Media release: Social workers share policy goals with the new government of Nova Scotia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2021

NSCSW policy goals for the new legislature of Nova Scotia

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX, NS) – As the new sitting of the legislature opens, the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers (NSCSW) has addressed a new open letter to the Premier, his government and all members of the Legislative Assembly, to share the policy goals held by social workers in the province. The open letter provides Nova Scotia’s elected officials with a long list of challenges that the new government must tackle including the housing crisis, climate crisis, health care crisis, substance use and mental health crisis and crisis in the provision of child welfare. 

Alec Stratford, executive director and registrar of NSCSW, states, “the challenges arose from prior governments’ lack of resolve to tackle growing income inequality in Nova Scotia, thus that is where this new government can find its solutions.” The open letter cites data on the growth of income inequality, and on its adverse effects on health care, mental health, and provision of child welfare. 

“Rising inequality and the continued class divide between the rich and the poor has allowed the voices of the most vulnerable, particularly those of our racialized communities and children and youth, to go unnoticed, has eroded trust, and has increased anxiety and illness for all,” says Stratford. “This lack of trust appears to be growing, which corrodes the social solidarity required to tackle these large issues. It pits Nova Scotians against one another, fighting for resources perceived to be scarce, rather than working together in solidarity towards the common good.”

Lynn Brogan, president of NSCSW, agrees: “All members of the legislative assembly must work together to address income inequality growth, which is entrenching inequity. We know social determinants of health such as income, food security, housing, and social protection significantly affect both physical and mental health.” She continues, “I believe the Houston government is sincere in its desire to improve health care, so I call on them to ensure their focus extends beyond the health sector, and to make significant investments in non-medical factors that influence our health outcomes. Such investments in the basic needs and social care of our people are foundational to creating real change.” 

Both Brogan and Stratford also stress the need to transform child welfare services, and create an independent Office of the Child and Youth Advocate. 

The open letter offers robust common-sense solutions that support the governments agenda for better health care. The policy solutions promoted by NSCSW are rooted in the social determinants of health, and long-overdue investments in social care. 

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About us:

The Nova Scotia College of Social Workers serves and protects Nova Scotians by effectively regulating the profession of social work. We work in solidarity with Nova Scotians to advocate for policies that improve social conditions, challenge injustice and value diversity.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Rebecca Faria, communication coordinator for NSCSW (902-429-7799 ext. 227, rebecca.faria@nscsw.org).

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