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March 2003, vol. 12, no. 3

Exploitation of seniors: consultation, report, recommendations

Section 48 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms stipulates that “every aged
person and every handicapped person has a right to protection against any form of
exploitation. Such a person also has a right to the protection and security that must be
provided to him by his family or the person acting in their stead.”

There is no doubt that seniors are not only victims of physical, psychological and
financial abuse, which is unacceptable in itself, but also of discrimination, poor
treatment and negligence. If disability is added to the factor of vulnerability constituted
by age, it must be conceded that the risks of exploitation or abuse are high and that
seniors with disabilities are thus all the more vulnerable. This is the point underscored
by the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec (OPHQ) in its brief tabled with the
Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ), the
committee on human rights and youth, during a far-reaching public consultation held in
2000 on the occasion of the International Year of Older Persons.
Based on the testimony and briefs received, the Committee unveiled its report in
December 2001. The document paints a bleak picture of the situation. “The aging
population and the inadequacy of current protection measures for seniors who are losing
their autonomy are paving the way to increased abuse and exploitation of our elderly
citizens,” pointed out Committee chair Pierre Marois on the occasion of the report’s

Several types of exploitation and situations of vulnerability were mentioned during the
consultation. One type of abuse is that committed by one or more individuals against a
vulnerable person, a situation that could undoubtedly be prevented by better informing
such persons and those close to them about assistance available to them. The proof of
this is that, thanks to an effective information campaign and “plenty of advertising
targeting the phenomenon of the exploitation of seniors, more complaints are now being
filed with the Committee,” states vice-chair Roger Lefebvre. In fact, Québec’s Human
Rights Tribunal recently handed down an important ruling in favour of an elderly person
who had been financially exploited by his/her son and daughter-in-law.
There is also the phenomenon of “systemic” exploitation. Since elderly persons
constitute a captive client base of the health-care and social services system, the flaws in
its organization entail risks for their health and well-being. These flaws were clearly
identified in the Committee’s report and many of them are the object of

A few key points
One problem is the quality of the services offered in outlying regions, which must be
rectified to ensure that all seniors are served adequately. A policy concerning the regions
could address this problem. Moreover, the harmonization of policies governing
specialized transit, home-care services, rehabilitation and taxation could enable the
various organizations to work together in order to better coordinate their services.
As concerns home-care services, the report recommends that the Ministère de la Santé et
des Services sociaux (MSSS) take the necessary measures to ensure that CLSCs are
equipped to meet the needs of seniors. It is also recommended that the forthcoming
home-care policy guarantee natural caregivers information, training, support and respite
services. Standards and monitoring mechanisms must also be adopted as concerns the
training of the personnel who ensure such services. Roger Lefebvre feels that “the
pressure is very strong in this area and it is clear to the Committee that taking action in
this regard would improve the living conditions of seniors and persons with

Because they are not governed by standards in terms of the care provided, private
residential centres can pose a problem. The report contains recommendations on the
status and role of these residential centres, namely, that they be subject to an
accreditation procedure to ensure improved supervision, and that their activities be
monitored. According to Roger Lefebvre, “efforts are currently being made and we hope
that in the short or medium term the safety and quality of life of seniors will be
improved in the residential network.” Since that time, the Minister responsible for
Seniors announced in February 2002 her intention of legislating in this area, and
amendments to the Act respecting health services and social services have made the
regional health boards responsible for keeping an up-to-date record of the residences for
seniors on their territory.

The MSSS was swift to react to the content of the report. Following its publication, Ms
Nicole Brodeur was immediately appointed commissioner for seniors in order to follow
up on the Committee’s recommendations concerning the Department.

What else?
Numerous other recommendations also require decision-making and concrete action.
All 48 of them reflect the importance of moving quickly. As part of this consultation,
the Committee made specific commitments. These include a pledge to conduct a follow-
up study of the recommendations and disseminate the results publicly. “Naturally, we
made this commitment to ensure that the recommendations are not shelved,” explains
Roger Lefebvre. A monitoring committee was also set up and meets regularly.

One of the monitoring committee’s first undertakings was to send a letter to all the
government departments and agencies addressed by the report’s recommendations. This
letter, signed by the chair of the committee on human rights and youth, mentioned the
recommendations that concerned each body specifically and asked them to indicate how
they intended to act on them. Roger Lefebvre says that this letter was well received.
“We’re currently monitoring the reactions to the recommendations made to these
bodies, and those who haven’t answered will be contacted once again in the coming
weeks. It’s clear that if a given agency doesn’t collaborate or appears indifferent to the
recommendations, we’ll point this out in our follow-up report,” he affirms.

For the Committee, it is essential that the government departments and agencies react to
the recommendations that concern them, because if they are taken into account, the
living conditions of both seniors and persons with disabilities can only improve. The
follow-up report should be made public as planned in late 2003 or early 2004, and
Roger Lefebvre expresses the hope that “this report will have as many repercussions as
the report on exploitation itself.”

By Micheline Thibault

Concern for the vulnerable members of our society: it’s everyone’s business

My professional actions have always targeted one aspect or another of social solidarity.
For this reason, I can particularly identify with this month’s theme, people who are
vulnerable. A vulnerable person can be defined as anyone with a disability, regardless of
age, and who, due to various factors, is deprived of the full exercise of the fundamental
rights enjoyed by the population in general. One of the major factors of vulnerability is,
of course, dependence on another person.

Several of our disabled fellow citizens display these factors of vulnerability, which is
why this problem is of concern to us at the OPHQ. The often difficult economic, social
and family conditions with which these people must cope make them vulnerable in
many ways. I have always tried to seek solutions to these problems that rely on sharing,
a value that tends to be forgotten in the exercise of our individual rights and freedoms.

Of course, each individual has his or her own environment and social reality, which
varies from one region to another. As a rule, the social fabric is generally woven tighter
in rural communities, and energy must often be devoted to specific areas, large cities for
example, where there are generally more problems and a greater accumulation of risk
factors. In this regard, I have always advocated the essential nature of joint multi-sector
action and regionalization in order to make actions more effective. Thus, if a vulnerable
person receives support based on parameters that are tailored to that person and his or
her environment, the social programs designed to foster his or her social inclusion and
active participation in collective life will have a better chance of succeeding.

In recent decades, we have relied a great deal on the State in these matters. Today, the
State’s means are more limited and many people will even tell you that government
actions are not always as effective as they could be. Although we are entitled to hope for
a “better State,” civic society has an important role to play and must show
intergenerational solidarity.

I would like to commend, in passing, the recent announcement concerning substantial
reinvestment in the field of health and social services. Whether it be to implement a
home-care policy, improve services for seniors in residential centres, or provide front-
line services in mental health, rehabilitation services for physical impairment and
services to help the families of children with pervasive developmental disorders
(including autism), these sums, which we have long awaited, are certainly welcome.

These reinvestments will undoubtedly breach certain gaps in the system and, by offering
better services to vulnerable persons, some situations of exploitation will be prevented.
Of course, money alone is not the solution to all problems. We have also, as responsible
citizens, duties of solidarity, reciprocity and social participation.

The revision of the Act to secure the handicapped in the exercise of their rights

As we went to press, the National Assembly’s Parliamentary Committee on Social
Affairs was holding two days of public hearings on Bill 155, which revises the Act to
secure the handicapped in the exercise of their rights, adopted in 1978.

Several groups were heard, mainly representatives of the associative movement, early
childhood centres and government agencies.

Three more days will be required to hear all the groups who have asked to make a
presentation, although it is possible that the impending elections may change the
legislative schedule. We will surely have the opportunity to discuss this topic anew in
the coming months.

Blainville: an example to follow

On October 9, 2002, a press conference was held at the Blainville city hall to honour
several businesspeople who provided additional parking spaces for persons with
disabilities or brought existing spaces up to standard. This ceremony came in the wake
of an information campaign conducted in conjunction with the OPHQ during Québec’s
Week of the Disabled in June 2002. Thanks to this initiative, the number of parking
spaces in the city increased by 38%. L’intégration met with the mayor of Blainville, Mr
Pierre Gingras.

L’intégration: What motivated your municipality to improve the parking situation for
persons with disabilities?
Mayor Gingras: We participated in Québec’s Week of the Disabled and we realized that
we had to start right here at home. We made sure that, at the city hall and elsewhere,
there were parking spaces for persons with disabilities so that they could have access to
municipal services. We then contacted Blainville’s association of businesspeople, which
sent all of its members a message asking them to take part in Québec’s Week of the
Disabled and to make parking spaces available to persons with disabilities or, if such
spaces already existed, to make sure they complied with current standards.

