Nova Scotia Adoption Records

Nova Scotia is currently a “closed records” province.  Join the effort to push for Open Records in Nova Scotia by joining   the Coalition for Open Records Nova Scotia  at  Email:

Latest CBC story on Nova Scotia Adoption Records:


COARpei advocates for adoption disclosure legislation that provides adopted adults unrestricted access to their original birth certificate, and unrestricted access to identifying information on their natural parents.  COARpei advocates for adoption disclosure legislation that provides natural mothers unrestricted access to the original birth certificate of their son or daughter, and provides natural parents unrestricted access to identifying information on their son or daughter.


Adopted persons  still do not have the right to access their original birth certificates and identifying information, nor can natural parents obtain the adopted names of the son or daughter  lost to adoption.

Non-identifying information is available to natural parents, adoptees, and other natural family members. Nova Scotia also maintains a passive registry and staff will also conduct active searches. Identifying information can only be obtained with prior consent of the person who is being identified.

1.  Adoption Disclosure

Adoption Disclosure Service Program
Department of Community Services
P.O. Box 696 Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 2T7
(902) 424-2755

2.  Obtain your Hospital Records

Mothers can call the Medical Records department of the hospital in which the birth took place to obtain your hospital chart with respect to prenatal care, labour and delivery, post natal care, hospital stay, etc.  Mothers should also apply for their child’s hospital record.  (Hint:  Do not use the word “adopted” if possible,  and if asked why records are required the answer is “for my personal record”.)

3.  Maternity Home Records

Mothers who resided in Maternity Homes may apply to the organization which ran the home for any records which may have survived:

For Salvation Army Homes contact:

Salvation Army Archives
26 Howden Road, Scarborough, Ontario
M1R 3E4    Telephone:  416-285-4344

4. Cross Border Adoption/Baby Trafficking to the United States

Many children from the Maritimes were trafficked to the USA for adoption…here is some information re US Immigration

See Karen Balcom’s book “The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption and Baby-Selling between the United States and Canada 1930-1972.

More Information:

A campaign for open records in Nova Scotia led by people affected by adoption resulted in the introduction of Bill 12, the Adoption Information Act (1996) in the Provincial Legislature (First Reading on April 9, 1996, Second Reading Debates May 3, May 7, May 9, 1996). After lobbying by a handful of social workers and adoptive parents, this bill did not pass as presented, and records in Nova Scotia remain closed.