News Releases

Independent Living Nova Scotia presents Art of Disability Festival: The Remix

Annual event celebrating artists with disabilities follows other local festivals in decision to move to the web, offering online events and an artist catalogue.

Halifax, NS, July 22, 2020 – Independent Living Nova Scotia’s Art of Disability Festival: The Remix will showcase Nova Scotian artists, makers and crafters with disabilities from August 10 -16 through a web-based platform.

“We did not want to lose the festival this year and our solution needed to be creative while keeping the heart of the festival in mind: the artists,” says Heather Baglole, Festival Co-Coordinator. “We devised the Artist Catalogue.”

Until August 1st, ILNS is accepting applications for their web-based catalogue from artists who currently live in Nova Scotia and who self-identify as a person with a disability. Then from August 10 - 16, customers can browse the catalogue and directly contact artists about sales or commissions.

“We are also hosting free virtual events throughout the week on Zoom and Facebook Live,” says Connor Hirtle, Festival Co-Coordinator. “These events include a Creating as an Artist with Disabilities webinar, a music set from DJ Ace, a guided meditation from sponsor FloMeditation, and an audience participation Paint-a-Long.”

Art of Disability Festival events will also include ASL interpreters and for those joining on Facebook Live, closed captioning.

For the full festival schedule, visit, and follow Independent Living Nova Scotia on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for key festival updates.


Media Contact:

Heather Baglole
Art of Disability Festival Co-Coordinator
Independent Living Nova Scotia

More Employment Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities Through ILNS' RISE Program

Independent Living Nova Scotia (ILNS) received three more years worth of funding through the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS).

Halifax, NS, July, 6, 2020 – ILNS is offering paid employment training programming for youth with disabilities located in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) through their Reaching for Inclusive Successful Employment and Education (RISE) Program. 

The RISE Program will include a rotating schedule of ILNS’ Next Step Program and Hotelworx Program. All youth with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 30 years old who live within the HRM are eligible for this program.

“Through the Next Step phases of the RISE Program, we will accommodate persons with disabilities who have limited work experience and are looking to develop essential, life and employability skills,” says Katherine Brown, ILNS Program Manager. “Our Hotelworx Program phase of RISE is for those interested in gaining work experience in the hospitality industry. Hotelworx participants will also receive essential, life and employability skills training along with technical training for jobs in the hotel, food and tourism industry.”

RISE participants will also put their skills training to work by completing job placements.  

“Through RISE, one of our main goals is to assist persons with disabilities to develop employability skills and gain work experience, so they overcome barriers to employment,” says Carrie Ernst, ILNS Executive Director. “As with past Next Step and Hotelworx participants, we will also help participants set their own goals and make their own decisions. Each participant will leave the program with a personalized transition plan, so they can reach their professional goals, whether they continue working with their host employer after the program finishes, they go on to post-secondary studies or they transition into another industry.”

To find out more about RISE or to apply for the first phase of the Next Step, visit


Media Contact:

Kaitlyn Phillips
Program Specialist & Executive Assistant
Independent Living Nova Scotia

Independent Living Nova Scotia Presents the 8th Art of Disability Festival

Artists with disabilities key feature in annual event that celebrates accessible art for all, including everything from fine art to performance art.

Halifax, NS, July 22, 2019 – Independent Living Nova Scotia’s Art of Disability Festival will showcase Nova Scotian artists with disabilities and their art on August 11 at the Halifax Brewery Farmers’ Market located at 1496 Lower Water Street.

Admission to the Festival is free to the public and welcomes attendees of all ages, abilities, and walks of life. This event is also wheelchair accessible and will include American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and sighted-guides. Additionally, there will be a low sensory area. 

“This is a great opportunity for talented artists with disabilities to come together and exhibit their art for the general public,” Carrie Ernst, Executive Director of ILNS, says. “This annual event is also a terrific way to create an accessible and inclusive environment that everyone can enjoy.” 

The Festival will feature a wide range of artistry, including paintings, handmade cards, fabric and knitted items, baked goods, poetry, music, and much more as well as performance art acts throughout the event!  

“The Art of Disability Festival is an opportunity to break down the barriers between accessibility and art, providing a safe and inclusive environment to learn, share, and celebrate the diversity of the Halifax Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia as a whole,” Asia Holloway, Festival Coordinator at ILNS, says.

This event wouldn’t be possible without sponsorship from the Downtown Halifax Business Commission as well as partnerships with the Halifax Brewery Farmers Market, Develop Nova Scotia and a variety of other local businesses.


Asia Holloway

Festival Coordinator

(902) 453-0004

Independent Living Nova Scotia Presents Lois Miller Tulip Award

The Lois Miller Tulip Award will be presented at ILNS’ Independent Living Across Canada Day open house in June.