A mobile brigade then toured the area to make the citizens of Blainville aware of the
importance of respecting these reserved parking spaces. Unfortunately, people in a hurry
still have a tendency to use parking spaces that are designated for the disabled.

What do you mean by parking spaces that “comply with current standards”?
First, in terms of identification: the blue square marked out on the ground is more
noticeable and conducive to compliance than the sign alone. Furthermore, it’s not just a
question of setting spaces aside, but also of ensuring that they are large enough to allow
persons with disabilities to get in and out of their vehicle easily. Of course, merchants
were also informed about the use of the sign, as stipulated in the Highway Safety Code.
How was the municipality made aware of the parking problems experienced by persons
with disabilities?
Here in Blainville, our motto is: “We do things with people, not for them.” We were
approached by one of our citizens, Louis Lavoie, along with Alexandre Poce, who is the
director general of the Fondation de recherche sur la moelle épinière (a spinal-cord
research foundation). Alexandre grew up in Blainville and is a lawyer by profession. He
works passionately for causes he believes in, and this encourages us to support his

Was he a sort of catalyst for this initiative?
Yes. I think that persons with disabilities should be catalysts for action at the municipal
and provincial level. Municipal government is the level that is closest to the citizen. In
Blainville, persons with disabilities represent approximately 10% of the population,
whereas the Québec average is 13%, I believe. It’s important to be in contact with these
people and to facilitate their integration into everyday life, including access to
businesses, public services, education and recreation. They are entitled to the same
degree of access as other citizens.

Will this awarding of certificates have an impact on other merchants?
It’s a way of acknowledging the support they provided to the campaign. It’s important to
thank and congratulate these people for having contributed to our efforts. We must all
work together, and a ceremony such as this is the best way to honour their collaboration.
I hope other people will be motivated to imitate them, but as you know, we can always
do better, so we’ll have to persevere.

Were specific measures adopted to ensure that these parking spaces are used properly?
The police provided people with information instead of handing out parking tickets
during the campaign. This was also an ideal period for us to hold the campaign at
strategic sites where parking spaces are very much in demand, such as the caisse
populaire, for example. Awareness-raising initiatives must be ongoing. People must be
reminded of the importance of being respectful and civic-minded in order to foster the
inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Is the municipality doing anything else for the integration of persons with disabilities?
Yes, absolutely. In conjunction with a specialized organization, we’re working on the
integration of disabled children in parks, children who, depending on their disability,
need attendants. We’ve been participating in this integration program for children for
about three years now; in my opinion, this is a very important type of integration.

As concerns barrier-free design, our city hall is very accessible. It is our duty to ensure
that municipal buildings are barrier-free. The building will be made accessible to
persons with physical impairments thanks to the installation of a lift to the bleachers,
adapted washrooms, etc.

Ernest Laroche, who is the city councillor for Alexandre Poce’s district, is very involved
in this initiative and works directly with him. As I said earlier, the municipality is the
level of government that it closest to the population. It’s not always easy to contact your
MNA or a minister, whereas your city councillor sometimes lives right beside you!
Also, it’s easier to bring an issue to the attention of your city council. My advice to
persons with disabilities is to make your city councils aware of the actions that can be
taken to foster integration. It doesn’t necessarily have to be more expensive if it’s done
the right way.

Are you capable of taking this concern for the social integration of persons with
disabilities to another level, to the Union des municipalités, for example?
I happen to be the treasurer of the Union des municipalités, so naturally I’ll use my
experience to influence the Union’s actions.

Intellectual impairment

Preventing violence, Eastern Townships-style

“Persons with an intellectual impairment are at a much higher risk of becoming victims
of violence than the rest of the population. This is because society does not consider
these people a threat in terms of legal action, and prejudice against them is strong,”
explains Jean-Marc Lachance of the Regroupement CNDE-Dixville, the rehabilitation
centre for intellectual impairment in the Eastern Townships.

Violence can take many forms, and although sexual abuse appears to be more common
among women, men can also be victims as well. About ten years ago, resource people in
the region decided to tackle this problem and try and find solutions. The working group
was made up of people from the education, rehabilitation and health and social services
networks. “There was no official mandate,” explains Jean-Marc Lachance, “but there
was a common desire to develop tools to create links and enable us to respond
effectively, protect these people and defend their rights.” This group was supported by
the regional health and social services board, which used this theme in its plan of action.

