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Nova Scotia Justice Department has no accessible washroom, says minister

Joseph Howe building in Halifax renovated two years ago: Whalen


HALIFAX (The Canadian Press) — Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister has revealed the building that houses her department doesn’t have a properly accessible washroom, even as her bureaucrats are redrafting the province’s accessibility legislation.

Diana Whalen said Wednesday she was shocked to learn the government-leased Joseph Howe building was renovated two years ago without an accessible washroom that will meet new requirements.

Whalen said she has authorized an expenditure of $27,000 to build a new washroom on one floor in the building.

“It just shows that we haven’t had our eye on the ball on this, and I think it’s a very good example of why we need to get out there and find out what we’ve got in other buildings,” she said.

The provincial government is planning to survey its buildings to ensure they comply with the new law.

Whalen said the reworked bill will be tabled when the legislature opens next week.

The Accessibility Act was delayed last fall after heavy criticism from the groups it was supposed to help.

Responsibility for the legislation was also shifted from the Community Services Department to the Justice Department, after advocates for the disabled said the proposed law was dealing with a human-rights issue.

Copyright (c) 2017 The Canadian Press