December 4, 2017 5:21 pm
Updated: December 5, 2017 9:54 am

Halifax man ‘gives voice’ to those living with disabilities

WATCH: Will Brewer is a Halifax man living with Down syndrome, he’s in pursuit of securing the official position of Halifax’s Town Crier. He’s also a ‘champion’ for the disability community, a community that now has an official day dedicated to awareness and recognition.

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With a commanding voice that silenced the whir of downtown Halifax traffic on Monday morning, Will Brewer donned his official ‘town crier hat’, to address the crowd before him.

“Whereas, December 3rd has been declared by the United Nations to be the International Day for Persons with Disabilities,” Brewer read.

Officially proclaiming Dec. 3 as the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in Nova Scotia is a role Brewer feels personally connected to.

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“To me, it means that I have the voice for people with disabilities,” he said.

Brewer was born with Down syndrome and has spent his life pursuing opportunities that inspire others living with disabilities to ‘find their purpose.’

READ MORE: CRA faces fresh criticism on disability tax credit, this time from autism group

“I hope that everyone can spread their voices around the community and maybe they’ll find their meaning in everyday life,” he said.

Brewer hopes to become Halifax’s next Town Crier, meaning he would be in charge of reading official proclamations on behalf of the provincial government.

His advocacy work, in particular, his input on Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act that was rolled out this fall, has inspired those around him.

“Will’s a big champion in the community for people with disabilities. In fact, I don’t think Will has a disability, he’s got nothing but abilities,” Gerry Post said, another disability advocate who also shared input on the Accessibility Act.

 

Kevin Murphy is the Speaker for the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. He was injured in an accident in 1985 and suffered a spinal cord injury, he’s been wheelchair-bound ever since.

WATCH: We chat with actor, poet and town crier Will Brewer about International Day of Persons with Disabilities Day

According to Murphy, Nova Scotia leads the country when it comes to disability rates.

“One-in-five Nova Scotians, has some form of disability and that’s the highest rate in Canada,” he said.

Murphy anticipates that number to increase in the coming years.

“By 2030, more than one-in-four Nova Scotians will be aged 65 and over and the number of people with disabilities will increase,” he said.

Brewer’s mother, Allison, feels more resources need to be put in place to help those living with disabilities to find employment.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia mother with mild intellectual disability denied custody of son

“There’s not the support in the private sector or the public sector and look around, when was the last time you saw someone with Down syndrome working in a government office, for instance?” she said. “I mean it’s not completely unheard of, there are small pockets but the province really, really has to step up.”

Murphy says the Accessibility Act aims, to make all of Nova Scotia ‘completely accessible by 2030.’

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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