At the outset, a reference framework was developed. A definition of violence was
required, especially “how it is manifested in connection to a person with an intellectual
impairment, the forms it may take, and how to recognize whether a person is a victim of
violence,” explains Jean-Marc Lachance. This initiative thus enabled participants to
identify signs specific to both the abuser and the abused. Obviously, the more severe a
person’s disabilities, the more vulnerable he or she is. However, whether that person is a
victim of violence depends largely on his or her environment. “Violence is the result of
who a person with a disability is in connection with the environment in which he or she
lives,” sums up Jean-Marc Lachance.

Once the reference framework was completed, the organizations directly involved with
these people were contacted. A response protocol for disabled victims of violence was
launched in 1998 with a first round of signatures, and new partners joined in March

How it works
The protocol is based on the “gateway” concept. Member organizations are gateways
through which victims of violence can pass as needed. They make a commitment to the
reference framework and ensure their collaboration in putting an end to violent

Each member organization is asked to appoint a representative, define its mission and
the type of response it provides, and indicate its contact information and the territory it
serves. The document, in the form of a kit, contains all the protocols signed by the other
members. Thus, when a given organization is faced with a situation of violence, it has
all the information required to contact other member organizations in order to provide
assistance and stop the violence. “This is how we network, by respecting each member’s
mandate,” points out Jean-Marc Lachance. “Whether it be a CLSC, a rehabilitation
centre or a school, people can take action rapidly, in the interest of the person and his or
her rights, and it is up to that person or his or her representative to decide what to do
about the problem.”

Recent developments
After the regional board, it is now the Regroupement CNDE-Dixville which is
responsible for promoting and following up on the protocol. To this end, initiatives have
been launched to recruit other partners, such as the four school boards in the Eastern
Townships, specialized transit organizations other than the Société de transport de
Sherbrooke (which is already a partner), and advocacy organizations (except for the
Association de Sherbrooke pour la déficience intellectuelle, the association for
intellectual impairment, which has been involved from the start). Correctional services
have also been approached, because an “abuser” component is being developed in order
to include offenders in the protocol. “Depending on whether a person with an
intellectual impairment is a victim of violence or the cause of a violent situation, the
gateway is not the same, but it’s the same network that gets involved,” explains Jean-
Marc Lachance. The goal is to ensure that the offender is treated fairly by the judicial
system. Indeed, it would appear that legal system is increasingly taking its cues from the
network where persons with an intellectual impairment are concerned.

And elsewhere?
The Eastern Townships is the first region to have created such a network. Similar
initiatives have been carried out in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Montérégie
regions, but the Eastern Townships is unique. “The success of our formula is due largely
to the commitment and determination of our team,” affirms Jean-Marc Lachance. “All
the members agree that persons with intellectual impairments should be properly
represented and duly defended in all fairness.”

By Micheline Thibault

The following organizations are members of the protocol
Centre d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (CALACS) –
Regroupement CNDE/Dixville – Centre d’aide aux victimes d’actes criminels de
l’Estrie – Espace Estrie – Office des personnes handicapées du Québec – the Public
Curator of Québec – Centre jeunesse de l’Estrie – Société de transport de Sherbrooke –
Centre Saint-Michel and École du Touret (Commission scolaire de la Région-de-
Sherbrooke) – Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse –
Centre de réadaptation Estrie – Établissements ayant la mission CLSC establishments of
the Eastern Townships – Association de Sherbrooke pour l’intégration sociale – the
office of the Attorney General Prosecutor – the police forces of the Eastern Townships

Public transit: a new program
In November, the Ministère des Transports announced the terms and conditions of the
government assistance program for public transit in rural regions, which will provide the
regional county municipalities (RCMs) with an envelope of $10 million over five years.
In force since January 1 of this year, the program aims to optimize the use of available
transportation resources and ensure that services are accessible in all rural communities.
For more information, contact your local Ministère des Transports office or consult the
MTQ Web site at

A well-deserved prize
In November 2002, Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys school of the Commission scolaire
des Bois-Francs received the Mésange prize (integration component) for the activities it
carried out to integrate special-needs students and students with disabilities into its
child-care centre. These prizes are awarded every two years by the Association des
services de garde en milieu scolaire (the association for school day-care services). Our

Creation of a research chair in occupational rehabilitation
The Université de Sherbrooke and the Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne joined forces to create
a research chair in occupational rehabilitation which aims to prevent absenteeism in the
workplace, especially absenteeism due to long-term disability stemming from health
problems. Professor Patrick Loisel, of the faculty of medicine at the Université de
Sherbrooke, was appointed to head this new chair. Professor Loisel is also the founder
of the Réseau en réadaptation au travail du Québec (Québec’s occupational
rehabilitation network).

