Request access to information about an adoption
An adopted person, birth parent, birth sibling and other relatives can request access to information about an adoption.
There are 2 types of information you can request: non-identifying and identifying.
Criteria for accessing information
|Party to an adoption||What information you can request|
|Adoptive parents||An adoptive parent can request access to non-identifying information on behalf of an adopted person who is 18 or younger. Or they can request access to non-identifying information with the consent of the adopted person who is 19 or older.
They can also request access to information from the other parties to an adoption in situations that affect the health, safety or wellbeing of an adopted person who is 18 or younger.
|Birth siblings||A birth sibling who is 19 or older and is the biological brother or sister of an adopted person can request access to non-identifying information about the adopted person.
A birth sibling can only request identifying information if the adopted person hasn’t filed a disclosure veto for the birth parent they share and they meet 1 of the following criteria:
|Relative of a birth parent||A relative of a birth parent can request access to non-identifying information about an adoption if they meet 1 of the following criteria:
|Relative of an adopted person||A relative of an adopted person can request access to non-identifying information about an adoption if they meet 1 of the following criteria:
Requesting access to information on behalf of someone else
You can request access to information on behalf of someone who doesn’t have capacity under Adult Capacity Decision-making Act (PDF). You need to provide information about yourself and the person you’re filing for. You need to include a copy of the court order granted under the act as proof of consent to Adult Capacity Decision-making Act as a representative. You also need to include 1 piece of government-issued identification for yourself.
Priority request for information in urgent situations
Your request for information may get prioritized if there’s an urgent situation that affects the health, safety or wellbeing of an adopted person, birth parent or birth sibling. If your request is for an urgent medical or psychiatric situation, you need to complete a Priority Request for Compelling Circumstances Form and have it signed by a physician.
Search and reunion services
When you request access to information about an adoption, you can request a search for the adopted person and other parties to an adoption. You can also request reunion support to help you reunite (connect) with the adopted person and other parties to an adoption.
Help with your request
The Disclosure Program can help you with your request and provide more information about how open adoption records work. The program also provides an option for you to speak with someone who identifies as African Nova Scotian or Indigenous.
Who can use this form
If you’re an adopted person (who is now 19 or older) or a birth parent, you can request access to information about the other person.
Birth siblings and other relatives can request access to information about an adoption, but they can only request information that they meet the criteria to access.
You need to submit a separate access request for each adoption record (you can't complete the form for more than 1 person).
What you need to do
- Review detailed guidance in the Disclosure Program - Adoption Records Guide.
- Complete the Priority Request for Compelling Circumstances Form if you have a priority request for information because of an urgent medical or psychiatric situation.
- Complete the form online.
- Check the form for details on all required supporting documents.
- Submit your completed form and supporting documents.
How long it takes
It should take 1 to 2 months for the Disclosure Program to complete an initial review of your request. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your form hasn’t been filled in correctly. The time required to provide access to the requested information varies depending on the information requested and privacy options.
There is no cost to request access to information about an adoption.
Before you start
Make sure you have:
- 2 pieces of government-issued identification (like a driver’s licence, Secure Certificate of Indian Status, passport or NEXUS card); one piece of identification needs to include your photo
- Priority Request for Compelling Circumstances Form signed by a physician, if applicable
When you request information about an adoption online you need to upload any supporting documents in DOCX, PDF or JPEG format.
You can use the Request for Adoption Information, Supports and Services Form (PDF 143 kB) if you're unable to request access to information online. Send your completed form and supporting documents by mail or email to the Disclosure Program.