Part III - Measures Adopted by the Governments of the Provinces - Nova Scotia

Article 2: Anti-Discrimination Measures

Complaints of gender-related discrimination

231. The tables below provide data on the number of complaints to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission related to gender and/or pregnancy in the areas of employment, services and accommodation.


  MediationDiscontinuedReferred to BOI*Ongoing
Gender 10 17 4 30
Pregnancy 2 6 2 9
Gender 1     1
Gender       1


  MediationDiscontinuedReferred to BOI *Ongoing
Gender 5 12   48
Pregnancy 3 7   17
Gender 1     1
Gender       1

* Board of Inquiry

Aboriginal Women

232. The Nova Scotia Native Women's Association is an active member of the Mi'kmaw-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum and has community programs in many First Nations communities in Nova Scotia. Funding is provided to the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association to enable it to be an active contributor to the Tripartite Forum, with representatives at all levels of the Forum and on all working committees.

233. Through a national federal-provincial-territorial forum on “ Building Healthy and Safe Communities", work is continuing with women from Aboriginal communities to create the basis for more effective interventions against violence, including public awareness and holistic treatment.

Aboriginal women in custody

234. The 2001 census identified Nova Scotia's Aboriginal population as 17,015, or about two percent of the Nova Scotia population. The following provides data on admissions to the Justice system in 2005-2006, with respect to custody, remand, and in 2004-2005, with respect to probation and adult diversion:

  • Custody: three percent of all female admissions to sentenced custody were adult Aboriginal women and 18 percent were Aboriginal female youth. Overall, both women and female youth represented eight percent of admissions to sentenced custody in Nova Scotia.
  • Remand: 10 percent of all female admissions to remand were adult Aboriginal women and eight percent were Aboriginal female youth. Overall, women represented 10 percent of all admissions to remand in Nova Scotia and female youth represented eight percent.
  • Probation: six percent of all female admissions to probation were adult Aboriginal women and four percent were Aboriginal female youth. Overall, women represented 17 percent of all admissions to probation in Nova Scotia and female youth represented 16 percent.
  • Adult Diversion: four percent of all female admissions to Adult Diversion were adult Aboriginal women. Overall, women represented 40 percent of all admissions to Adult Diversion in Nova Scotia.

235. The Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network, through its Court Worker Program and Customary Law Program, actively provides support to Aboriginal women in conflict with the law. The Customary Law Program is an option under Section 718 of the Criminal Code to hold offenders accountable for their actions. Only youth 12‑17 can be referred on a pre-charge basis to this program. All adult referrals are made on a post charge basis, except where the Customary Law Program partners with the Restorative Justice Program of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

236. In 2004-2005, the Mi'kmaw Legal Support Network provided services in response to 82 referrals: three female adult, five male adult, 14 female youth referrals, and 60 male youth referrals.

237. The Mi'kmaq Legal Support Network holds bi-annual cultural awareness gatherings at Nova Scotia correctional facilities. These events take place at the two larger provincial facilities, the youth facility and the Nova Institute Women's facility. These workshops raise understanding amongst the correctional staff and create opportunities for esteem building and community connection for the inmate population.

238. Actions have been taken to improve the use of the Alternative Justice Program, including local workshops and joint problem solving committees, regular articles in the Mi'kmaw media, including a column on the rights of the accused, and a new partnership with Correctional Services Canada and the National Parole Board for use of Aboriginal release provisions under Section 84 of the Criminal Code.

Article 3: Measures to Ensure the Advancement of Women

Violence against women and girls

239. According to a report released in December 2005, called Sexual Assault in Nova Scotia: A Statistical Portrait, indicates that Nova Scotia's rate of sexual assault in 2004 was 40 per 1,000 population aged 15 and over in 2004. The majority of victims are female and more than half are under the age of 25. The vast majority of victims of sexual assault do not report the crime to the police. The statistics indicated that, in the last decade, there has been a declining police and court response to sexual offences in Nova Scotia. The proportion of sexual assault cases resulting in the laying of charges against the accused has declined as have the number of prison sentences given to those convicted of sexual assault while acquittals have increased. This is not the case for other violent offences.

240. In December 2003, a revised version of Making Changes: A book for women in abusive relationships was issued. This booklet continues to be heavily used, with about 7,500 print copies and 18,000 copies downloaded from the Internet. The booklet is made available to women in Aboriginal communities through the Healing Centres.

241. These documents are available on line at

Aboriginal women

242. The Government of Canada funds the Mi'kmaw Family Healing Centres, which provide a range of support services for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. The Centres work closely with a network of nine mainstream women's shelters in Nova Scotia, which also provide support for victims of domestic abuse.

243. Details concerning the Nova Scotia Domestic Violence Intervention Act (2003) may be found in paragraphs 483‑484 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

244. The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women produced a fact sheet on Aboriginal Women.

245. The Council sponsored a Nova Scotia delegation that included one female chief to attend the March 2005 national policy forum on Aboriginal women's issues that focussed on domestic violence. This resulted in the establishment of a Nova Scotia Working Group to identify gaps in services and develop culturally appropriate programs and services.

Shelters for victims of violence

246. There are nine transition houses across the province with stable funding from the Province. Also, funding for sexual assault nurse examiners has been increased. Fifty thousand dollars was provided to train workers in women's centers and $3,000 was provided for a needs assessment proposal across the province.

247. The Mi'kmaw Family Healing Centres provide shelter services for women who are victims of domestic violence as well as education and outreach programs.

Article 7: Women in Politics and Public Life

248. Nine of Nova Scotia's 52 provincial legislature seats (17 percent) are filled by women. Of Nova Scotia's 11 federal members of parliament, only one is a woman (nine percent). In the 2004 municipal election, 92 women were elected as municipal councillors (20.8 percent) and 48 percent of elected regional school board members were women. Women have comprised 26.4 percent, 18.5 percent and 23.3 percent of candidates in the 1999, 2003 and 2006 Nova Scotia provincial elections respectively.

249. In 2003-2004, five workshops were held across the province to encourage women's involvement in politics and to identify interest and need in a women's campaign school. As a result, the Nova Scotia Women's Campaign School was held in 2004 and in 2005, and a third is planned for Spring 2007. Some 60 women have taken part in the campaign school, with five participants subsequently standing for office.

250. Votes for Women, a book that provides practical information for women interested in running for elected office, was updated in 2004. More than 9,000 copies have been requested since its release.

Aboriginal women

251. There are 13 Band Councils in Nova Scotia with a total of 13 chiefs and 89 councillors. Of these, three chiefs (23 percent) and 16 councillors (18 percent) are women.

252. Kwikmug Maw Klusuag, the Mi'kmaw Rights Initiative, has been mandated by the 13 Mi'kmaw chiefs to undertake the negotiations process in Nova Scotia. Base funding to ensure that it is able to play a dynamic role in the Made in Nova Scotia Process on behalf of the Mi'kmaw is provided by the Government of Canada. Kwikmug Maw Klusuag, is accountable to the chiefs, three of whom are female, and is guided by three senior Mi'kmaw advisors, one of whom is female and is a leading Mi'kmaw legal expert. The Executive Director of the Initiative is a female Mi'kmaw lawyer.

Article 10: Education

Aboriginal women and girls

253. Techsploration is a program to help female Grade 9 students from diverse backgrounds learn about careers in science, trades and technology, meet female role models and explore innovative workplaces. Each year, the program hosts about 100 young women from 16 schools across the province, including three First Nations schools. Although there are no statistics, anecdotal information suggests that the rate of Mi'kmaw girls graduating from high school is good, but Mi'kmaw boys are not graduating from high school at a rate similar to that of the girls.

254. A publication in 2005, Learning for life II: brighter futures together , details six themes for student academic success. Two three-year pilots (2005-2008) to promote success for Mi'kmaw students are entering their second year, looking at best practices at demonstration sites and a home-school liaison workers project.

255. Negotiations are underway with Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey (Mi'kmaw education authority) to create a common service agreement for Mi'kmaw students who reside on reserve and attend provincial schools, and enhancements for Mi'kmaw students attending provincial schools.

256. With respect to post-secondary education, there are seats at the Nova Scotia Community College set aside in certain programs for Mi'kmaw students. St Francis Xavier University is developing a two-year Bachelors of Education Program for Mi'kmaw students entering the teaching profession. There are a range of scholarships and prizes developed by the Tripartite Forum that are awarded to Mi'kmaw youth preparing for post-secondary education. Dalhousie Law School has a strong indigenous Black and Mi'kmaw program, and a similar program is under discussion for medical studies. Dalhousie University also has a Transition Year Program designed to allow Mi'kmaw and African-Nova Scotian students to prepare for university admission.

Article 11: Employment

Employment measures

257. The Nova Scotia Round Table on Women's Economic Security was established in 2002.The Round Table has initiated work on an analysis of precarious work of women in Nova Scotia, with a view to developing recommendations on ways to mitigate negative impacts of such work.

258. The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women submitted a brief to the federal Department of Labour in December 2005 in relation to its review of the labour standards part of the Canada Labour Code concerning women and work. Additionally, in 2004, a brief was submitted by the Council to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour, making recommendations regarding the erosion of the value of the minimum wage , a matter that affects mostly women. The Government of Nova Scotia increased the minimum wage in 2005 and in 2006.

