NOTE: The following is a statement by Justice Minister Diana Whalen.
Last December, Nova Scotians raised concerns about a young man who had court ordered restrictions placed on his freedom. They said the Incompetent Persons Act fails to protect the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.
Upon hearing the concerns, I made the commitment to review the legislation. I also said I would examine what other jurisdictions are doing across the country. Our review is still underway, but it is clear we need to improve the current legislation.
People with varying degrees of capacity, provided with a range of supports, can still make decisions for themselves. The current act does not acknowledge this fact.
The province has many options, which could include amending the act or repealing and replacing. We will continue to explore all our options. Any changes will ensure we protect the rights of Nova Scotians with intellectual disabilities.
All Nova Scotians have a right to self-determination. The law must protect and support their decision-making.
This is important legislation that has real impact. It will take time, but it is critical we take the time to consult with Nova Scotians to make sure we get it right.
I have also instructed my department not to oppose an upcoming constitutional challenge of the act scheduled for April 29th. Government will protect the rights and freedom of its citizens. We are here to empower our people – that is how we move Nova Scotia forward.