N.S. joins provinces, territories in national plan to prevent domestic violence

Karla MacFarlane is Nova Scotia's Community Services minister. (CBC - image credit)
Karla MacFarlane is Nova Scotia's Community Services minister. (CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia joined the federal government and the other provinces and territories to sign onto the first national plan to address gender-based violence.

During a press conference on Wednesday in New Glasgow, N.S., Karla MacFarlane, the minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the status of women, said the country-wide endorsement of the plan was a vital step toward preventing domestic violence

"Everyone, no matter their gender, race, economic background or ability, has the right to live free from violence," MacFarlane said. "A single province or territory cannot do this important work alone."

Marci Ien, federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, was also in attendance and said this final endorsement of the plan will be followed by a negotiation period with each jurisdiction in the country about their specific needs when it comes to implementation.

"We understand that in various provinces and territories, different aspects of gender-based violence is centred in different ways and we're allowing provinces and territories to do just that when they come to the negotiation table," Ien said.

Funding for the plan was outlined in this year's federal budget, with a proposed investment of nearly $540 million over five years, starting in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, to put the plan in place across the country's provinces and territories.

Ien added that there's a minimum amount of funding allocated for each jurisdiction: at least $4 million for territories and at least $2 million for provinces.

MacFarlane also noted the national action plan aligns with work being done by Stand Together, Nova Scotia's own plan to "disrupt harmful cycles of domestic violence."

A report on the implementation guide for the plan released in April last year listed out several recommendations, including focusing on the right to housing and opening up access to childcare, healthcare and affordable public transit. As well, the report highlighted specific approaches in relation to different Indigenous communities.