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Province reveals new equity and anti-racism strategy – a first for Canada

By Caitlin Snow Jul 6, 2023 | 4:27 PM

Scazon / CC

The first of its kind in Canada, the province reveals its new Equity and Anti-Racism strategy.

Investing nearly $1.2 million, plans will focus on communities that are under-represented and under-served, addressing systemic hate, equity and racism. The government will look into how hate motivated crimes are addressed and how they deal with communities who deal with systemic hate, inequity and racism; specifically, Mi’kmaq and Persons of Indigenous Descent, African Nova Scotians and Persons of African Descent, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, gender communities, newcomers (immigrants and refugees), faith-based communities and persons with disabilities.

“Systemic racism, hate and inequity have no place in our province,” said Premier Tim Houston. “This strategy acknowledges there are problems we need to address to help move us towards becoming a more equitable and inclusive province.”

The strategy includes the first action plan dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community to meet their needs and address hate and discrimination. The Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives will work with the community over the next year to create the plan.

After extensive public consultation, the province will also work on making our health system free from barriers, with the Health Equity Framework, as well as focusing on psychological health and safety in the workplace.

“2SLGBTQIA+ people make up a vibrant part of our Nova Scotian communities and play a significant role in our local economy. However, they continue to experience systemic barriers, nearly half have hidden who they were in business dealings to avoid losing opportunities, and more than a third have lost business opportunities due to being 2SLGBTQIA+. This strategy is happening at a crucial time, highlighted by the barriers faced by Nova Scotian 2SLGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs and community members, the need to ensure that equitable practices are intentionally woven into our society is stronger than ever.”
– Connor McKiggan, Business Development Manager, Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce

“Our Equity and Anti-Racism Strategy represents an important step forward in eliminating the systemic barriers that currently exist within public sector policy and programs. It identifies actions we can take to build a society that is more inclusive and embeds equity and anti-racism in what we do as a government.”
– Brad Johns, Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives

“All Nova Scotians deserve to get healthcare free from discrimination or racism. This framework will help ensure the province’s healthcare is equitable, appropriate and free from discrimination and barriers to care. There is still much work to be done, but we are committed to the actions in the framework.”
– Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness

Quick Facts:
— more than 1,200 Nova Scotians and 70 community organizations were engaged on definitions of specific types of racism and discrimination to be addressed in the strategy, including anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, ableism, antisemitism, gender and sexuality-based discrimination, Islamophobia and xenophobia
— the Dismantling Racism and Hate Act was crafted by an all-party committee and passed in April 2022
— it is the first legislation of its kind in Canada to address systemic inequity and racism across government


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