News Release Archive


A report proposing "A Comprehensive Disability Services Strategy
for Nova Scotia" was released in Halifax today.  The strategy was
developed by the NEEDS (Networking for Effective and Efficient
Disability Services)Project.

The project was a research and development initiative jointly
carried out by the Maritime School of Social Work of Dalhousie
University, the Metro Resource Centre for Independent Living and
the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission. It was primarily
funded by Human Resources Development Canada, with contributions
from Dalhousie University and the Disabled Persons Commission.

"This report comes at a very critical time," said Community
Services Minister John MacEachern who accepted the report on
behalf of the provincial government.

"It represents a significant contribution to current social
policy and program discussions and will provide the province with
a useful and challenging framework for developing and sustaining
more effective and responsive disability services," the minister

The NEEDS Project involved extensive consultation with Nova
Scotians with disabilities, as well as senior federal and
provincial policy analysts, program managers and service

Dr. Joan Cummings, of the Maritime School of Social Work and
project director said, "We are optimistic of a favourable
government response because throughout the entire process there
was such extensive collaboration between government officials and
the disability community." 
The NEEDS Project strategy calls for restructuring of the service
delivery system to accomplish greater service integration, cost
effectiveness and consumer access to needed services.

Regarding the high degree of consistency between NEEDS Project
findings and those of the recently released Federal Task Force On
Disability Issues, Dan MacLellan, chair of the board of the Metro
Resource Centre for Independent Living said, "Both reports
clearly document once again the urgent need for government to
take seriously its responsibility to citizens with disabilities; 
to take active measures to assure them equitable access to
independent living and full participation in the economic and
social mainstream."

Initiatives proposed by the NEEDS Project include:

- An integrated income security program and rehabilitation
services for persons with disabilities;

- Establishment of a venture capital fund for investment in
service improvements;  

- Taxation reform to accommodate the extra and often substantial
costs of having a disability;  

- A common access file system on persons with disabilities;  

- An information clearing house to facilitate ready access to
program information;  

- Support and advocacy services for persons with disabilities;  

- A "virtual" technical aids warehouse built on an integrated
data base and supply system; 
- Continued development of self-managed attendant services;  

- A comprehensive inclusive transportation policy for the

- A continued role for the federal government in providing
training and educational supports for persons with disabilities; 

- Federal and provincial cooperation to develop an effective
community economic development strategy targeting the employment
needs of persons with disabilities. 

Nita Irvine, chair of the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission
said, "It is fitting that the NEEDS report should be released 
Dec. 3, the day designated by the United Nations as the
International Day of Disabled Persons...we in the disability
community will be eagerly awaiting the provincial and federal
government responses to this report."

Contact:  Dr. Joan Cummings 902-494-1192
          Verna Clarke-MacDonald 902-453-0004
          Charles Macdonald 902-424-8280

mfm               Dec. 3, 1996 - 11:40 a.m.