News release

African Nova Scotian Justice Institute Launched

The province is investing $4.8 million in a new community-led justice institute that will support African Nova Scotians in contact with the law and help address overrepresentation and anti-Black racism in the justice system.

“Our justice system must do better for African Nova Scotians. We need real and meaningful change in our criminal justice system,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “The African Nova Scotian Justice Institute will be led by community and driven by African Nova Scotian subject-matter experts whose work will support programs and services that will help address institutional racism.”

The establishment of the institute, one of the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, will be led by the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition. It will provide eight justice-related support, research and outreach programs, including:

  • units dealing with race and cultural assessments & treatment services
  • a data collection and policing accountability unit
  • an African Nova Scotian court support program
  • a community justice legal defence program
  • a bail alternative, incarceration support and reintegration program for African Nova Scotians
  • an alternative justice and victim services program
  • public legal education and youth development program
  • human rights and policing accountability programming

The program funding will allow the institute to be fully staffed and begin offering programs and services within a year.

Quotes:

The establishment of the ANSJI is the culmination of generations of work by African Nova Scotian people and communities. We appreciate that the Nova Scotia government recognizes the institutional and systemic anti-Black racism faced by African Nova Scotians and their families when dealing with human rights, policing and corrections, and the justice system as a whole – and is willing to support African Nova Scotian-led work to address these issues. Michelle Williams, professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, and member of the African Nova Scotian Decade of Persons of African Descent Coalition’s Justice Strategy Working Group

The African Nova Scotian Justice Institute is part of a new path, where community experts will help lead the way as we work to build a more equitable province, together. I commend the members of the African Nova Scotian Decade of Persons of African Descent Coalition for their hard work in making this institute a reality. Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs and the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives

Quick Facts:

  • African Nova Scotians continue to be overrepresented in the province’s criminal justice system, when compared to the general population
  • African Nova Scotians represent about 2.4 per cent of the province’s population, but 10 per cent of admissions to sentenced custody and 11 per cent of admissions to remand in provincial correctional facilities
  • advancing social justice and inclusion, taking steps to eradicate racism and move forward on an African Nova Scotian Justice Plan is a priority of government in Count Us In: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan in Response to the International Decade for People of African Descent
  • there are few examples of justice-related programs and services specifically for African Canadians; the Black Legal Education Centre in Ontario provides free legal advice to low income Black Ontarians, as well as support for police complaints, education, work law, housing law and human rights

Additional Resources:

Count Us In: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan in Response to the International Decade for People of African Descent: https://novascotia.ca/international-decade-for-people-of-african-descent/

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Media Contact:

Heather Fairbairn
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