In April 2017, Nova Scotia become the third Canadian province, after Ontario in 2005 and Manitoba in 2013, to enact accessibility legislation. The aim of the Accessibility Act is to make Nova Scotia inclusive and barrier free by 2030. The Accessibility Directorate is tasked with the administration and implementation of the act. To ensure that for profit and not for profit organizations have the knowledge and the necessary resources to be compliant with the legislation, the Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage selected ReachAbility to lead the Opening Doors to Everyone (ODE) campaign.
ReachAbility and the Accessibility Directorate have partnered with the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia to organize a number of information sessions to explore the resources available to achieve compliance with the Act. Events in Antigonish, Digby, and Stellarton were held earlier this year. Visit the calendar on the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia website to learn of future events.
The session in Antigonish was held at the People’s Place Library on February 14, 2019. Unfortunately the previous day’s storm prevented Gerry Post from the Accessibility Directorate from participating. However, nine people, including the Mayor, a staff person from StFX University’s Extension Department, and representatives from a number of nonprofit organizations sat in on a session led by Amanda Grinter, ODE Program Coordinator with ReachAbility. The presentation focused on Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Plan, and its priorities over the next three years. These priorities include:
- Awareness and capacity building
- Information and communications (including website accessibility)
- Buildings, infrastructure, and public spaces
- Delivery of goods and services
Much time was spent discussing the supports available to ensure an accommodating workplace, including cost-shared grants. Feedback from the session was uniformly positive. Participants had previously been unaware of the act’s timeline as well as the resources available so that organizations will be in compliance with the Act. More information regarding funding can be found here.