Starting Oct. 1, Nova Scotians will be able to offer an apology without accepting liability. The Apology Act was passed in fall 2008. It broadly defines apology and states that an apology can not be used as evidence in legal proceedings to establish fault or liability. Liability or fault may still be proven through other evidence. “This legislation is applicable to all sectors and impacts all Nova Scotians,” said Justice Minister Ross Landry. “Apologizing has become an important part of our culture.” The act is significant for health-care sectors. When an adverse event happens in the public health-care system, the provincial Disclosure of Adverse Events Policy supports staff disclosing what happened to patients and their families. The new legislation complements this policy for the next step in healing and recovery. By allowing staff to express remorse, it is hoped patients and families will feel less isolated and be comforted by hearing an apology. “It is a step forward in supporting a culture of quality and patient safety throughout the health-care system in Nova Scotia,” said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Improved communication among staff, and with patients and families, allows the system to learn from adverse events and prevent them in the future wherever possible.” Nova Scotia joins six other provinces who have apology legislation — British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.