Nova Scotia says work ongoing on goals of inquiry into abuse at Halifax orphanage

·2 min read

HALIFAX — Two years after an inquiry into abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children issued its report, the provincial government says the recommended changes remain a work in progress.

The inquiry used what it called a "human-centred approach," and in its 2019 final report it called on the government to do the same in addressing the needs of people who deal with its departments and services.

An 18-page report released today by a government "task group" says the work required to complete the proposed culture shift is "complex and will take time."

However, the group points to initiatives such as the creation of an Afrocentric child welfare team within the Department of Community services as a sign of gradual improvement.

It also says the creation of COVID-19 vaccine clinics in African Nova Scotian and Indigenous communities using the assistance of community organizers is another example of the change called for by the inquiry.

The inquiry determined that a culture of silence and shame allowed abuse to persist at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children over decades, and it concluded systemic racism in Nova Scotia continues to breed mistrust and fear of public agencies.

The home opened in the Halifax area in 1921 and closed as an orphanage in 1978.

Premier Tim Houston says over the next few months another action that was called for by the inquiry — the creation of a Child and Youth Commission — will be designed to protect the interests of children and youth in the province.

Houston told the legislature the commission will take a restorative approach.

"There is much more work to do and more for us to learn," the premier said in a statement. "I am committed to listening, to working with communities and to doing everything in my power to address racism and injustice in this province."

his report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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