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Journals Dating from 1758 Available Online

Speaker's Office

The public will now have electronic access to all of the Nova Scotia Legislative Library’s historical journals dating from 1758.

The journals include minutes of the House of Assembly, beginning with the first meeting in 1758, and other information and reports. Initially hand-written, the journals illuminate government responses to important events while detailing the evolution of Nova Scotia as a province and the everyday lives of its people.

“A lot of people don’t realize that until 1962, the journals included government departmental reports. If you’re interested in how government spent money in the past, these reports have everything from the details of the Sambro Lighthouse and Province House to how Nova Scotia’s rail and road transportation network was built. They also have very interesting statistics on the health of Nova Scotians,” said Legislative Librarian David McDonald. “We receive a lot of questions every year from researchers looking for these reports – now we just have to provide them the link.”

In 2016, the library digitized the journals from 1867 to 1900., now part of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, had already posted those from 1767 to 1866.

Library staff digitized the remaining journals – from 1758 to 1766 and 1901 to 2003 – during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, researchers and members of the public had to visit the library in person to review the material or request that it be sent to them.

The electronic publications are expected to be used by researchers worldwide.


The journals are a great source for political history. They are a guide to the issues of their day. But for some periods, they also contain a wealth of curious detail, full of human interest, that came up as the House of Assembly investigated conflicts and adjudicated claims. Making a full range of the journals digitally available will be a great help to Nova Scotia researchers and to international historians, too.Shirley Tillotson, retired professor, department of history, Dalhousie University, and Inglis Professor, University of King's College

The archive of the historic journals of the House of Assembly is a rich resource for scholars and members of the public interested in the legal, political and social history of Nova Scotia. The digitization of the earliest handwritten journals is especially valuable, as previously these documents were only available to researchers who had the time and resources to visit the Nova Scotia Archives.R. Blake Brown, Professor and Chair, department of history, Saint Mary's University

The legislative library has undertaken the massive work of presenting online the daily minutes of the early Nova Scotia House of Assembly and making them widely accessible for the first time in more than 250 years. Researchers can now follow government responses to events including the deportation of the Acadians, the revolution of the 13 colonies to the south, the settlement of the Loyal Refugees and partition of New Brunswick and Cape Breton from Nova Scotia. The newly digitized early journals are critical records showing us how we got here, as a province and as a nation.Michèle Raymond, former MLA, historical researcher, author

Quick Facts:

  • the Nova Scotia House of Assembly is the oldest in Canada, having first sat in 1758
  • in 1848, Nova Scotia became the site of the first responsible government among the colonies of the British Empire
  • the House of Assembly meets at Province House in Halifax, a National Historic Site and Canada’s oldest legislature; it opened on February 11, 1819

Additional Resources:

House of Assembly journal archives:

Nova Scotia Legislative Library:

Report on MLA Indemnity and Salaries Released

Keith Bain, Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, has received the report of the independent panel appointed to review and make recommendations about the indemnity or base salary payable to all MLAs and the additional salaries payable to the Speaker, the deputy Speaker, the leader of the Opposition, leaders of recognized parties, and the Premier and other members of Executive Council.

The three-person panel – composed of university professor Ajay Parasram and lawyers Burtley Francis and Kyle MacIsaac – has recommended that the base salary payable to all MLAs should be increased from $89,234.90 to $100,480.91, a 12.6 per cent increase. The increase is identical to that received by civil servants between April 1, 2014, and the date on which the recommendations are effective: September 1, 2021.

The panel recommended that there be no change to the additional salaries payable to the Speaker, the deputy Speaker, the leader of the Opposition, leaders of recognized parties, and ministers with portfolio. A majority of the panel recommended that the additional salary payable to the Premier be decreased by $11,246.01. This results in the total pay for the Premier remaining unchanged. A majority of the panel recommended that the maximum additional salary payable to ministers without portfolio be set at $39,237.21 or 80 per cent of that payable to a minister with portfolio.

Under the House of Assembly Act, the recommendations of the panel are binding and take effect on the first day of the month following the general election.

In addition to its binding recommendations, the panel raised issues for consideration and made suggestions about matters that arose during its inquiry. These matters include:
-- the unique family-related challenges faced by MLAs, especially women and gender-diverse MLAs with young children
-- the provision for a Mi'kmaw representative in the House of Assembly
-- the conduct of future reviews of MLA compensation.

“I thank the panel for its diligent work in preparing the report presenting its recommendations regarding the remuneration of MLAs. It is evident that the panel has considered the issues thoroughly and taken great care to ensure that its recommendations are fair, transparent and in the best interest of Nova Scotians,” said Speaker Bain.

Quick Facts:
-- the panel was appointed on May 30
-- this is the first independent review of MLA compensation to occur since 2014
-- the last increase to the indemnities and salaries that are the subject of the panel’s report occurred on January 1, 2013

Additional Resources:
The report of the panel is available to view and download at:

Media Contact: James Charlton
                          Nova Scotia House of Assembly

Remuneration Panel Appointed, Public Consultation Begins

Today, May 30, an independent panel officially begins reviewing the remuneration paid to MLAs.

Pursuant to section 45A of the House of Assembly Act, Keith Bain, Speaker of the House of Assembly, announced the appointment of Ajay Parasram, Burtley Francis and Kyle MacIsaac as members of the panel:

  • Ajay Parasram is an associate professor, cross-appointed to the departments of international development studies, history and political science at Dalhousie University; trained in political science and political economy, he researches and teaches about the colonial present
  • Burtley Francis is a practicing lawyer and partner with Stewart McKelvey in Halifax; he regularly advises and represents small businesses and national public companies on a broad range of commercial matters; he also sits on the board of directors of the Black Business Initiative and the Federation of African Canadian Economics
  • Kyle MacIsaac is a labour and employment lawyer and partner with Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP in Halifax who represents provincially and federally regulated employers in all aspects of workplace law; he appears regularly before labour arbitrators, human rights tribunals, labour boards and workers’ compensation tribunals, as well as all levels of court in various Canadian provinces.

The remuneration panel has the powers of a commission of inquiry pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act and is mandated by law to review the annual amounts paid for the following eight roles:

  • Members of the House of Assembly (currently $89,234.90)
  • the Speaker (currently $49,046.51)
  • the Deputy Speaker (currently $24,523.25)
  • the Leader of the Opposition (currently $49,046.51)
  • the Leader of any other recognized opposition party (currently $24,523.25)
  • the Premier (currently $112,791.20)
  • Ministers with portfolio (currently $49,046.51)
  • Ministers without portfolio (currently $49,046.51).

The panel’s report is due this summer. The scope of this review is narrower than the last, which occurred in 2014. In addition to fixing the amounts for the above eight roles, the mandate of the previous review included pensions, expenses and allowances. Those matters fall outside of the statutory jurisdiction of the current review and will not be considered by the panel.

Public Consultation

To inform their deliberations, the panel is conducting a province-wide public consultation. Residents of Nova Scotia are invited to share their perspectives in writing or in a virtual presentation to the panel.

Written comments may be submitted by email to or by mail (postmarked before June 10) to Remuneration Panel, c/o Clerk’s Office, 1st Floor – Province House, P.O. Box 1617, Halifax, N.S., B3J 2Y3.

Nova Scotians can make a 10-minute presentation to the panel on Wednesday, June 8. To schedule, people must send an email to before 4 p.m. on Monday, June 6, with the following:

  • subject line – Presentation
  • message content – full name and mailing address of presenter and if presenting on behalf of an organization, its official name