Halifax, NS, May 24, 2019 - ILNS will present the Lois Miller Tulip Award to Jen Powley, who founded and continues to work with the No More Warehousing: The Nova Scotia Association for Inclusive Homes and Supportas well as a long-time disability rights advocate who has contributed to disability supports and accessible transportation. 

The annual award recognizes a person, group or organization that exemplifies the spirit of independent living and enables people living with disabilities have control over their lives.

“The Lois Miller Tulip Award was created to honour those in our community whose tireless and active leadership achieve positive changes for people living with disabilities,” Carrie Ernst, Executive Director of ILNS says. “Jen Powley has contributed so much to the disability community and she continues to be a voice for individuals with disability especially as the founder for the No More Warehousing initiative.” 

The award will be presented to Jen on Independent Living Across Canada Day, June 3, at ILNS’ open house where individuals can witness the award presentation, enjoy some refreshments and learn about ILNS’ programs and services. The open house will take place at 7071 Bayers Road, Suite L151 from 2 – 5 p.m. 

The Lois Miller Tulip Award is named for one of ILNS’ previous Executive Directors, Lois Miller, who was at the helm of ILNS for 13 years and positively contributed to the lives of Nova Scotians living with disabilities during her time with the organization. 


Carrie Ernst

Executive Director

Independent Living Nova Scotia

(902) 446-7433

Registered Disability Savings Plan Pilot Project Launched for Nova Scotians with Disabilities

Independent Living Nova Scotia (ILNS) is partnering with the Society of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians (SDHHNS) and the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services (DCS) to deliver navigational services to persons with disabilities looking to open a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Halifax, NS, January 8, 2019 – ILNS along with SDHHNS and DCS are launching a two-part pilot project that will offer Nova Scotians who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) help with opening an RDSP.  

“Independent Living Nova Scotia’s participation in this project falls in line with our mandate to help our consumers gain independence,” Carrie Ernst, Executive Director of ILNS says. “Throughout this project, we will reach consumers, provide them with essential information and help them move forward with the RDSP process. Ultimately, this project will improve the economic position of some of our most marginalized citizens within Nova Scotia.”

Throughout this project, ILNS and SDHHNS will offer one-on-one navigational services to help individuals open an RDSP and also apply for the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Bond while also holding information sessions and developing an informational toolkit that will guide individuals through the process. Additionally, during the first phase, ILNS and SDHHNS will focus on helping individuals in the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Cape Breton Municipality, however after March 31, 2019, they will expand these services to the entire province. 

“The Society of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians is delighted to partner in this project that will facilitate access to the RDSP program for Deaf and hard of hearing Nova Scotians. By keeping with the Society’s mandate and directives, the project will ensure there are no communication or access barriers for consumers. With the guidance and support of project staff it is expected that more deaf and hard of hearing people will enrol in this program which will enhance their capacity to save for the future.”  

According to the Government of Canada, only 21 percent of Nova Scotians who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit and a Registered Disability Savings Plan are actually taking advantage of this lucrative program, however by offering navigational services, ILNS and SDHHNS will be able to spread more awareness and help more individuals complete the RDSP process. 

“We’re pleased to fund this project under the Poverty Reduction Government Innovation Fund — many Nova Scotians don’t even know about the Registered Disability Savings Plan,” said Bonnie St. Croix, Executive Lead on Poverty Reduction for the Department of Community Services. “We hope to see many more of our Disability Support Program (DSP) Participants and other eligible persons open RDSPs to save for their future.”


Kaitlyn Phillips

Marketing and Public Relations Specialist

Independent Living Nova Scotia

(902) 453-0004

ILNS’ Hotelworx Participants Excelling at Work Placements

ILNS’ Hotelworx Program provides youth with disabilities the skills training and a work placement opportunity, so they can find employment in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Halifax, NS, August 2, 2018: Fourteen ILNS Hotelworx students are completing 12-week work placements at various HRM businesses from May 28 to August 31 to gain work experience, while also striving to become permanent employees.  

“We actually have a few students who already received and accepted job offers after their placement end date, which is exciting,” Ali Farr, Hotelworx Program Coordinator says. “Additionally, when we were canvassing for placements, we offered placement hosts four weeks of 100 percent wage subsidy, to give them time to decide if they would continue the placements during the final eight weeks while also providing 20 percent of wages to students.”

Fortunately, the feedback was positive, and all employers agreed to contribute to wages, which demonstrates the hard work delivered by the students. 

“We were pleased to partner with ILNS and their Hotelworx Program for the placement portion, especially because in the hotel industry, labour shortage is an issue,” Kimberly Clarke, General Manager at the Coastal Inn Halifax, says. “This placement also allows students to gain valuable experience, which will help them secure future positions.” 

The unemployment rate for persons with disabilities within Nova Scotia is 16 percent compared to the nine percent unemployment rate for persons without disabilities, however through opportunities like ILNS’ Hotelworx Program and employer engagement sessions—a series that educate employers around hiring and retaining persons with disabilities—there are improvements for persons with disabilities who are looking for employment.  

