The Lasting Harms of the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home

Systemic Allegations of Abuse Against the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home (The Halifax Protestant Orphanage)

Numerous former foster children have alleged systemic abused against the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home (also known as The Halifax Protestant Orphanage). Multiple articles and books have summarized the abuses which occurred at the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home.[1] Allegations by former residents include physical abuse such as beatings with sticks and straps, children tied to beds at night or locked in closets, and emotional cruelty.

The Home and the Province of Nova Scotia were required to provide a reasonable standard of care to the children at the Home. Instead many were abused leaving lasting emotional and physical injuries. 

History of the Home

Founded in 1857, the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home operated in Halifax for over a hundred years, providing care for children placed there by children’s aid societies, the province, and by parents unable to provide due to poverty or sickness. Created by an Anglican minister and private citizens, the Home operated as a charity with a Board of Directors and a Ladies Committee responsible for its governance.[2] In 1886, the Home was formally incorporated per statute as a private charity. In 1924, after moving within Halifax several times, the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home opened its new building and final location at 3115 Veith Street, Halifax, NS.

In 1969, the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home closed its doors as the new, more involved, provincial foster care system took root in Nova Scotia. In 1970, Veith House, a separate entity, started providing community programs and operating out of the former Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home building. Veith House has worked with former residents to reconcile and acknowledge the dark history of the building.

The Involvement of the Province

Starting in 1912, the Children’s Protection Act, SNS 1912, c 4 legislated the province of Nova Scotia’s duty to visit, inspect, and assist in operation of homes such as the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home. As far back as the 1930s, the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home also received grants and funding from the province.[3] In these circumstances, both the private Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home and the province of Nova Scotia were responsible for the physical and emotional well-being of the children at the Halifax Protestant Orphan’s Home.

Institutional Abuse and Sexual Abuse

Institutional abuse of individuals, whether they are elderly, disable, or children, is a great concern in society today. Unfortunately, numerous institutions, schools, churches, and other organizations have been accused of such mistreatment and of turning a blind eye to the physical, emotional, and sexual abuses that were inflicted upon persons in their care or custody.

Furthermore, sexual abuse has additional physical and psychological effects, which can dramatically alter the life of a victim. As most abusers are family, friends, or individuals in a position of authority it can often take years of decades for a survivor to come forward.

No Time Limit on Bringing Institutional Abuse or Sexual Abuse Claims in Nova Scotia

 In 2015, the Nova Scotia Legislature made amendments to the Limitation of Actions Act, SNS 2014, c 35, which removed any time limitation on when a lawsuit must be filed in regard to sexual abuse or claims based on emotional, physical, or financial dependency (such as being a resident at an orphanage or other institution), even if the claim occurred before 2015 and a prior limitation period had expired. This means that historical victims of sexual abuse or abuse while under the care of an institution who are now ready to come forward can initiate lawsuits, even though the abuse happened years or even decades previous.

Your Legal Options After Sexual or Institutional Abuse

At Wagners, we’ve met survivors of sexual or institutional abuse who find it extremely difficult to share their experiences, even with a lawyer. We have a team that is professional and compassionate so you can rely on their experience to explain your legal options and provide the assistance you need to fight for your fair compensation. Abuse survivors can trust us to use the information they share to ensure the person or institution responsible are brought to justice. We take the time to evaluate the specifics of your case and advise on the best legal option to help you receive the monetary compensation you need to recover from the abuse you endured.

File criminal charges: If you take this option, you will not get monetary compensation. Investigations will be done, and the accused will be arrested if sufficient evidence is found. If the defendant is found guilty, he or she could face punishment like imprisonment.

Civil lawsuit: In this case, we pursue the case on behalf of the survivor in civil court. If found at fault, the assailant will be required to pay monetary compensation, which would assist the survivor to recover from the abuse.

Class action lawsuit: It is also possible to file a class action lawsuit against an assailant who assaulted several people. The group of survivors can come together to collectively file a class action suit against the person or institution that was responsible for the assault or abuse.


At Wagners, we firmly believe that no amount of compensation can eliminate the pain and suffering that your assailant caused, but there is so much good that comes from a successfully resolved  institutional or sexual abuse claim. As a survivor, the monetary compensation you receive can assist you to recover from the abuse and cater to the medical costs involved. Holding the assailant accountable also restores your dignity and encourages other victims of sexual and institutional abuse to come out and seek justice as well.

The amount of compensation you deserve for your sexual or institutional abuse claim will depend on many factors. Some of these factors include:

  • How the abuse affected your ability to support yourself and make sufficient income
  • The type of medical treatment you need or you have sought due to the abuse
  • The personal or unique circumstances of your lawsuit

We know that sexual or institutional abuse is a terrible experience, and many victims usually have a heavy burden that they are likely to carry for a long time. For this reason, we offer reliable legal assistance that you need to get the monetary burden off your shoulders. Our main goal is to build a strong strategy and successfully fight for your rights.





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