ontario news watch

Advocates laud Halifax disaster registry to aid disabled, but want system expanded

HALIFAX — Advocates are welcoming a new registry in Halifax that helps people with disabilities receive specialized help during emergencies, but they say it should be a provincewide service.

The city announced Wednesday it is accepting applications for a voluntary registry that will provide essential information to first responders on such things as a person’s mobility or whether they are hearing or vision impaired.

As well, when the program is activated during a flood, wildfire or other disasters, a warning will be sent through the municipality’s mass notification system to registrants, their representative or legal guardian and emergency contacts.

Anne Camozzi, a 69-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair and lives alone, says the service is wonderful but notes that climate disasters can hit any community in the province.

Camozzi, who lives in Antigonish, N.S., says the province should provide funding and expertise to ensure all the 49 municipalities’ emergency organizations can operate similar registries. 

John Lohr, the minister of municipal affairs, says municipalities are best placed to set up the registries, adding that he will leave it to them to indicate if provincial funds or expertise is required.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2023.

The Canadian Press