Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission

Know your Human Rights

The human rights of Nova Scotians are protected in many ways. First, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act is a law that makes it illegal to discriminate in this province. But this law doesn’t apply in all cases. 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, the Canadian Human Rights Act offers that protection.

This website is about the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act and its protections.  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.

The English version of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act can be found here, et la version française ici.

You'll find a downloadable version of our new Human Rights Education brochure here.

And here's a new brochure for youth, "Understanding your Human Rights," with a focus on bullying.


In Nova Scotia, what rights are protected?

  • 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
  • Gender Identity/Gender Expression

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

It is against the law, under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, for others to discriminate against you or treat you unfairly in the above characteristics, in combination with the following areas:

  • Employment
  • Housing or accommodation
  • Services and facilities (such as stores, restaurants or provincially funded programs)
  • Purchase or sale of property
  • Volunteer public service
  • Publication, broadcasting or advertisement
  • Membership in a professional, business or trade association, or employers' or employees' organization