Close to one in five Nova Scotians describes themselves as having a disability.
Milena Khazanavicius attending the consultation as an interested citizen, along with guide dog Verda. Milena is also active with the Advocacy and Awareness Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind.
The prevalence of disability increases with age. The 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability reports that, overall 19 per cent of adults aged 15 and over in Nova Scotia have a disability. Approximately six per cent of young adults (15-24 years) report having a disability compared with 22 per cent of the older working-age population (45-64 years) and 40 per cent of seniors (65 and older).
The 2012 Canadian Survey on Disabilities reports that among adult Nova Scotians (15 and older) who have a disability 32 per cent report the severity of their disability to be mild, 22 per cent report having a moderate disability and 25 per cent report having a very severe disability.
Among adult Nova Scotians reporting a disability in the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability the types reported most frequently were disabilities relating to:
- pain (73 per cent)
- flexibility (55 per cent)
- mobility (53 per cent)
- hearing (25 per cent)
- dexterity (25 per cent)
- mental health (24 per cent)
- vision (21 per cent)
Recommendations based on the report to the Minister of Community Services will help develop accessibility legislation that will be introduced in Spring, 2016.
What is Accessibility Legislation?
Most Nova Scotians will face access barriers at some point in their lives. Overcoming or preventing those barriers will improve the health, independence and social inclusion of persons disabled by barriers across their lifespan.
"This legislation will play a key role in turning the tide in Nova Scotia and opening up labour opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in work and education and family life and community life and to be a vibrant part of this great province that we all call home," said Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Kevin Murphy.
Accessibility legislation is about a new law, regulations, standards and policies that will systematically identify, remove and prevent barriers that stop individuals from full participation in all aspects of Nova Scotia life.
To get to a barrier free Nova Scotia we need a legislative framework that encourages participation, ensures access for all and removes barriers that prevent people from participating fully in the community.
The Minister of Community Services' Advisory Panel on Accessibility Legislation was established in June 2014 to consult with Nova Scotians on what should be contained in new accessibility legislation for the province.
The Minister's Advisory Panel's Co-Chairs were:
Anne MacRae is the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Disabled Persons Commission which advises government on the issues and concerns that affect the lives of people with disabilities throughout the province. Her career has focused on increasing awareness and working for greater inclusion. Anne is a co-chair of the Advisory Panel.
Joe Rudderham is Community Service's Executive Director of Disability Support Program. Previously, he was the Director of Apprenticeship at Labour and Advanced Education. His volunteer work includes membership on the Disabled Persons Commission and helping found the Abilympics Association. Joe is a co-chair of the Advisory Panel.
The Minister's Advisory Panel included the following community Representatives.
Dennis Campbell has been named the Metro Halifax Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year as well as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40. His company Ambassatours has been recognized as one of the 10 best companies to work for in Atlantic Canada. In 2012 Dennis was named the Ernst Young Atlantic Canada Tourism and Hospitality Entrepreneur of the Year. He is active in establishing charitable programs and has ambitious philanthropic giving goals.
Cynthia Carroll is the Executive Director of Autism Nova Scotia and an advocate for autism and persons with disabilities. Recently, she collaborated on a National Needs Assessment with the University of York and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Andy Cox has worked in mental health for almost 15 years, including doing individual, family and systemic advocacy at the IWK. Currently he is helping implement a certified peer support program, based on the Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. He has contributed to various mental health boards and committees, including at the national level.
Steven Estey brings expertise in international cooperation, human rights and disability, and economic development. Steve belonged to Canada's official delegation to the United Nations that resulted in the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Steve is late-deafened and uses real time captioning to participate in meetings.
Darlene Grant Fiander is the President of the Tourism Industry of Nova Scotia, representing hundreds of businesses throughout Nova Scotia. She works with employers and employees to build a sustainable and healthy tourism workforce as the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Tourism Resource Council. A graduate of MSVU, she has received a professional award and recognition for her leadership in human resources.
Charlie MacDonald was the original Executive Director of the Disabled Persons Commission and his 35 year career in the public service included a focus on diversity and special initiatives. Most recently, Charlie was the Coordinator of the NS Persons with Disabilities Employability Table. He is a champion and an advocate, working to improve employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Charlie is blind and has a guide dog named Cosby.
Warren (Gus) Reed had a lengthy career with Harvard University focusing on undergraduate admissions and educational research. An advocate for disability rights, he was also a member of the Halifax Regional Municipality's Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities.
