The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence.
This week, the province is proposing a change to disability standards that would impose limits on the young woman’s freedom to choose how she exercises her mind — and which foods she eats.
The proposed changes would require her to take a standard course on nutrition. Then she would have a 12-month grace period to follow a diet that’s “dramatically reduced in fat, sodium, cholesterol, and other high-calorie ingredients.”
Maggie has spent the last 12 years battling her conditions. She can’t work; she can’t take off her aids; she can’t play sports and can’t even eat regular food.
The teen, whose full name and age are withheld, has had to wear a heart monitor while taking the courses.
In 2010, the Ontario government announced a plan to increase funding for the disability programs in the province.
The previous government had promised to cover 50 per cent of all disabilities through the Ontario Disability Support Program.
Then there was the promise to create an Ontario Disability Choice Program, which would have provided disability services for those who can’t take part in the support program on their own.
The government is now saying it won’t be able to meet that promise.
Maggie’s case is one of 13 that were decided in February. The judge, Ian Nordheimer, said the government’s plans would not give people with disabilities the same choice as able-bodied citizens.
“Under the government’s new plan, a disabled person may be forced to take a specific course that is a series of individual exercises, all of which they cannot take part in individually,” Nordheimer wrote.
The judge determined that the government should have a plan that addresses the needs of people with disabilities before it changes the regulations.
The government has said it is not required to have a plan that addresses