Aboriginal women

259. The First Nations Economic Development Fund, developed as a joint federal-provincial fund through the efforts of the Tripartite Forum Economic Development Working Committee, provides a means of developing projects that improve employment opportunities, enhance business development, and build capacity. This fund has sponsored youth entrepreneurship camps, child care and babysitting courses for young women and business development networks and seminars for Mi'kmaw women crafters.

260. Further information may be found in paragraphs 463 and 471 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Affordable childcare

261. Information on childcare initiatives may be found in paragraphs 478-480 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

262. In the Spring of 2006, Nova Scotia announced a plan to create 1,500 new childcare spaces over the next 10 years and is holding consultations about the development of a licensed Family Home Day Care Program in all parts of the province.

Article 12: Health

Access to health care

263. The Healthy Balance research program is outlined in paragraph 500 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The program specifically included Aboriginal women in its design and execution, and is in a position to convey results back to those communities (

264. One outcome of the Diversity and Social Inclusion Initiative three year plan, which is outlined in paragraph 495 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is provincial guidelines for cultural competence among primary health care providers, who are predominantly female.

265. The Health Literacy Awareness Initiative raises awareness among primary health care providers about literacy issues and how to help patients better understand health information.

Specific health issues

266. Posters about the importance of breast cancer screening in English, French and a Mi'kmaw language were distributed in 2005.

267. Since 2001, the Government of Nova Scotia has directed $2.1 million to improve substance abuse and gambling addiction outcomes for rural women and youth in Nova Scotia. Efforts have been made to improve access to a continuum of community-based services for women and youth. From 2001-2002 to 2003-2004, the number of youth participating in treatment programs increased by 51 percent and the number of women participating increased by 70 percent. Overall the number of full time employees of health authorities increased by 12 percent.

268. The 24/7 mental health crisis team at the IWK Children's Health Center was expanded to include a mobile component. It has also partnered with the adult mobile crisis team to reach vulnerable populations, including young women who are not comfortable accessing mental health services in a more formal setting.

269. A new three-year autism program started in June 2005, to assist mothers and fathers to parent their autistic children effectively.

270. Workshops were provided for teams of consultants, teachers and students to improve the involvement of girls in physical education and physical activity. The Girls Soar Program, a municipal program with provincial funding to promote the physical activity of girls, named March 25 to April 1, 2006, Halifax Regional Municipality's Girls Physical Activity Week with many events and activities.

271. A new guide was released called You Can Make A Difference aimed at preventing and responding to abuse and harassment in Sport and Recreation.

272. In 2006, levonorgestrol (Plan B), the “ morning-after pill", was made available without a prescription, enhancing reproductive health.

273. A backgrounder was produced on gender and HIV/AIDS in the Fall of 2003, and since that time, a comprehensive gender-based analysis of the provincial HIV/AIDS strategy was carried out.

274. A campaign to promote screening of HIV in pregnancy is underway, and HIV-AIDS related training for staff working in transition homes is now being offered.

Aboriginal women

275. The resulting report, “ Providing Health Care, Achieving Health" outlines key health concerns and will assist in the development of an Aboriginal Health Policy which will be linked to the 10‑year Plan to Strengthen Health Care (see Introduction to the present report). This policy will focus on strengthening families, supporting early childhood development and promoting health through the schools.

276. The details of the Tui'kn Initiative are provided in paragraph 498 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Article 13: Economic and Social Life

Measures to fight poverty

277. Changes to the income assistance system and increases in rates up to 2005 are outlined in paragraphs 474-475 of Canada's Fifth Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

278. As of October 1, 2006, the personal allowance rates are being increased by $10 per month and the shelter rates are increasing by $15 for single persons and $20 for households per month. The 2006-2007 budget of the Department of Community Services was increased by $32 million to $748 million.

279. According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of females in low income in Nova Scotia has decreased by just under two percent between 2000 and 2004.

280. In order to address the high rates of poverty and low employment of women with disabilities, community workshops with women with disabilities are being held, with the result of recommendations to all orders of government on ways to break down the “ disability wall" for women.

Women's access to housing

281. Under the Government of Canada's Supportive Community Partnerships Initiative (SCPI), in 2005-2006, Nova Scotia spent about $6.5 million to support SCPI funded facilities. Additional information on SCPI may be found in paragraph 488 of Canada's Fifth Report on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

282. As of March 31, 2006, Nova Scotia had committed all funds under the Canada Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Program Agreement ($36.3 million) to create or rehabilitate 928 dwelling units. Additional information may be found in paragraphs 489 and 490 of Canada's Fifth Report on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

283. A new program was established in September 2005 under the Federal Provincial Affordable Housing Agreement called the Lone Student Parent Pilot Program, which provides housing subsidies for undergraduate university students who are parenting children alone.

284. A $10,000 grant for a part time youth worker at Supportive Housing for Young Mothers was arranged through the Youth Secretariat in 2006.

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