Province making changes to support businesses becoming more accessible

The Laker News logo as created by Liane Rogers. (Healey photo)

HALIFAX: Government is making changes to the Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter that will enable local governments to help businesses become more accessible and support Nova Scotia’s goal of being barrier free by 2030.

The changes announced today, March 24, give municipalities the ability to provide financial assistance directly to businesses that are making changes to support accessibility for people with disabilities.

“Municipalities will play a key role in helping the province reach the goal of becoming barrier free by 2030,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Brendan Maguire. “We want to ensure municipalities have the supports and tools they need to do this work. Becoming accessible is good for business and the community.”

The Municipal Government Act and the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter currently do not allow municipalities to provide direct financial support to a business. Amendments to the legislation will create an exemption, allowing municipalities to support accessibility initiatives by businesses.   

“Our members support our provincial goal to become a more accessible province, but it is costly. It is not just the built environment, it is also things like websites, communication, access to information, and many other minute details that determine what accessibility is. Our members recognize the value and importance of the businesses and non-profits in their communities. Changes that will help them to become more accessible to our residents are very welcome.”
     – Emily Lutz, president, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities

“This legislation represents another important step toward supporting every Nova Scotian to participation fully in the life of the communities they live in.”
     – Rosalind Penfound, chair, Accessibility Advisory Board

Quick Facts:
— the change was requested by Halifax Regional Municipality, but government is extending it to all municipalities
— municipalities will be able to develop grant and subsidy programs to support accessibility
— municipalities are developing plans to remove barriers to access; the plans will be publicly available by April 2022

Additional Resources:
Municipal Affairs website:

Accessibility Directorate website:

Access by Design 2030:

Municipal Affairs on Twitter: