Human Rights

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Act applies to private businesses as well as to the provincial government, and all of its departments and agencies.

However, when Nova Scotians do business with the Government of Canada, or with a business regulated by the federal government, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act does not apply. Instead, there is a Canadian law called the Canadian Human Rights Act applies.

This Nova Scotia Human Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination under the following characteristics:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Religion
  • Creed
  • Ethnic, national or aboriginal origin
  • Sex (including pregnancy)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status
  • Source of income
  • Irrational fear of contracting an illness or disease
  • Association with protected groups or individuals
  • Political belief, affiliation or activity

The Act also prohibits harassment based on any of these characteristics, and prohibits sexual harassment in all areas of public life.

The Act prohibits discrimination in a number of areas, including employment. For example, in refusing to hire, continue to employ or promote a person, in the posting of job advertisements, or the criteria used for hiring. It also prohibits harassment of individuals based on one of the thirteen prohibited groups.

The Act also:

  • protects equal pay for the same or similar work performed by males and females,
  • prohibits individuals who are in a position to grant or deny a benefit or advancement to another from engaging in unwelcome sexual solicitation with the person who is seeking or receiving the benefit, and
  • protects individuals who have made complaints under the Act or who have assisted with the complaint process from retaliation.

Click here for more information about the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.

For information about the federal Canadian Human Rights Act, visit the Canadian Human Rights Commission at If you are not sure which law applies, call us at 1-877-269-7699. In the Halifax area, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission can be reached at 424-4111.