Updated: Oct 24, 2019
Since February 2019, Shanthiya and Miche from the research committe have been researching and compiling this timeline on legislation around "unfit" people in Canada. The timeline attempts to delineate key events around institutionalization, deinstitutionalization, community/independent living, disability rights and disability justice, as they took place in Canada and the United States since the 1800s. Both countries’ timelines are included in this history because borders are colonially constructed and borders' usage continue eugenicist and ableist colonial practices. Furthermore, changes to United States’ legislation in the 1970s significantly influenced the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Disability Justice movement originated in San Francisco with Sins Invalid.
This history also ties together legislation related to Black, Indigenous and people of colour in Canada in order to emphasize the connections between legislation that sought to institutionalize and sterilize all populations that the state catogorized as “unfit.” Disability Justice and this timeline attempts to move beyond single-issue struggles to outline how classism, racism, immigration, settler colonialism, saneism and ableism intersect to continue to marginalize disabled people, racialized immigrants and/or Indigenous people.
The project is a part of a collaboration with the Hamilton Public Library for an exhibit that will take place in Hamilton's Central Public Library in December, 2019. We realize that there are significant events and moments that we may have missed, and we would like to expand this timeline with your contributions. If you would like to submit to this timeline, please submit your ideas by November 20th and we will include them. Your name will be listed as a contributor at the exhibit.