This is the first apology by any government for conditions in institutional settings that supported people with developmental disabilities. Premiere Wynne will issue the apology which is part of the settlement reached on September 17th 2013 with members of a class action lawsuit brought forward on behalf of former residents.
From 1876 to 2009 many thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilites and other conditions resided in the wards, called “cottages” of the Huronia Regional Centre. The documents and personal stories that were shared at the Fairness Hearing in September revealed a system of underfunding, overcrowding, neglect, and abuse.
The graves of people buried at Huronia, many marked only by a number, will be restored to honour the lives of people who lived and died at Huronia. The legal victory, covered broadly in the media, recognizes the pain of thousands of people across Ontario who lived at Huronia. It is an important step towards justice and healing.
L’Arche has come of age in the shadow of the institution. The spectre of the institution is an important part of our history, and our journey together. While large institutions have closed in Ontario, the needs of many people with intellectual disabilities remain unmet. The mission of L’Arche is as relevant as ever.