Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Halifax, NS – In a momentous occasion for the advancement of disability rights, Inclusion Canada lauds Premier Tim Houston’s profound apology to the disability community in Nova Scotia. This heartfelt apology, made at the ‘Rebuilding HOPE Conference’, marks a turning point in the province’s commitment to inclusion and respect for all.

Premier Houston offered an “unreserved apology for the historic systemic discrimination that persons with disabilities have experienced in Nova Scotia,” addressing a long-overdue need for acknowledgement and change. “What has happened is deeply shameful. It is wrong. It is not what Nova Scotia stands for, and I am sorry,” said Houston in his unprecedented address (you can watch the full apology here).

This apology sets the stage for the Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Remedy and a promise of transformative action: “We will empower people living with disabilities to make their own decisions…and will provide them with the individualized funding to do this. We will close institutions for persons with disabilities and create new and better community-based supports and services,” Houston pledged.

Inclusion Canada’s President, Robin Acton, underscored the significance of this apology, stating, “Premier Houston’s words resonate with a promise of change. It’s a testament to what we stand for as a nation – a country that embraces every person’s rights and dignity.”

Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of Inclusion Canada, echoed this sentiment, urging leaders across Canada to take note and follow suit: “Nova Scotia’s commitment to rebuilding hope and reshaping lives must be a beacon for the rest of the country. It’s time for national action to ensure these aren’t just words, but the start of an inclusive legacy.”

As Canada’s premiers gather in Halifax, Inclusion Canada implores that disability rights are prioritized. “Today is the start of new conversations, conversations about the way forward,” Houston remarked, a sentiment Inclusion Canada believes should result in a unified, cross-country initiative for upholding the rights and freedoms of Canadians with disabilities.

With Premier Houston’s acknowledgment of the passionate individuals and groups who advocate for disabilities rights, Inclusion Canada reiterates its commitment to work alongside our member association Inclusion Nova Scotia, families and individuals with disabilities, the government and communities to turn these promises into reality.

– 30 –

For media inquiries, please contact:
Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer
416-661-9611 ext. 232

About Inclusion Canada

Inclusion Canada is a nationwide community that champions the rights and inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families, allies, and local associations across Canada. The organization is committed to creating an inclusive Canada where everyone, regardless of intellectual capability, is valued and fully engaged in community life.