Emancipation Day – August 1st

This year on August 1st Nova Scotia will mark Emancipation Day as an officially designated day for the first time. We encourage everyone to reflect on the history of the Province as well as consider positive steps you can take toward ending anti-Black racism.

Ideas on how to recognize Emancipation Day can be found here: http://emancipationdayns.ca/

History from Nova Scotia can be found here: https://archives.novascotia.ca/africanns/

Nova Scotia Legal Aid is finalizing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan. The Plan will include development of improved policies regarding hiring and retention, and strategies to ensure NSLA is practicing anti-Black racism in our internal and external work. Thank you to NSLA’s Equity and Racial Diversity Committee (ERDC) for leading this work and to everyone who participated.

Some other highlights of recent and ongoing work at NSLA include:

  • Engaging the recommendations under the Marshall Inquiry specific to Legal Aid by:
    • The training for all staff, and approving two lawyers auditing the African Nova Scotians and the Law course at Schulich; and
    • Creating a permanent African Nova Scotian Social Worker to support our clients in criminal and child protection proceedings.
  • Leadership in creation and development of Impact of Race and Culture Assessments, including supporting an intervention in the Anderson case before the Court of Appeal.
  • We are looking forward to supporting and collaborating with the newly funded African Nova Scotian Justice Institute.

Video – Impact on Race and Culture Assessments and the Effects of Systemic Anti-Black Racism on Sentencing Hearings

Brandon Rolle, Managing Lawyer, HRM Youth Office, participated in the May 10, 2021 Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) panel discussion on Impact of Race and Culture Assessments and the effects of systemic anti-black racism in sentencing hearings. The video of the May 10th session can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=579214066347860&ref=watch_permalink

Mass Casualty (Portapique) Inquiry Participants

Nova Scotia Legal Aid is pleased to have its application approved as a participant in the inquiry. As participants in several different aspects of the justice system, NSLA’s systemic and institutional knowledge as well as its client-focused perspective would be different from that of others in the system. Below is a link to the CBC article “Commission examining N.S. mass killing announces inquiry participants” outlining the approved participants.

CBC Article

Roger Burrill Recipient of 2021 CBA Legal Aid Leader Award

Congratulations to Roger Burrill for being recognized with the CBA’s National Legal Aid Leader Award for 2021. The Award distinguishes legal aid lawyers who have made notable contributions to advancing access to justice for those in need. Roger was chosen by the CBA Access to Justice Subcommittee for this Award. The honour is well deserved. Roger is currently part of the Presenting Counsel Team of the Mass Casualty Commission, a joint initiative of the federal and provincial governments led by Michael MacDonald, former Chief Justice of Nova Scotia. Details regarding the Award and his accomplishments during his 35 years of service, can be found in the CBA announcement and the Canadian Lawyer article:

CBA National

Canadian Lawyer



Free Income Tax Clinics

For the 2021 tax season, many community organizations are hosting free virtual tax clinics. Volunteers may be able to complete and file your taxes for free, by videoconference or by phone. Find further information and locations on Canada Revenue Agency’s website at:



2021-22 Business Plan

We are pleased to share the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission’s 2021-22 Business Plan:  NSLAC Business Plan 2021-22. The Business Plan can also be found in Legal Aid Publications under the About Us tab.

2021 Home Warming Program for Low-Income Nova Scotians

Below please some information regarding the 2021 Home Warming Program.  Further details can be found here:  https://www.efficiencyns.ca/residential/programs-services/homewarming/?gclid=eaiaiqobchmiv-jt37mo7wivkk1ych2_uqf5eaayasaaegjnvpd_bwe


HomeWarming offers home energy assessments and upgrades for income-qualified homeowners, at no cost. The goal is to have people living on lower incomes benefit from energy efficiency and feel comfortable in their homes. For qualifying homeowners, if upgrades like draft-proofing and insulation will help reduce heating and power bills, upgrades will be installed at absolutely no cost to you. The application can be found here:  HW Application March 2021

The Evolution of Legal Aid in Nova Scotia

Below please find a copy of a Canadian Bar Association Nova Voce article by Megan Longley, QC, Chief Executive Officer, regarding Legal Aid in Nova Scotia.

CBA-NS Nova Voce – The Evolution of Legal Aid in Nova Scotia

Chronicle Herald Article: “Vulnerable women in Nova Scotia ending up on the streets or behind bars”

Below please find a link to the above-noted opinion article by Ashley Avery & Emma Halpern:


Efforts by Emma and Ashley in educating and advocating regarding the challenges faced by individuals is greatly appreciated. The work of The Elizabeth Fry Society and Coverdale Courtwork Society is essential to our clients and to Nova Scotia.

Heating Assistance Rebate Program

The Nova Scotia Heating Assistance Rebate Program helps low-income Nova Scotians with the cost of home heating. Rebates range from $100 to $200. You can apply until March 31, 2021. For details and to apply please visit their website at:  2020 Heating Assistance Rebate Program