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Action Alert: Tell the City of Vancouver to Reject Policy Statement that Includes Institutions for People with Disabilities

Please take action to urge the City of Vancouver to reject any Policy Statement for the Pearson Redevelopment that does not clearly reject institutions at that site.

The George Pearson Centre redevelopment project is proceeding, and next Wednesday, January 22, the City of Vancouver’s City Council will consider the proposed “Policy Statement” to guide the redevelopment process. Despite ongoing objections from the Say NO to Institutions coalition – of which Inclusion BC is a part – and other community members, the Policy Statement continues to include provisions to re-build institutions for people with disabilities on the George Pearson site.

Institutions are harmful, outdated, and not global best practices. All people, regardless of type or complexity of disability can and have the legal right to live in the community.

Please take action – come to the City Council meeting at 9:30 am (follow the directions below to register to speak), or if you cannot attend, send a letter to Vancouver’s mayor and city council urging them to reject the Policy Statement’s approach to people with disabilities and prevent the rebuilding of an institution on the George Pearson Centre site.

The Policy Statement (click here to download and read the full report)

  • Explicitly includes provisions by Vancouver Coastal Health for the construction of “37 complex care beds” for persons with disabilities in a 150-person institution, which are explicitly differentiated from the 83 “Independent Living Units” also planned to be built on the site
  • Implies that all housing for people with disabilities currently at George Pearson Centre will be re-built on the Pearson Centre site and not located throughout the broader community
  • Refers to the “Greenhouse model” but without specifics; the Greenhouse model is incompatible with a 37-person institution or a 150-person institution.
  • Notes that a “blue ribbon panel of experts” will design the housing for people with disabilities on the site, but provides no clear guidelines of what that housing would look like
  • Does not prohibit the construction of an institution for people with disabilities on the site.

People with disabilities cannot be put off to a later date and an uncertain “blue ribbon panel.”  Vancouver’s City Council has passed a motion that new housing for people with disabilities at the Pearson site must reflect “global best practices,” which are community inclusion and appropriate supports and services. And the re-construction of an institution on the George Pearson Centre site is not in line with global best practices or the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (of which Canada is a signatory).

The City of Vancouver should say NO to institutions and should not grant planning permission for the re-building of an institution for people with disabilities on the site, nor should it permit this process to move forward without a clear plan for non-institutional housing and support for people with disabilities at George Pearson Centre that is in accord with global best practices and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

City Council meeting details:


Wednesday, January 22, 2014


9:30 am


Council Chamber
Third Floor, City Hall

To register to speak:

Please contact Tina Hildebrandt at 604.873.7268 by 1 pm on Tuesday, January 21.

You may also communicate your thoughts on the issue to the Mayor and Councillors by emailing mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

Sample letter:

Click here to use our form to send this letter (or edit it and send your own) to the Mayor and Councillors:

Dear Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver City Council,

I am writing today to urge you to say NO to institutions and reject the proposed Policy Statement for the George Pearson Centre redevelopment project.

The Policy Statement does not reject the re-building of an institution for people with disabilities at the site. In fact,  it includes an explicit intention by Vancouver Coastal Health to build a 150-bed Long term residential care facility which will have 37 beds designated for people with disabilities.

Institutions are NOT global best practice for people with disabilities, as the City Council has required for the Pearson redevelopment. All people, no matter the type or complexity of their disability, have the right to - and can - live in the community, and not in an institution. No new institutions should be built in Vancouver.

People with disabilities cannot put this off to a "blue ribbon panel." The City should reject any Policy Statement that does not reject the building of an institution for people with disabilities at the Pearson Centre site.