2003: European Year of the Disabled
The European Union decided to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the adoption, by the
United Nations General Assembly, of rules governing equal opportunity for persons
with disabilities. Although a legislative framework was developed during the past
decade, the EU felt it was vital to inform citizens in order to support the legislation and
build a better understanding of the rights and needs of these people within society. It
will also develop a series of actions designed to ensure better integration of persons with
disabilities in all aspects of social life, in the hope that these actions will snowball and
help trigger processes that will continue long after the Year of the Disabled is officially
over. (Source: Handicaps-Info 2001, vol. 17, no 3, p. 17)

Adaptech project
Since 1996, a team of professionals, students and consumers have been conducting
research on the use of adaptive computer technologies by students with disabilities who
attend colleges and universities in Canada. The goal of this research effort is to provide
empirical information to the individuals, professionals and organizations concerned to
ensure that new computer technologies are accessible to all. For example, the project
“Gratuit et bon marché” (free and cheap) allows persons with disabilities to test
products before purchasing them. For more information, visit the Web site at or call (514) 931-3567.

Vacation time!
No, it’s not too early to start planning your vacation! This is the message from the Camp
Papillon, which boasts a wide range of activities (fishing, hiking, theatre, star-gazing,
archery, etc.) and welcomes persons with disabilities, whether they be adults, young
adults, adolescents, babes in arms or children. To find out more about the camp’s
activities and registration deadlines, contact the Société pour les enfants handicapés du
Québec at 1 877 937-6171, or visit their Web site at

International Games for the Blind
OPHQ chairman Norbert Rodrigue has enthusiastically agreed to chair the second
edition of the International Blind Sports Association World Championships and Games.
Held in collaboration with the Canadian Blind Sports Association and Sports
internationaux de Québec, these games will be held in Québec City from August 2 to
12, 2003 and will host some 800 athletes. These games will be the qualifying round for
the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. The first edition of this event was held in
Madrid in 1998.

Zénith prizes
Over the past year, the Québec government has made a number of regional Web portals
available online. These sites received the Zénith prize, awarded on the occasion of the
government’s Communications Day, held on November 19. According to the jury, these
regional portals became an indispensable source of government information for
residents of the regions as soon as they were made available on the Web.

Each of these sites contains information intended for persons with disabilities. The
OPHQ, through its regional offices, collaborated closely with Communication-Québec
to design these sites. You can visit these portals at

Summer school
The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), in conjunction with the Institut
québécois de la déficience intellectuelle (IQDI, the Québec institute for intellectual
impairment), is offering a summer course on the educational integration of students with
intellectual impairments. This course is for parents, teachers, attendants, university
students, etc. UQÀM also offers the possibility of obtaining university credits at the
undergraduate and graduate levels. The course will be held from June 23 to July 4,
2003. For more information, please contact Robert Doré at (514) 987-3000, extension
3464, or by e-mail at

Summer jobs for students
Persons with disabilities who are currently full-time students are encouraged to apply
for summer jobs with the Québec public service. To do so, they can sign up now with
Placement étudiant du Québec (PÉQ). The PÉQ is the sole outlet for summer-job
registration and recruitment with Québec government departments and agencies. You’ll
find the online job application form, in both French and English versions, on the PÉQ
Web site at For more information, call 1 800 463-2355.

