Nova Scotia’s first Accessibility Act has been proclaimed, part of government’s commitment to a more inclusive province.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced the proclamation today, Sept. 18, at the East Preston United Baptist Church.
“We want to make Nova Scotia more accessible and reduce barriers for persons with disabilities,” said Premier McNeil. “The proclamation of this historic legislation is an important part of our commitment to make the province more inclusive for all Nova Scotians.”
Under the Accessibility Act, passed earlier this year, Nova Scotia has a goal to be accessible by 2030. The legislation, which comes into effect today, puts in place a process to establish and meet standards for accessibility and to remove and prevent barriers for persons with disabilities.
“The proclamation of this act is a historic day for people with disabilities,” said Gerry Post, the new executive director of the Accessibility Directorate. “I’m also pleased to see the commitment in the grants and work that is underway already.”
Also today, Community Services Minister Kelly Regan announced funding support for Halifax-area organizations under the province’s accessibility grant program.
The Community ACCESS-Ability Program offers grants for accessibility-related capital improvements, like renovations making entrances, doorways and washrooms accessible or building ramps.
“An accessible province is good for everyone,” said Ms. Regan. “We want Nova Scotia to be a province where everyone can live in an environment that is inclusive, welcoming and fulfilling. These grants will help local community groups make their organizations more accessible to the people they serve.”
One grant recipient is the East Preston United Baptist Church which will receive $ 4,600 to build an accessible washroom.
“Full accessibility is important to Pastor Porter and the East Preston United Baptist Church,” said Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, East Preston United Baptist Church. “Upgrading the washrooms in our church hall to make them fully accessible means that all members of the church and community can participate in the many spiritual and social programs and activities that we host there.”
In addition to grants for community organizations, government has also committed to create a $1 million Small Business ACCESS-Ability Program to help small businesses with accessibility projects.