Independent Living Nova Scotia (ILNS) is a non-profit organization that supports persons with disabilities make informed choices about how they want to live their lives. ILNS assists persons with disabilities through programs and services that promote Independent Living. 


Kaitlyn Phillips 

Marketing and Public Relations Specialist

Independent Living Nova Scotia

(902) 453-0004

ILNS’ 7th Annual Art of Disability Festival is Back

ILNS’ Art of Disability Festival exhibits artists with disabilities as they showcase their creative talents.

Halifax, NS, July 19, 2018: Nova Scotian artists with disabilities are preparing for Independent Living Nova Scotia’s Art of Disability Festival at The Westin Nova Scotian Commonwealth Ballroom on August 12 from 12 –5 p.m. 

This inclusive event is wheelchair accessible and will also have American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters present and sighted guides available for the blind and partially sighted. 

“We believe the change of venue and date for this years’ Festival will allow us to provide more exposure for the artists with disabilities community while also further empowering these talented artists,” Carrie Ernst, Executive Director of ILNS, says.

The Festival highlights works from a wide range of artistry, some of which include jewelry making to dance performances. The festival is also meant for learning, sharing, and celebrating the diverse talents in the HRM community.

“This festival is about bringing awareness to the talent people with disabilities have,” Sara Graham, Festival Coordinator at ILNS, says. “Art is difficult to appreciate when it isn’t accessible to everyone, the Art of Disability Festival breaks down that barrier and brings people together.”

Independent Living Nova Scotia is a non-profit organization that supports persons with disabilities make informed choices about how they want to live their lives. Since 1992, ILNS has assisted Nova Scotians with disabilities through programs and services that promote Independent Living. 


Sara Graham

Festival Coordinator

Independent Living Nova Scotia

(902) 453-0004

ILNS Announces New Executive Director

Halifax, NS March 22, 2018 - It is with great pleasure the Board of Directors for Independent Living Nova Scotia announces the appointment of Carrie Ernst as Executive Director, effective immediately. Carrie has been with ILNS since 2015, most recently in the role of Operations Manager.

A 20-year veteran of the Nova Scotia non-profit sector, including over a decade as Executive Director of the New Waterford Employment Resource Centre, Carrie is more than qualified and prepared to lead ILNS into the future.

ILNS has been without an Executive Director for almost a year and the Board would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the outstanding work Carrie has done over that time. The organization would not be on the solid footing it is today without her deep commitment and extensive skills.

For more information, contact:

Carrie Ernst

Executive Director

Independent Living Nova Scotia


Grace on a Bike - The Sarah Dubé Memorial

Halifax, NS July 27, 2017 - On June 22, 2017 Grace McNee began her incredible cross-Canada journey in Vancouver, BC. She will cycle across Canada on her trusty bike to raise money for Independent Living Nova Scotia in loving memory of Sarah Dubé.

"Sarah was a strong believer in independent living, and chaired the Independent Living Nova Scotia (ILNS) Board," Grace McNee says. "We attended many meetings and events together, and I have been privileged to see the impact of the work they accomplish." 

Sarah Dubé touched the lives of so many and inspired others with her spirit, kindness and light. Sarah was an amazing leader, philanthropist, and intellectual dynamo "with a wicked sense of humour."

Born with muscular dystrophy and not expected to live beyond childhood, "it was mind boggling what she got done," her mother Lillianne Dubé says. "She would set the stage for action...she didn't have time to waste."

Dubé graduated from University of King's College with a contemporary studies degree and went on to achieve a master's degree in urban planning.

The daily struggles of living with muscular dystrophy were immense, her mother acknowledges. 

"Her muscles were constantly failing her."

Sarah was a tireless advocate for improving accessibility and independent living for people with mobility issues. She was also the youngest chair of Independent Living Nova Scotia.

"She never voiced her dependence on others. She was never defined by her physical limitations," Lillianne says.

Grace is traveling across Canada to honour Sarah's memory, to spread awareness about independent living, and to rise funds.

"Sarah came into my life last year and while I had far too short a time with her, she touched me deeply and inspired me beyond measure. Although I was her care worker, Sarah cared for me as much as I did for her and quickly became my dearest friend. She had many passions, from travel to philosophy, to the environment and animal rights, and many more. I learned a lot from her and she inspired me to tackle the cross Canada bicycle trek. Through Sarah, independent living became a cause near and dear to me. Sarah opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the world, and living it. She will always be one of the strongest and feistiest people I had the pleasure of knowing."

 Please check Grace's website and consider supporting her efforts:

Supporting persons with disabilities live independently in the community

Our Corporate Sponsors

Direct Your Visitors to a Clear Action at the Bottom of the Page