If you are organizing an event, publishing a document or receiving an award relating to
the social integration of persons with disabilities, and you would like to share this
information with our readers, just call 1 800 565-1465 (1477 by teletype), or e-mail us

The Association du Québec pour l’intégration sociale (the Québec association for social
integration) will hold its 22nd annual convention May 29, 30 and 31, 2003 at the Hôtel
Renaissance in Montréal. This year’s theme is “Fairness, diversity, solidarity.” Mr Alain
Stanké has kindly agreed to act as honorary chair of the event. The pre-convention
training workshop will deal with the response protocol for victims of violence
developed in the Eastern Townships. The registration deadline for the convention is
May 5, but you can benefit from a reduced registration fee by signing up before April 7.
For more information, call (514) 725-7245 or send an e-mail to

The seventh edition of Québec’s Week of the Disabled will be held from June 1 to 7,
2003, with “Together, everyone’s a winner” as the theme. The aim of this event is to
make the population aware of the reality of persons with disabilities and to rally
institutional and civic players to the cause of fostering their integration. This year, a
province-wide radio campaign will be held in order to heighten the message’s impact on
the public. Visit our Web site ( beginning in mid-April for more
information on the event.

New publications

This has been a prolific publication period for the Lanaudière region. The Association
québécoise pour les enfants atteints d’audimutité (the Québec association for blind and
deaf children) recently published a guide for dysphasic adolescents and young adults.
Entitled “Guide-moi,” this easy-to-read document touches on five key areas: leisure
activities, school, love and sexuality, work, and housing. This publication can also help
parents and resource people accompany teens and young adults in their development. It
is available at a cost of $25 by calling, toll-free, 1 877 753-9003.

The Association de parents d’enfant trisomique 21 Lanaudière also launched a new
publication entitled “À moi de jouer !” Intended for the parents of Down’s-syndrome
children aged between 6 and 12, this document provides various tips and emphasizes the
development of the child’s autonomy, socialization and learning. Prior to this
publication, two other documents were published, entitled “Bébé arrive,” for new
parents, and “Regarde, je grandis !” for parents of children aged 3 to 5. “À moi de jouer
!” is available from the Association at a cost of $14 by calling (450) 477-4116.

In February, the OPHQ published a new issue of Études en Bref. This publication is a
summary of a research report on housing as a factor of social integration. Produced by a
research group at the Université de Montréal, the study explores the residential
background of persons who use mental health and intellectual impairment services. For
many years, these persons shared the same residential space, namely, a psychiatric
institution, but each of them now has a separate network of services. What is the
significance of housing for these people, and what impact does it have on them as a
factor of social integration? You can consult Études en Bref on our Web site
( or order a copy by calling us, toll-free, at 1 800 567-1465 (or
1477 by teletype).

Dwelling adaptation: have we reached a crisis?

A young man with a family to support contacted us last year to ask for help. A diving
accident had left him quadriplegic and he was ready to return to his home after a long
period of rehabilitation. The Société d’habitation du Québec (SHQ) granted him the
maximum amount of $16 000 to adapt his home to his needs, but the work to be done
was evaluated at 31 000 $. This man appealed to community organizations, foundations
and businesses for assistance, but the amount he received was woefully inadequate and
he was obliged to run up large debts to make the necessary renovations to his home.

Several persons with disabilities and their relatives contact us because they experience
problems with regard to the adaptation of their homes. The list of applicants for the
Residential Adaptation Program (RAP), administered by the SHQ, is endless: the
waiting period is up to ten years …

The RAP allows for the dwelling of a person with a disability to be renovated and
adapted so that the person can enter, exit and move from room to room, and have easy
access to the facilities essential to his or her daily life. Eligible adaptations under this
program include the installation of an outside access ramp, the refurbishment of a
bathroom, the widening of doorframes, etc. The maximum grant allocated is $16 000 for
a household owner and $8 000 for a tenant.

Given the substantial number of applications on the waiting list, the staff of the OPHQ
recommends that those who contact them apply for the RAP as soon as possible by
filling out the provisional application form. Should the government allocate additional
funds to the Residential Adaptation Program, the applications already on the waiting list
would be processed more rapidly. The OPHQ can also provide those interested with
information concerning the application processing procedure.

Like the young man we mentioned earlier, and given the maximum amount of the grant
prescribed by the program, many persons with disabilities and their families find
themselves in the same situation. They must either bear part of the cost of adapting their
dwelling, request financial assistance from charities or organize campaigns to raise the
additional funds they need to round out the grant awarded under the RAP.

It should also be pointed out that the long waiting lists for the RAP have an impact on
the duration of stays in rehabilitation centres and on the quality of life of persons with
disabilities and their families. The OPHQ is monitoring this program closely and has
lobbied the Minister responsible for the SHQ, the Minister of Health and Social
Services and the Minister responsible for the OPHQ to make them aware of the urgency
of the situation. The Office des personnes handicapées recommends an increase in the
program budget in order to shorten the waiting lists, and would like to see the
maximum amount of the grant boosted to better meet the needs of the public.

