NOTE: A list of the members of the working group that led the consultation on the Fair Care Project follows this release.
Nova Scotians now have the option to provide race and language information online, by phone or when they renew their health card (MSI) as part of an initiative to make the healthcare system more equitable and responsive to communities’ health needs.
The Fair Care Project is an effort to collect and interpret race-based data so the government and healthcare system can better understand the healthcare challenges in each community. The goal is delivering better care based on communities’ needs, improving diversity in the healthcare system, and increasing access to interpretation services.
MSI renewal notices will include information about the project. People can choose to provide their race and language when they renew, or at any time before renewal online or by phone.
“We know there are inequities in healthcare, and that needs to change,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “We want to improve, but we need to know where our weaknesses are in order to do that. That’s what this initiative is all about.”
Participation is voluntary, but everyone, regardless of background, is encouraged to provide the information. It will be protected, will not be used to identify individuals, and it will not appear on Nova Scotia health cards.
Racialized groups, including African Nova Scotian health organizations, have long asked the Province to collect race-based data to support evidence-based health decision-making. The initiative is also supported by Réseau Santé, a network of healthcare sector community partners that works to improve access to health services in French for Acadians and francophones in Nova Scotia.
The website where Nova Scotians can provide race and language information is https://novascotia.ca/faircare , or people can call MSI at 902-496-7008 in Halifax or toll-free at 1-800-563-8880.
We know that one in five Canadians is a visible minority and that to ensure a sustainable healthcare system and healthy community, we must make equity and diversity a priority. The Fair Care Project will help us to identify and remove racism and discrimination and address healthcare inequalities to improve care for communities in Nova Scotia.
Azharul Hoque, member, Primary Reference Working Group
Collecting data on racial and language identity will help us identify and address barriers or gaps and provide more equitable health care to Nova Scotians. I want to thank community members and organizations who have helped shape this important project, and we look forward to furthering this work across government as we develop equity and race-based data standards as outlined in the Dismantling Racism and Hate Act.
Pat Dunn, Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives
- the Primary Reference Working Group, whose members are representatives of racialized communities, was created in April 2021 and has helped lead community consultations and provided feedback on the Fair Care Project
- the group will be working to develop a data governance structure, ensuring the use of information coming from this initiative is protected, culturally appropriate for each community, and respects privacy
- more people will be added to the group to reflect the growing diversity of Nova Scotia
Members of the Primary Reference Working Group:
- Azharul Hoque, Bangladesh Community Association of Nova Scotia
- Sharon Davis-Murdoch, Health Association of African Canadians
- Maria José Yax-Fraser, Immigrant Migrant Women’s Association of Halifax
- Dolly Mirpuri, Indian Festivals Club of Nova Scotia
- Atousa Costandi, Iranian Cultural Society of Nova Scotia
- Benedette Anyanwu, United African Canadian Women’s Association