Adoption Issue Referred to Law Commission

Department of Community Services

November 23, 1999 12:00 PM

The government of Nova Scotia has decided to refer the issue of
adoption information to the province's Law Reform Commission
before further debate in the House, Community Services Minister
Peter Christie announced today.

"We are committed to improving access to adoption information in
Nova Scotia and we introduced legislation knowing that this is a
very emotional and personal issue," said Mr. Christie. "It is
extremely difficult to find a balance in law that will meet the
personal needs of all those people affected by the release of
adoption information."

Mr. Christie said Bill 17, an Act to amend the Adoption
Information Act of 1996, was designed to strike the best possible
balance between the right to know and the right to privacy
related to the release of adoption information. Such information
is available now through a facilitated process at the Department
of Community Services.

Amendments to the bill were introduced to be sensitive to the
needs of all Nova Scotians, as expressed in letters, public
debate and through the law amendments process, he said.

However, in view of the ongoing debate on the issue, the minister
of justice has agreed to refer this issue to the province's Law
Reform Commission for study and report, Mr. Christie said. The
commission advises government on how to improve, modernize or
reform legislation.

"We are prepared to take extra pains to get it right, so we are
asking this well-respected law reform commission to examine the
issue, to help us strike that balance," he said. "On this
emotionally charged and difficult issue we listened to all sides,
and are willing to seek more expert advice before we enshrine
anything in law."

Bill 17 has helped advance the public debate on adoption
information, Mr. Christie added.

"All members of the legislature, and indeed the public, have a
better appreciation for the depth of feeling and the complexity
of this issue."

The government will continue to work to improve access to
adoption information through the existing services at the
Department of Community Services, Mr. Christie said.


Contact: Cathy Shaw
         Department of Community Services

kjd             November 23, 1999     12:14 p.m.