February 3, 2020

Dear Inclusion BC Members and Supporters,

Inclusion BC was shocked and saddened to learn the details of the tragic death of Florence Girard, a 54-year old woman with Down syndrome who died in October 2018.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to Florence’s family and her friends.

The circumstances which the RCMP described as leading to her death have shaken our community. According to the investigation, which was released last week, her death was caused by malnourishment and starvation. The Coquitlam RCMP has announced criminal charges against the care provider and the association through which she was contracted.

As a society, we have a collective responsibility to support good lives for all vulnerable adults. We ALL have a role to play, and those various roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined, understood, and accepted, with appropriate checks and balances to ensure the wellbeing of every British Columbian who relies on our systems of supports.

We must be diligent to ensure that safeguards are in place and best practices are followed to protect the people we love and for all vulnerable people in our community. The provincial government must fund housing and support options that build meaningful relationships with neighbours and friends, who can provide an advocacy voice and additional informal supports/oversight. Every person has the right to a safe home, all the necessities of life, access to healthcare, and the security and comfort provided by the connections of a strong, caring community.

We have heard from members of our community for whom Florence’s loss has rekindled fears that they or their loved ones could be at risk, now or in the future. If you are worried about your own security or wellbeing, or about a neighbour or family member, we urge you to reach out and tell someone. Inclusion BC’s Community Inclusion Advocacy Program can offer direct support and referrals.

Once again, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Florence’s family and friends.

Sincerely,

Karla Verschoor
Executive Director
Inclusion BC

This on Inclusion BC website go to the link here

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