Who We Are
The desire to create a ministerial portfolio and this Office is the result of two specific developments. The first was government's response to a document entitled Final Report on Consultations with the African Nova Scotian Community 2001, by Dr. Wanda Thomas-Bernard and Dr. Fred Wein. The second was to acknowledge the long-standing reality that the pressing needs and issues of importance to African Nova Scotians have not been fully addressed or resolved.
According to the 2001 Statistic Canada Survey, there are 19,670 African Nova Scotians in the province. Of this number, 90 per cent are younger than age 64 and more than 25 per cent are 14 years or younger. However, it is unclear if the census data reflects our definition of "African Nova Scotian," which includes all individuals from first migrants to this province (Matthew Da Costa circa 1604) to recent newcomers from the African Diaspora.
There are said to be more than 48 African Nova Scotian communities in Nova Scotia. The diversity in these communities can be found in many aspects (e.g., urban, rural, community population, access to resources). Over the last four decades the population base of these communities has suffered from out-migration to larger communities, to metro Halifax, or to locations outside Nova Scotia. There is also a higher unemployment rate for African Nova Scotians when compared to the general population figures.
Previous documents dating back to the early African Nova Scotian settlers identified numerous concerns raised by African Nova Scotians to government. Past and present issues such as housing, employment, education, community development, and access to resources have not been adequately addressed for Nova Scotians of African descent. It is against this backdrop that the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs was developed.
The creation of the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs (OANSA) demonstrates government's commitment to the well-being of African Nova Scotians. This commitment will be met through the establishment of culturally competent services and initiatives that effectively meet the unique needs of African Nova Scotian communities.
The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs will act as a broker to other government agencies and to the community. The office will also serve as an advocate for cross-cultural understanding and a conduit to assist Nova Scotians of African descent in reaching their full potential.
The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs will build on government and community successes to promote and facilitate positive change on behalf of Nova Scotians of African descent. Equally important will be effective communication with its community and government partners. The Office will need to work together with departments, agencies, divisions, and organizations to develop mutual strategies, goals, and practical solutions.
In addition to reviewing and providing input on proposed legislation and regulations, the Office will:
- strengthen the delivery of services to African Nova Scotians;
- provide information sessions and updates for all government departments, agencies, boards, and commissions regarding the Office structure, mandate, vision, partnerships, etc.;
- participate in community information activities and workshops.
Assist, support, and enhance the provincial government's delivery of services to African Nova Scotians and be a partner in developing innovative solutions that lead to self reliance and sustainable development for African Nova Scotians and their communities.
- To create and promote an integrated approach within government on matters related to the African Nova Scotian communities in the province.
- To represent the interests of the province in intergovernmental initiatives and negotiations on matters integral to the interests of African Nova Scotians.
- To provide research analysis and policy advice on African Nova Scotian issues.
- To develop communication strategies and public education to increase understanding within the province of African Nova Scotian culture, heritage, and community issues.
What We Do
In brief, the Office will...
- Assist and support community initiatives, issues etc., in matters relating to government
- Advocate for improved services, programs, etc.
- Facilitate and / or create dialogue between government and community
- Be an agent for change
We are not...
- An employment office
- A financial / loan Institution
- A legal clinic
|Head Office (9)||Cape Breton (3)|
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
|Senior Policy Analyst||Community Development Officer|
|Communications Advisor||Program Administration Officer|
|Program Administration Officer (Metro)|
|Program Administration Officer (Regional)|
- Satellite offices will need to be established to ensure provincial coverage for the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs and to establish visibility.
- Future staffing plan includes additional satellite offices to be established in other regions over the next four to five years. Each will be staffed with community development and program administration officers and a secretary.