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Legislation would protect witnesses at public inquiries in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Jusice Minister Lena Diab says a change to the Public Inquiries Act follows a request by the group working on the terms of reference for the upcoming inquiry into alleged abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. File/Global News

HALIFAX – People who testify at public inquiries in Nova Scotia would be protected under legislation proposed Monday by the provincial government.

The amendment to the Public Inquiries Act would ensure any statement or testimony given by witnesses would not be used against them in a trial or court proceeding.

Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab says the change follows a request by the group working on the terms of reference for the upcoming inquiry into alleged abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

Tony Smith, of the inquiry design group, says the change will allow people to speak more freely during the inquiry.

The Justice Department says the change is similar to provisions in legislation in several provinces and territories including British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Diab says it’s likely the bill won’t be passed until the fall session of the legislature.

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