Making Nova Scotia Accessible by 2030

In 2017, your Liberal government passed historic legislation that will make the province accessible to all by 2030.

That was the easy part. Today we start the heavy lifting, as today is the first day in a journey to have Nova Scotia become a truly accessible province. A province where everyone is welcomed and supported, where everyone is provided equal opportunity to work and succeed, and where prosperity and democracy thrive because of fair and equitable treatment.

The Accessibility act and standards aim to bring widespread change across the province, and it’s important to clarity that this work isn’t just about modifying buildings – it’s about creating a culture shift.

We need to adjust attitudes and recognize the rights of all Nova Scotians to participate in society, and we have set an ambitious goal.

Today’s announcement comes as a result of partnerships with government, businesses, communities, and individuals working together to get there.

We have also been out speaking with persons with disabilities and with members of organizations that support them, as well as with municipalities and representatives from the education, business and non-profit sectors. These discussions and consultations have helped us define what an accessible, inclusive, barrier-free province means.

Access by Design 2030 – is our strategy for achieving the goals set out in the Accessibility Act. It identifies priorities, or areas we need to focus on first.

Beginning in 2018 committees will be established to develop accessibility standards for education and the built environment, which includes buildings, streets, sidewalks, and shared spaces.  These standards are expected to be rolled out starting in 2022 and will be implemented in the years following.

The strategy also identifies actions to improve public awareness, build collaboration and increase compliance with existing regulations.

We have also released government’s first accessibility plan, which sets out concrete actions that will be taken over the next three years to ensure that accessibility is considered in the development and delivery of our policies, programs and services, and in our workplace.

We’ve already begun work in this area with the addition of ASL and CART services at law amendments and ongoing renovations to Province House to improve wheelchair accessibility.

We know there is much more work to do, and today’s strategy and your Liberal government’s plan will help lead the way. The priorities outlined in the strategy and the continued input we receive from Nova Scotians will guide our work to make this province more equitable and inclusive.