News Release Archive

Human Resources Minister Allister Surette has signed an
affirmative action agreement with the Nova Scotia Human Rights
Commission reflecting the province's strengthened commitment to
creating a diverse workforce.

"This agreement is another step toward ensuring the civil service
reflects the diversity of Nova Scotia's population," said Mr.
Surette. "We know that other employers already look to government
as a leader in this field, and we believe that today's agreement
strengthens that position."

"It is important for every Nova Scotian to have an equal
opportunity at employment regardless of race, disability or
gender," said Alan Mitchell, Minister responsible for the Human
Rights Act. "I am very pleased to see the province take even
greater steps toward accomplishing this goal."

The agreement, signed Wednesday, Aug. 20, reflects the
government's commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for
aboriginal people, black persons and other racially visible
persons, persons with disabilities and women in positions where
they are currently under-represented. It is based on the
government's updated policy that requires every department to
develop action plans to support an affirmative action program. 

Mr. Surette thanked the members of a joint management-labour
committee, including representatives of the Nova Scotia
Government Employees Union, staff of the Department of Human
Resources and other management staff, for their work in
developing the policy.

A review of existing employment systems will identify and lead to
the removal of barriers to employment and promotion for members
of these groups. As well, communications and education
initiatives will ensure all levels of the civil service
understand the policy.

Wayne MacKay, executive director of the human rights commission,
said more organizations are beginning to recognize the importance
of having their own affirmative action plan. 

"In the past, many agreements were the result of board of inquiry
orders," said Mr. MacKay. "Recently, though, more organizations
are voluntarily developing and signing affirmative action plans
and agreements, showing a commitment to equality and diversity
and a recognition that a diverse workforce is good business."

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission will review the
government agreement with the Department of Human Resources every
five years to ensure it is meeting its objectives.


Contact: Norma MacIsaac
         Department of Human Resources

         Wayne MacKay
         Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

ngr                August 21, 1997 - 10:00 am