News release

Province Submits Annual Progress Report to Human Rights Commission

Community Services

More Nova Scotians with disabilities are living in their communities, with better support from the government, after one year of progress toward the five-year human rights remedy.

The Province submitted the first annual progress report to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission on Friday, May 31.

“The remedy represents generational change for people with disabilities in Nova Scotia,” said Brendan Maguire, Minister of Community Services. “We are fundamentally rethinking what we do and how we do it, turning our system inside out to create one that is focused on supporting people to build a life of their choosing in the community of their choosing. Our progress in year one of the remedy shows government’s commitment to this work – a commitment we will continue to demonstrate in the years ahead.”

There are 90 targets for the time frame covered by this annual progress report, and the Province has complied with the remedy by meeting or making substantial progress on all of those targets.

In the first year of the remedy, the government has:

  • supported more Nova Scotians with disabilities through government programs, reducing the wait list for disability support programs by 13.3 per cent
  • supported 144 people with disabilities to transition from institutions to community living situations, including 40 from facilities like Harbourside Lodge, which closed in 2023
  • provided support to 304 more people through the Independent Living Support program, which provides up to 31 hours of support time per week
  • created a new program called Independent Living Support Plus, which provides up to 12 hours of support per day (or 84 per week), to support Nova Scotians with disabilities to transition out of institutions or hospitals
  • introduced a new disability support benefit for people on Employment Support and Income Assistance, which provides an additional $300 per month in support; this support is also provided to people on the wait list
  • completed an organizational redesign, staffing core leadership roles and creating 120 new full-time equivalent positions to support the work of the remedy
  • developed a facility closure strategy to guide the closing of institutions, including timelines
  • developed a policy to end new admissions to large institutional facilities beginning January 1, 2025.

The report was also submitted to the Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia and the expert monitor. The expert monitor, Michael J. Prince, has 60 days to file a response.

Quick Facts:

  • the remedy consists of six interconnected key directions
    • a new system of individualized planning and support co-ordination to drive more person-directed and local community-based supports and services
    • closing institutions
    • building a broader system of community-based supports and services to support a home and life in the local community
    • provincewide multidisciplinary support program with regional hubs including other clinical supports to support local options
    • individualized funding as the basis of the transformed system with “backbone” support functions
    • strengthening whole disability system capacity to enable transformation to a human rights approach
  • the ultimate legally required outcome is the remedying of the discrimination by the end of five years (2028)
  • in response to the finding of systemic discrimination, the Disability Rights Coalition and the Province of Nova Scotia jointly selected and engaged external experts Eddie Bartnik and Tim Stainton to prepare a technical report recommending a remedy to address the systemic discrimination
  • Michael J. Prince, a professor of social policy at the University of British Columbia, is a Canadian expert in federal-provincial relations, disability issues, social discrimination, income security and poverty, and housing related issues

Additional Resources:

Decisions, announcements and reports about the remedy: