News release

Changes to Adoption Records Take Effect May 1

Access to adoption records in Nova Scotia will change on May 1, allowing adopted people, once they turn 19, and birth parents to access their information if they choose.

Once the changes take effect, people can apply to the Province’s Disclosure Program and receive their information under the Adoption Records Act. Individuals can still protect their privacy by filing a disclosure veto or contact notice if the record has not already been released.

“While the opening of adoption records is welcomed by many, others wish to maintain their privacy,” said Karla MacFarlane, Minister of Community Services. “Disclosure vetoes and contact notices will continue to be accepted after May 1, depending on whether the information has already been shared.”

A disclosure veto is a document that prevents identifying information about an adopted person or birth parent being shared. With a contact notice, people share identifying information and state how they want to be contacted or that they don’t wish to be contacted.

People who wish to apply for their information may do so online starting on May 1. The website will also have printable versions of the form to download, fill out and send through email or regular mail.

Quotes:

With the input and support from adoption advocates, past and present, and affected stakeholders and families, we are both excited and cautiously optimistic that modernizing adoption record disclosure will bring a deeper understanding to the many Nova Scotians who have been searching for the start of their story. We want to thank everyone who played a role in making this a reality. May 1 will be a day filled with a mix of emotions for many Nova Scotians and we want all those impacted by adoption to know that we will continue to advocate on their behalf. Monica Kennedy, Co-Founder, Nova Scotia Adoptee Advocacy Group

Quick Facts:

  • as of April 20, the Disclosure Program had received 295 privacy filings (235 disclosure vetoes and 60 contact notices)
  • under the new legislation, people who have previously indicated they want to keep their information private are still required to fill out a disclosure veto or contact notice

Additional Resources:

Adoption Records Act:
https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/PDFs/annual%20statutes/2021%20Spring/c001.pdf

More information on accessing adoption record: https://novascotia.ca/adoption-records-changes/

Adopted people, birth parents and others affected by the changes can contact the Disclosure Program: 902-424-2755 / 1-833-424-2755 (toll-free) / / Disclosure Program, 2131 Gottingen Street - 3rd Floor, Halifax, NS B3K 5Z7

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