Today, March 5, Premier Iain Rankin announced a $3 million compensation fund to accelerate efforts to address the legacy of systemic racism relating to land ownership in historic African Nova Scotian communities.
This fund will be used to resolve cases that involve parties with competing claims and help speed up efforts under the Land Titles Initiative, which was established in 2017, to provide clear title to residents of the communities of East Preston, North Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville who qualify under the initiative.
Two esteemed jurists, The Honourable Corrine Sparks and The Honourable Valerie Miller (retired), have been named as commissioners to adjudicate disputes.
“Today we are moving in the right direction and I am so pleased that we have been able to make this happen,” said Premier Rankin. “We have learned from working with communities over the last few years that we need to remove barriers and do more to ensure the success of the Land Titles Initiative.”
Lawyer and community leader Angela Simmonds has been named as the executive director of the Land Titles Initiative and will lead the work across the various government departments involved.
African Nova Scotians from our historic Black communities are entitled to clear title to the land they live on. Nova Scotia has a long, painful history of systemic anti-Black racism. These changes will improve access to justice and resolve more land titles claims without residents having to go to court, which can be a costly and intimidating process for many people. We must replace legal barriers with solutions to help create a more just and inclusive province.
Tony Ince, Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives and Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs
Hiring an executive director and making this further investment is certainly going to help tremendously. It’s going to speed things up and make a big difference in getting the work done.
Spencer Colley, Community Liaison Committee - East Preston
- the Land Titles Initiative launched in 2017 to help residents in five communities get clear title to land
- under the Land Titles Initiative all legal and surveyor fees are covered at no cost to the applicant
- to date, the Land Titles Initiative has been successful in clearing approximately 194 parcels from more than 527 applications received, and more than 850 eligible parcels
- a community liaison committee comprised of residents from the five Land Titles Initiative communities has been formed to ensure the province receives input from affected citizens and ensure government accountability
To learn more about the Land Titles initiative visit: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/landtitles