Diversity, Social Inclusion and Cultural Competence

Diversity, Social Inclusion and Cultural Competence

Diversity and inclusion are essential to the health of Nova Scotians and the health system. This involves diversity in who is represented and included at all levels of the health workforce and the development of cultural competence (the attitudes, knowledge, skills, behaviours and policies) required to meet the needs of Nova Scotians.

The diversity of Nova Scotians includes such factors as age, sex, income, race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, (dis)ability, spirituality, geography, literacy, education and all other aspects of difference.

Cultural competence can help reduce disparities and inequities. It can help the system detect ill health and improve access for those who are marginalized and experience poor health due to the combined impact of the social determinants of health.

A culturally competent health system provides services that respond to historical inequities, lived realities, diverse values, beliefs and behaviours. It tailors approaches to meet the different needs of Nova Scotia’s diverse populations.     

Other Information

Health Equity Forum

Fifth Annual Health Equity Forum, March 2015
The World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Equity Standards and the Canadian Health System

Fourth Annual Health Equity Forum, March 2014
Promising practices in community collaboration

Third Annual Health Equity Forum, March 2013
Promising practice in diversity, health equity and cultural competence

Second Annual Health Equity Forum, March 2012
Domestic Violence Action Plan

First Annual Health Equity Forum, March 2011
Impact of health inequities on the mental health of two key populations: immigrants, refugees and Pride Community


Resources and tools that support diversity, social inclusion and cultural competence include:

Nova Scotia Government Agencies

Provincial Program Clinical Guidelines

The Provincial Programs Guideline Committee undertook a project initiated by the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia and supported by the Special Advisor to the Associate Deputy Minister on Diversity and Social Inclusion; to develop a tool to ensure guidelines developed by provincial programs reflect cultural competency. The Cultural Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Guidelines Development will be used in future guideline development/revision.

Also included is a reporting form where observations and recommendations can be made explicit and shared among Provincial Program team members.

For background on the Provincial Programs Guideline Committee go to Health Guidelines website.