Claredon Robicheau comes from a Meteghan family of six siblings - four, including himself, are wheelchair users. Following his commerce degree from Saint Mary's University he worked for a bank for more than a decade. Currently he is a full time volunteer and has earned numerous awards. He pioneered the province's first community-based transportation program "Dial a Ride" Le Transport de Clare Society.
Dr. Donald Shiner is an associate professor of marketing at Mount Saint Vincent University. His research focuses on the housing needs of an aging Canadian population and he is currently leading the Atlantic Seniors Housing Research Alliance.
Marcie Shwery-Stanley is originally from North Sydney and currently resides in Sydney, Cape Breton. Marcie is a long-time advocate for persons with disabilities and sits on the Disabled Persons Commission. She is the co-chair of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality's Human Rights Affirmative Action Committee, Chair of the Society for the Improvement of Accessible Transportation; as well as being a member of the Marine Atlantic Accessibility Advisory Committee, and the Persons with Disabilities Partnership Association for Cape Breton and Victoria Counties.
|Accessible Information /Communications||Ms. Cynthia Carroll||Executive Director of Autism Nova Scotia|
|Accessible Information /Communications||Barb LeGay||Retired Disability Activist|
|Accessible Information /Communications||Mr. Frank O'Sullivan||Executive Director, Society of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians|
|Accessible Information /Communications||Barb Welsford||Assistive Technology Centre Society|
|Accessible Information /Communications||Carolyn McKenzie||Internal Services|
|Attitude/Public Awareness||Steven Estey||Mental Health Advocate|
|Attitude/Public Awareness||Andy Cox||Council of Canadians with Disabilities|
|Attitude/Public Awareness||Jane Warren||Disabled Persons Commission|
|Attitude/Public Awareness||Tracey Williams||CEO, NS Human Rights Commission|
|Attitude/Public Awareness||Cathy MacIssac||Director, Communications NS|
|Built Environment||Warren (Gus) Reed||James McGregor Stewart Society|
|Built Environment||Don Shiner||Mount Saint Vincent University|
|Built Environment||Bill Crawford||Disabled Persons Commission|
|Built Environment||Betty MacDonald||Executive Director, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities|
|Built Environment||Ralph Ferguson||Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities|
|Built Environment||Lindsey Rasmussen||ENQORE Developments|
|Built Environment||Ted Ross||Building Code Coordinator, Municipal Affairs|
|Built Environment||Dan Troke||Chief Operating Officer, Housing NS|
|Built Environment||Christian Boudreau||Manager, Health and Wellness|
|Built Environment||Paul Pettipas||Homebuilder's Association|
|Built Environment||Margo Dauphinee||Executive Director, Nova Scotia Association of Architects|
|Built Environment||Lisa Pottie||Chair, Disability Strategy Partnership Group|
|Built Environment||Mary Ann Mason||Project Manager, TIR|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Ms. Darlene Grant Fiander||Tourism Industry Association Nova Scotia|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Mr. Dennis Campbell||Ambassatours|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Marcie Shwery-Stanley||Disabled Persons Commission|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Claredon Robicheau||Transport de Clare Society|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Luc Erjavec||Vice President, Atlantic Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Pat Gates||Chair, Canadian Council of the Blind Chapter|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Jessica Lane||Service Nova Scotia|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Kim MacDonald||East Novability|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Kevin Hindle||Operations Manager Taxi and Limousine Services HRM|
|Customer/Client Services & Public Transportation||Jim Cormier||Atlantic Canada Retail Council of Canada|
|Employment||Charlie MacDonald||Former Coordinator, NS Persons with Disabilities Employment Table|
|Employment||Bob Bennett||Summer Street Industries Society|
|Employment||Brian Tapper||Chair of DPC and Rehab Counselor|
|Employment||Brian Aird||Entrepreneurs with Disabilities|
|Employment||Ms. Janice Ainsworth||Executive Director, Teamwork Cooperative|
|Employment||Carole Logan||Ability Employers Association|
|Employment||Valerie Bowers||Mi'kmaq Employment Training Secretariat|
|Employment||Linda Theriault||Director Public & Government Affairs, Acadian Seaplants|
|Employment||John Ouellette||Provincial Chamber of Commerce|
|Employment||Sandy Graves||Executive Director, ESIA Community Services|
|Employment||Karen Gatien||Director, Adult Education, LAE|