Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Announces $2.7M to Help Black Residents Get Titles to Their Land

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Announces $2.7M to Help Black Residents Get Titles to Their Land

Article excerpt

N.S. announces $2.7M to help blacks get land titles

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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's Liberal government is committed to doing the right thing to help African Nova Scotians gain clear title to land that has been in their families for many generations, a cabinet minister promised Wednesday.

"African Nova Scotians have suffered, more than anyone else in Nova Scotia, great indignities and injustices with respect to land," Tony Ince, the Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, told a gathering at a church in Cherry Brook, near Halifax.

Ince announced residents of five predominantly black communities will get $2.7 million over two years to help clarify their land ownership.

Ince said the province is taking action to address disparities and "systemic discrimination" that blacks have faced.

"As an African Nova Scotian I understand what land means to our people. I can only imagine the frustrations you have felt and as minister ... I can assure you that my government is committed to doing the right thing for you."

Land was provided to black and white Loyalists by the Nova Scotia government in the 1800s, but land titles weren't given to black settlers, creating longstanding confusion and in many cases the inability for owners to pass property on to relatives.

The communities to get initial help include North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook in the Halifax area, and Lincolnville and Sunnyville in Guysborough County. In all, 13 communities will eventually see government assistance, officials said.

The initiative includes funding to assist with legal fees and other costs, and to hire two community liaison officers to assist residents through the process. A land surveyor and two survey technicians will also be hired to complete surveys and to compile support plans.

The government says it will also consider amending legislation to reduce barriers to land ownership.

The Land Titles Clarification Act was introduced in 1963 to help people of African descent get title to land given to their families long ago, but this week a panel of United Nations experts said the province had failed to properly implement it.

The UN panel, which looked at anti-black racism in Canada, heard from residents that the funding had dried up over time for a program that had become expensive, unjust and discriminatory. …

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