While official “deinstitutionalization” was widely celebrated after the closure of the Huronia Regional Centre in 2009, institutionalization continues in the systematic treatment of persons with disabilities. Recent cases during the coronavirus pandemic demonstrate the need for comprehensive reform, if not total abolition, of group homes, prisons, psychiatric institutions and long-term care facilities.
The marriage of neoliberalism and the medical industrial complex has had disastrous results in Canada, even without the presence of a pandemic. This toxic relationship has led to decades of healthcare cuts, privatization of services, and warehousing of disabled and elder populations. Now, COVID-19 is exacerbating an already broken system.