Petitioning Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne and 4 others

Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled. Forced into LongTerm Care at 49, my sister with Down syndrome wants apology.

With the stroke of a pen, my disabled sister's human right to decide where she lives was wrongly taken away. 

In a heart-breaking move, Teresa who has Down syndrome, was forced against her will into an old-age nursing home, by the Toronto Central CCAC (Community Care Access Centre) and two of my siblings. Four days later, she was rescued by my 91-year old father who was "adamant" he did not want his daughter living in a nursing home. But then the nursing home called the police, in a shockingly callous and bizarre effort to force her back. 

Teresa is demanding an apology from these two institutions, the CCAC and the Rekai Centre. This is a sorry mess. Her records show that the crisis list was manipulated to get Teresa to the very top, and placed in the nursing home. Her profile contained false information which made her appear to need 24/7 care. See the presentation I made with Teresa, to the Ontario Government's Select Committee: 

Teresa’s story: Crisis, Capacity and Courage

By signing this petition you can help Teresa get an apology for the harm done to her -- even to this day, two years later she talks about "danger day". Teresa is asking the CCAC to apologize for wrongly taking away her human right to decide where she lives. Teresa is asking the Rekai Centre to apologize for calling the police in a completely unnecessary, intimidating and callous attempt to force her back into their institution.

We need a full apology from both institutions because this is not just about one person -- it's about standing up for and protecting the human rights of all people with disabilities. 

We appeared to be getting traction -- 48 hours after we launched this petition, the CEO of the Toronto Central CCAC, Stacey Daub, responded with a public apology to Teresa on "I apologize for any part the Toronto Central CCAC contributed to this." However her apology was hollow. The "thorough investigation" which CEO Daub launched failed to find any wrongs done by them -- when we challenged them on the facts and asked why key evidence was omitted from their report, they told us in writing they would not answer any more questions. We have filed Freedom of Information and PHIPA requests with the CCAC, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Rekai Centre to expose the truth. 

Sadly, the Rekai Centre has not responded at all. We need the Rekai Centre to offer a full and public apology for the harm they caused Teresa.

The truth is that if we had not rescued Teresa from the nursing home, she would have been living in an institution -- with no right to choose otherwise -- for the rest of her life. How could this happen in Canada? That's what Teresa and her supporters want to know. 

And Teresa is not the only one being hurt. Developmentally disabled people are routinely being forced into inappropriate "care".

This is wrong. And it is having a catastrophic effect on the lives of so many people like Teresa. 

We need to stand strong to protect the rights of developmentally disabled people so that what Teresa experienced does not happen to anyone else.  

Please sign Teresa's petition, because human rights should never be disabled. Thank you in advance for your support!

P.S. Please further help Teresa by tweeting this petition #DisabilityRights


Related Stories:

Nowhere Else to Go: 2007 / Toronto Star  

Disabled Forced into Nursing Homes

"In 1987, The Arc of Illinois filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities forced into nursing homes who did not require nursing home care."  

To learn more about Teresa, please visit




Letter to
Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne
CEO, The CCAC-Toronto Stacey Daub
Executive Director, The Rekai Centre (Wellesley Central Place) Sue Graham-Nutter
and 2 others
Ombudsman of Ontario (acting) Barbara Finlay
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins
Dear Ms. Daub and Ms. Graham-Nutter,

Why is it taking you over two years to investigate this mess? The fact that Teresa has been thriving since December 1, 2013, living outside of an institution with me, her sister, is proof that she should NEVER have been placed in long-term care.

Teresa was, and is, demanding an apology from you for the trauma and lasting harm your organizations have caused her. Teresa's petition "Human Rights Should Never Be Disabled" launched on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2014. Over 25,000 people, 9 MPPs, and countless Toronto Star readers, are now watching how you handle this crisis -- and the numbers demanding an apology are growing everyday.

We are not giving up. Her case is a shocking abuse of a vulnerable adult. She tried to defend herself but could not. It is up to us, 25,000 strong, to stand with her and demand an apology and accountability for the wrongs that were done to her.

People who hear of Teresa's story are outraged...

"I am disabled and don't want the same to happen to me." Sam Duerden

"As a parent of a child with DS, this is abhorrent." Nick Disney

"My cousin has Downs and I would never want this to happen to him!" Ingrid Sheriff

Teresa was hopeful you would do the right thing. We were encouraged by the fact that Ms. Daub, CEO of the Toronto Central CCAC, apologized to Teresa within 48 hours of the petition's launch. Ms. Daub wrote, "I apologize for any part the Toronto Central CCAC contributed to this." That was quickly followed with a promise that the CCAC would conduct a "comprehensive review". But whatever was learned in that review has been kept secret from us. The CCAC has refused to disclose the investigation records and told us to file Freedom of Information requests. The CCAC has failed to admit the errors that led to Teresa having her rights taken away. This adds further injury to Teresa and means that other vulnerable adults may face the same problems as Teresa.

The Rekai Centre has failed to apologize or explain its actions in calling the police to force Teresa back into their home. (Mary Hoare who was the CEO in 2013, no longer works at the Rekai Centre.) So it falls on the Executive Director, Sue Graham-Nutter, to answer these tough questions...

1. Why did the Rekai Centre call the police reporting Teresa as a 'missing person' four days after she was legally discharged?

2. Why have the Rekai Centre emails and records concerning the police call not been released? Why are they being kept secret?

3. Conflict of interest: Did the fact that Teresa has a relative on the Rekai Centre Board of Directors influence her placement? Did this conflict of interest influence your decision to call the police to force Teresa back into your nursing home?

4. The CCAC records show that Teresa's siblings called you directly on several occasions. This was considered "unorthodox" by the CCAC and raised alarm bells which took the matter further up their chain for review. Did the CCAC know about the conflict of interest?

These are just four of the disturbing questions we need answered.

It's time for the Rekai Centre to explain its actions in full and publicly apologize to Teresa. It's time for the CCAC to deliver on their promise to investigate and own up to the mistakes that wrongly forced Teresa into long-term care -- and explain why they looked the other way when they learned that I had offered to have Teresa live with me. The failure of both organizations to respond is creating even more turmoil in Teresa's life and making the situation even worse.


Franke James
Teresa's sister and Petition-owner

Franke James started this petition with a single signature, and now has 25,836 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.