By Micheline Thibault

Contributors to this article include Marc Savoie of the Chaudière-Appalaches office,
Sandra Ayotte and Claire Laurier of the Laurentides office, Jean Dupont of the Direction
des bureaux régionaux and François Nichols of the Direction de la recherche, du
développement et des programmes.

Vulnerable persons

BARREAU DU QUÉBEC. Pouvoirs publics et protection. Cowansville, QC, Éditions
Yvon Blais, 2003, 229 p. (Service de la formation permanente, 182).

The papers given at this symposium deal with the following topics: Exploitation of
seniors and the disabled - what should be the limits of government intervention? by
Marc-André Dowd, Justice and injustice in mental health by Denise Boulet, The Public
Curator – how it works and interacts with other agencies by François Dupin, and Ethical
reflections on the preservation of autonomy by Barbara Frank.

« Advocacy » - l’art de revendiquer. Abus et mauvais traitements en institution.
Videocassette, 50 minutes, 1997, produced and directed by Handicap-Vie-Dignité,
Johanne Ravenda and Hélène Rumak. (V0375)

Tens of thousands of persons with disabilities live in long-term care institutions. Some
of them are victims of abuse and negligence. The organization Handicap-Vie-Dignité
shows how to resort to advocacy, a form of assistance for the most vulnerable citizens of
our society.

BARREAU DU QUÉBEC. Les mandats en cas d’inaptitude: une panacée ?
Cowansville, QC, Éditions Yvon Blais, 2001, 155 p. (Service de la formation
permanente, 146).

This is a compendium of the papers given at the symposium held in 2001 by the Service
de la formation permanente du Barreau du Québec. They deal with topics such as the
transition from the ordinary mandate to the protective mandate, the origin of the
mandate in case of incapacity, the mandator’s incapacity, an overview of relevant case
law, and psychosocial evaluation.
la musique. Déficience intellectuelle. Accueil et traitement au sein du système
judiciaire. Proceedings of the symposium held in Longueuil on November 2 and 3,
2001. Montréal, QC, Institut québécois de la déficience intellectuelle, 2001, 236 p.

The twelfth symposium of the IQDI brought together partners who are called to
intervene in the various stages of the judicial process. The IQDI works for the
recognition of the rights of all citizens experiencing a specific situation, whether they be
victims, witnesses or offenders. It is important to guide these people through the various
stages of the judicial process in order to inform them of the impact of the decision taken
in their regard.

Parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities

The adoption, in 1978, of the Act to secure the handicapped in the exercise of their
rights marked an important step toward the social integration of persons with
disabilities. This act amended a number of others, in particular empowering the
municipalities to set aside parking spaces for motorists with reduced mobility.

Identification stickers appeared a few years later, a logical follow-up to reserved parking
spaces. Issued as of December 1, 1987 by the Régie de l’assurance automobile du
Québec (which has since become the SAAQ), they were delivered solely to persons who
owned and drove a motor vehicle. These stickers were to be affixed to the vehicle’s
licence plate.

On January 5, 1989, the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec was empowered
to issue stickers to disabled persons, whether passengers or drivers, in the form of a
removable plaque to be hung on the rear-view mirror of the vehicle parked in a reserved
space. Persons with reduced mobility, even if they are not drivers, also require wider
parking spaces because they need to get around in wheelchairs, or spaces near their
destination because they have difficulty walking.

On July 1, 1997, the OPHQ transferred its program to the Société de l’assurance
automobile du Québec, which adopted the removable plaque as a system for identifying
persons with reduced mobility, whether they be drivers or passengers.

By Michel-André Roy

The aim of L’intégration is to promote the interests of persons with disabilities and to
favour their educational, vocational and social integration. It also aims to inform and
advise the public at large about the integration of persons with disabilities in Québec.

L’intégration is published by the Direction des communications of the Office des
personnes handicapées du Québec (OPHQ).
Acting Director of Communications
Michel-André Roy

Micheline Thibault

Michel-André Roy
Micheline Thibault

Graphic Design

Imprimerie Lemire

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du Québec and the National Library of Canada
ISSN 0848-5771