New campaign aims to tackle consumer racial profiling in Nova Scotia

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New campaign aims to tackle consumer racial profiling in Nova Scotia
A new online campaign is hoping to tackle consumer racial profiling in Nova Scotia. Global's Natasha Pace reports – Mar 27, 2017

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is hoping a new online tool, called Serving All Customers Better, can help businesses across the province address and prevent consumer racial profiling.

READ: Protesters allege racial profiling at Sobeys amidst human rights decision appeal

“This new free training, the first of its kind in Canada, is a definite win-win for businesses and their customers by helping promote inclusive and welcoming environments,” said Christine Hanson, CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission in a news release.

According to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, consumer racial profiling is a serious issue in the province. Hanson said visible minority customers are significantly more likely to be followed, searched and ignored than non-minority customers.

Serving All Customers Better uses real life examples of what people have told the commission they’ve experienced. Although it’s not mandatory, the goal is to make human rights training more readily available.

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“We’re embracing new technology and new technology is going to allow us to provide human rights training to every corner of this province and to do it for free,” said Hanson.

Rev. Lennett Anderson has been outspoken about the issue of consumer racial profiling and its impact.

“Race is not a card we play. It’s a life we live,” Anderson said.

“Racism devalues individuals. It breathes fear and suspicion. It divides community and has lasting negative effects.”

First province to offer this type of training

Sobeys recently made headlines after a staff member at the Tantallon, N.S. store accused Andrella David of shoplifting. A human rights tribunal ruled David – who is black – was the victim of racial profiling.

READ MORE: Sobeys to apologize, compensate Andrella David in racial profiling case

Nova Scotia is now the first province in the country to offer this type of training.

“Our aim is to have a province where this doesn’t happen, where we don’t have racial profiling, where we don’t have these kind of incidents occurring that are wrong and yet people sometimes don’t have the knowledge and experience to probably stop them,” said Justice Minister Diana Whalen.

WATCH BELOW: Nova Scotia’s strategy to stop racial discrimination in stores is earning mixed reviews. Some call a new training course a big step in the right direction. But as Ross Lord reports, others say it doesn’t go far enough. 

Click to play video: 'Ending racial profiling in retail'
Ending racial profiling in retail

Although Serving All Customers Better was only officially launched Monday, there is already interest from businesses across Nova Scotia, including Sobeys.

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“We have in Nova Scotia about 10,000 employees at retail and we will be using these materials to touch every one of our employees in one way or another,” said Cynthia Thompson, director of communications for Sobeys. “All of our managers, all of our department managers, all new employees will receive the training almost immediately.”

Anderson said the training is a step in the right direction.

“Today, we join forces to strongly condemn any form of racial discrimination. Together, we raise our voice to celebrate the progress,” he said. “We are grateful to a business community that is committed to promoting inclusiveness, acceptance and equality.”

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