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Human Rights settlement means changes at Dauphin Court House

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After the quick resolution to her Human Rights claim regarding the inadequacies of the Dauphin Court House for disabled people, Joelle Robinson explained the agreed settlement.
The province has paid a financial settlement to compensate Robinson for the fact she had to endure the inaccessible building for a number of years, but she can not discuss the terms of the agreement.
The province has also agreed to notify local bar members that if they have clients or witnesses or other individuals who need disabled access, they may request a change of venue.
“Meaning the court hearing would be held in a different location to accommodate the person’s needs,” Robinson added.
The province has also agreed to notify the public there is a handicap accessible bathroom in the premises, she said.
Robinson pointed out the accessible bathroom in the court house is a result of her complaint, but is in a secure area and is not readily available to the general public.
“They’re also continuing to explore options to make the current situation more accessible, because right now even though they put a wheelchair bathroom in, some of the access points are particularly problematic,” she said.
“So they are making some renovations with respect to those.”
The province has agreed to notify Robinson and the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, as to what those changes are and seek their input, to ensure they are in line with what is appropriate for disabled people to have access to the building.
Robinson is not aware what the changes are yet, noting the province said it has been working on plans.
Additionally, she said, there is also no time frame for changes to happen.
“It will involve some significant changes, but I can't speak to what those actually are, because I know the plans are in the works,” Robinson said.
This is a significant project with respect to the Dauphin Court House, she noted, which has been part of the government’s capital plan for a number of years and is now rated as a high priority project.
This project is particularly challenging, Robinson added, given the age and design of the building.
Robinson admitted it was a relief to deal with the claim quickly, adding she and council for the Manitoba Human Rights Commission were prepared to see it through.
“She and I worked together very closely for a number of months and she was very, very good. And so as a team we were ready to go through it,” she said.
“We had a very strong case. The Human Rights Commission was concerned about the state of that building and continues to be very concerned about the state of this building and want to be monitoring it. And we’ll continue to stay on the government’s case about the state of this building.”
The resolution was promising, Robinson said, adding she is pleased with the way it concluded.
“We were really pleased to get it resolved and have them make some commitments, because its certainly not perfect, but it’s good that it’s at least on the government radar and that they seem to be taking it very seriously.”

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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