Province Apologizes to Former Residents of Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children

Published by the Premier's Office

Friday, October 10, 2014

Premier Stephen McNeil offered a formal apology today, Oct. 10, on behalf of the province to those who suffered abuse and neglect at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.


We hear your voices and we grieve for your pain. For the trauma and neglect you endured, and the lingering effects on you and your loved ones, we are truly sorry. Premier Stephen McNeil

We also thank you for showing such courage and perseverance in telling your stories. Your strength, your resilience, and your desire for healing and reconciliation should be an inspiration to all Nova Scotians. Premier Stephen McNeil

Many former residents have hoped for this day for a long time. I want to thank Premier McNeil and the government for acknowledging our suffering and joining us on our journey to healing. VOICES co-chair Tony Smith

We must go into an inquiry with clear eyes and open hearts, willing to examine our failures and embrace changes for the sake of our future. We want to understand our collective responsibilities and find a better way forward, together. Premier Stephen McNeil

Quick Facts

  • The society representing former residents of the home, VOICES, thanked the premier for apologizing on behalf of government.
  • The government last month finalized a $29-million settlement with former residents of the home. The claims period opened this week.
  • Government has committed to a restorative public inquiry that will examine what happened at the home and why. A design group of former residents, a home board member, provincial and community agencies, and restorative justice practitioners is working to draft terms of reference.
  • The province is also working with health-care providers to give support to former residents who find the claims and inquiry process difficult or distressing.
  • Former residents seeking counselling, health and emotional supports can call 1-866-330-5952 toll-free to speak with someone who can help connect them with services in their area.

Learn More

Media Contact

Laurel Munroe
Premier's Office
Cell: 902-222-0473


Premier Stephen McNeil offers a formal apology on behalf of the province to the former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.
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Tracey Dorrington-Skinner of VOICES and Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage Tony Ince look on as Premier McNeil lights a candle as part of the formal apology.
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Ms. Dorrington-Skinner and Premier McNeil embrace as Mr. Ince lights a candle during the ceremony.
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Robert Borden, who attended the school from 1966 to 1984, hugs Premier McNeil following the apology.
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Mr. Borden poses with Premier McNeil at the official ceremony.
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Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Apology


Premier Stephen McNeil offered a formal apology at Province House.
VOICES co-chair Tony Smith accepted the apology.
Premier McNeil says we hear your voices and we grieve for your pain.
Mr. Smith says the former residents dreamed of this day.