News release

Work Begins on Environmental Racism Panel

The Province has taken its first steps to set up the panel tasked with making recommendations to address environmental racism, which is one of government’s commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion in the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act.

Agassou (Augy) Jones has been appointed as the first panel member. His first duties are to make recommendations on the panel’s work, through the development of draft terms of reference, and to recommend other panel members.

“All Nova Scotians are entitled to protection from environmental harm and to benefit from the work we are doing together to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and communities,” said Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “A sustainable environment benefits our well-being, economy and health. Therefore, we purposely built an equity principle into the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act which is the roadmap for driving Nova Scotia towards a healthy, clean and sustainable future. Only by applying an equity lens to all of the Act’s goals and work will we ensure our work benefits all Nova Scotians and helps to create a future free of inequity and environmental racism.”

Mr. Jones is the principal of the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus. The son of civil-rights activists Rocky and Joan Jones, he has held leadership roles in the provincial Department of Education and Early Childhood Education and at St. Francis Xavier University.

Mr. Jones will provide his recommendations to the Province by the end of February. The panel will make its recommendations by December 31, 2023.


I am honoured and excited to lead the creation of this provincial panel to address environmental racism. My expertise is in authentic community engagement and leading organizational teams. I look forward to a collaborative process that is both inclusive and impactful. Augy Jones, inaugural member of the panel to address environmental racism

The harms of environmental racism have affected too many communities in Nova Scotia, especially African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw communities. This panel is one step to address these wrongs and build a more just future, and I’m so pleased that Augy Jones will help develop the foundation to make the panel a success. Pat Dunn, Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives

Quick Facts:

  • Section 17 of the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act requires the government to set up a panel to address environmental racism by December 31, 2022, with the panel’s recommendations due by the end of 2023
  • the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act includes an equity principle which requires work done under the act to recognize people’s differences and use fairness and justice to address unequal opportunities
  • the act also includes the principle of Netukulimk, defined by the Mi’kmaq as using our natural bounty for the self-support and well-being of the individual and the community by achieving adequate standards of community nutrition and economic well-being without jeopardizing the integrity, diversity or productivity of the environment