohol problems. He added Hunt has not been using any drugs for the past six months, is attending drug and alcohol programs and plans to go back to school at Capilano College in the fall.

(Copyright North Shore News 2006)

Daniel Hunt died Feb. 2020.




Choices In Support For Independent Living:



This is the story Don described in his HINAP interview:


2010: No legal remedy for death

Copyright (c) 2010 Black Press Group Ltd.)

She died because a caregiver at CareLife Fleetwood neglected to plug in her respirator.

And because of a law imported from Britain more than 150 years ago, her family has no legal remedy.

Abbottsford’s Judith Jarabek-Gray, 61, was admitted to Surrey’s CareLife on Jan. 5 of this year, when her Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) required her to be placed on a ventilator.

Two weeks later, a nurse accidentally left Jarabek-Gray’s ventilator on a battery pack rather than plugging it into a wall, where it would have had continuous power. Instead, the six-hour battery ran out and Jabarak-Gray died.

On May 4, Fraser Health Authority’s Program Director for Residential and Assisted Living Marg Fraser wrote to the family apologizing for the error.

“While the care staff inserted the correct number of cords into the wall outlet, in fact, the cord that ensured continuous power was not plugged in,” Fraser wrote in the letter. “We are currently developing mandatory education sessions for all staff led by the Bio-Medical Team.”

Daughter Melissa Jarabek was stunned to learn that CareLife can’t be held accountable civilly for causing her mother’s death.

“Don’t you think that if Fraser Health knew they could sue them, they would spend the money ensuring that they had proper procedures and equipment in their facilities?” Jarabek said Wednesday.

She points out specifically to the batteries on the portable respirators, which have now been replaced with new ones that have louder alarms.

Jarabek said she’s getting several emails from other people with similar stories throughout the health region.

“The negligence is astounding,” she said.

She wonders if the province and health authority could be held accountable in civil court if it’s found more lives could have been saved.

“Everything was preventable that happened,” she said.

The health authority will not be subject to punitive damages in court because of a law that has remained unchanged since it was pulled from Britain in 1846.

It essentially states that there is no civil remedy for negligent death if the deceased had no dependents. That includes children, those without income, or people who are infirm, such as Jarabek-Grey.

All other provinces in Canada have amended the law except for British Columbia. It is currently being reviewed by B.C.’s attorney general.

Don Renaud, a injury case lawyer, said that the situation as it stands is not acceptable.

“She has a right to sue, but a right without a remedy isn’t a right at all,” Renaud said. “There’s virtually nothing that’s permissible under the combination of the Family Compensation Act and the Estate Administration Act.”

He has facilitated a grassroots group of about 150 families looking to change the law.–Keith Diakiw The Leader June 25, 2010 [This is a Canadian Newsstand database link. It can accessed through BC public libraries.]