News release

Province Seeks Feedback on Racism, Discrimination in Healthcare

The Province is asking diverse groups to share their experiences in order to improve Nova Scotia’s healthcare system.

The Department of Health and Wellness and health system partners have launched an online survey to collect feedback from communities that might have experienced systemic racism and discrimination in the healthcare system. This includes Indigenous people, African Nova Scotians and people of African descent, racialized groups, 2SLGBTIQA+ people, those with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and historically underrepresented populations.

“We know every Nova Scotian should receive the same quality of healthcare, but we also know they don’t. Systemic racism and discrimination impact the care people receive,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health, on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “We need to hear more about the experiences of people from diverse communities in our health system to make the necessary changes to provide better care.”

The survey can be found at https://www.engage4health.ca/dhw-health-equity-framework and will be open until January 27.

Information from the survey will be used to develop a health equity framework to help improve the system, both for diverse groups who use it and staff.

The Province has begun reaching out to representatives from diverse communities to encourage people to complete the survey.

Quotes:

The health equity framework is a vital piece of work to improve the health experiences and health outcomes of diverse communities and create a healthier, safer and more equitable work experience for team members. Anna Marenick, Vice-President of People, Culture and Belonging, Nova Scotia Health

Our students have not only been patients of the healthcare system, but they are also pursuing a career in that same system. We are keenly aware of the changes that are needed for patients and their families that have experienced a health system with systemic discrimination and racism, but also the challenges of discrimination and racism that health professionals from equity-seeking groups have encountered on the job. Timi Idris, Program Manager, Promoting Leadership in Health for African Nova Scotians (PLANS), Dalhousie University

Racism, discrimination and bias have no place in healthcare or our workplaces. We have a duty to ensure healthcare is accessible, welcoming and inclusive for everyone. We are committed to listening and developing a framework together with our community that will lead to real change. Steve Ashton, Vice-President, People and Organization Development, IWK Health Centre

Quick Facts:

  • the Province is committed to creating a health equity framework as part of Action for Health, the government’s strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia
  • the framework is expected to be complete by July 2023
  • in October, the Province announced the Fair Care Project, which gives Nova Scotians the option to provide race and language information when they renew their health card (MSI) as a means to help make the healthcare system more equitable and responsive to communities’ health needs

Additional Resources:

Action for Health: https://novascotia.ca/actionforhealth/

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