Readers: Newspaper Wrongly Focused On Isolated Negatives In
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 20, 2006
TORONTO, ONTARIO--The Toronto Star ran two stories on November 17 about Ontario's decision two years ago to close the last three remaining institutions in the province by 2009, and move the 1,000 or so residents with intellectual disabilities into the community, along with two profiles of people whose family members said were unsuccessful in past moves.
One article noted that the closure announcement sparked a backlash and a lawsuit from families who want residents to remain housed in the facilities until they die. It went on to detail the argument made by some families that their loved ones would not survive a move to the community.
The second article quoted a government official as saying the 2009 closure date will not change.
"They will close," said Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services. "The decision was not taken lightly."
Meilleur added that all of the money saved by moving people out of institutions would be added to the extra $274 million allocated to support people in their communities.
A number of readers wrote letters to The Star with their own testimonials that moving to the community has been a positive experience for many former institution residents.
"It is unfortunate that the Star has chosen to perpetuate the negative stereotype of people living with intellectual disabilities in our community that give rise to their continued exclusion," wrote Bruce Rivers, Chief Executive Officer of Community Living Toronto. "Where the Star has short-changed its readers is in not celebrating the majority of situations where returning to the community from an institution has been a success."
Related articles and letters from the Toronto Star:
"Nobody 'pushed out,' minister promises"
"Pushed toward failure"
"Can he live out his life there?"
"No regrets about the move"
"Thousands have successfully left institutions"