Statement from the Chair: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Dec 02, 2021

On December 3rd Nova Scotia joins countries around the world in recognizing the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s theme is “Fighting for Rights in a Post-COVID Era.”

Varied public health restrictions and impacts of COVID-19 continue to present challenges to Nova Scotians and their families while disproportionately causing uncertainty, worry, and harm to Nova Scotians with disabilities.

Nova Scotia’s population has the highest rate of disability among Canadian provinces and territories. As COVID strains our healthcare system and changes how we live, work, travel and come together, it is important that each of us step up to acknowledge and act to protect the rights and dignity of our colleagues, neighbours, friends, and family members with disabilities.

Understanding the complexity and intersectionality of disability and its impact on how we live our lives is an essential first step in taking action. Disabilities vary from person to person. They are both visible and invisible, can be permanent, episodic, or temporary. Disabilities compound and complicate everyday challenges including but not limited to employment, housing, transportation, and access to equitable, and reliable healthcare.

Persons with disabilities are strong, resilient, and contributing members of our society. Like each of us they strive to find security, comfort, and community, to pursue education, employment, and adventure.

In 2022 it will be five years since Nova Scotia introduced the Accessibility Act and made the commitment to becoming a fully accessible province by 2030. Government, the private and public sector, and community are making strides toward this ambitious goal, and every Nova Scotian can play a part in realizing the promise of a barrier-free and inclusive society.

On behalf of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, I invite you to continue – or begin – your learning journey, and to take action to ensure we are all working together to bring greater equity and inclusion to the lives of all Nova Scotians with disabilities.