Mike Slayter has spent the past 25 years advocating for the rights of people who have been adopted.

Slayter says, for him, it has never been about searching for new parents, but about finding the truth.

“There was always a nagging question in my mind when I found out about my adoption, well who am I really?” says Slayter.

He eventually found his birth parents, but says he couldn’t believe how difficult the process was.

“I was flabbergasted,” says Slayter. “I had no idea about the secrecy around adoption.”

In Nova Scotia, accessing information about adoptions is governed by the Adoption Information Act - legislation that has been in place since 1997.      

“People have very strong opinions about adoption because it is a very complicated and emotional issue and this piece of legislation is designed to balance the needs of all the parties,” says Janet Nearing, acting director of Child Welfare.

According to the act, someone hoping to find their birth parents or adopted children would have to make a request to the government to find the other party.

“They let them know what's going on and who's requesting and that person has the opportunity to consent,” says Nearing.

New Brunswick is currently reviewing its legislation. The government just finished public consultations on the idea of opening records to allow people who have been adopted access to their birth certificates, the minister saying the laws need to be modernized.

“I'm pleased that the New Brunswick government is finally listening,” says Slayter.
While the New Brunswick government is considering changes to adoption legislation, the Nova Scotia government isn’t budging on the issue.

Slayter says, despite the resistance, he isn’t giving up.

“It's wrong, it's just fundamentally wrong,” says Slayter. “It is a perverted form of discrimination.”

Slayter has already met with senior staff, but says he wants to discuss the issue directly with the minister.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell