News Release Archive

On March 14, 1997, a board of inquiry appointed under the Human
Rights Act handed down its decision in the case Rita Hill versus
Manford Misener. The board of inquiry decision is the first in
Nova Scotia to specifically address an instance where an
individual is victimized not because they are a member of a group
protected under the act but because of their association with a
protected group. The board found that Mr. Misener discriminated
against Ms. Hill because of her association with African Nova

Ms. Hill, of Dartmouth, is white. Her ex-husband is an African
Nova Scotian, and their two children are biracial. The board of
inquiry decision said that Mr. Misener, also of Dartmouth,
discriminated against Ms. Hill by denying her the opportunity to
rent an apartment because of her association with individuals of
another race.

"This decision demonstrates what African Nova Scotians and other
visible minorities have always known, that blatant as well as
subtle racism still exists in Nova Scotia. However, it also shows
that human rights laws can be effective in remedying, and
hopefully preventing, this racism," said Wayne
MacKay, executive director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights

"As we approach March 21, the International Day for the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we must continue, and renew
our struggle against racism and all discrimination."

Ms. Hill lodged a complaint under the Human Rights Act in
September 1995, alleging that she was discriminated against
because of her association with her children and her ex-husband.
She said that when she tried to rent an apartment from Mr.
Misener he asked her if she associated with "coloured people" and
told her that he did not want black people visiting or staying in
the apartment building. She said that Mr. Misener told her that
if she had an association with black people she could not rent
the apartment.

Ms. Hill's complaint could not be resolved following an
investigation. The matter was referred to a board of inquiry
chaired by Dawna J. Ring.

Ms. Ring heard the complaint on Aug. 22 and 23, 1996. Mr. Misener
denied that he had discriminated against Ms. Hill. He said that
he had no knowledge of Ms. Hill's association with African Nova
Scotians and that he did not make the comments Ms. Hill alleged.
On March 14, 1997, the board of inquiry found that Ms. Hill's
testimony was more credible than Mr. Misener's. Ms. Ring found
that whether or not Mr. Misener knew that Ms. Hill had biracial
children, his remarks clearly showed discrimination and made it
impossible for Ms. Hill to rent the apartment.

As a remedy, Ms. Ring ordered that Mr. Misener pay general
damages of $4,000 to Ms. Hill to compensate her for loss of the
apartment, mental anguish, hurt feelings and the insult to her
and her children. Ms. Ring further ordered that Mr. Misener pay
$1,900 in damages to compensate Ms. Hill for the additional costs
in renting her present accommodations. Ms. Ring also ordered that
Mr. Misener provide Ms. Hill with a written apology. If Mr.
Misener fails to provide the apology, Ms. Hill will be awarded an
additional $1,000 in damages.


Contact: Wayne MacKay     902-424-4111 or 902-477-5864

         Francine Comeau  902-424-4111

trp                    Mar. 19, 1997 - 12:25 p.m.