In early 2021 the Arts Nova Scotia Board and the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council hosted 10 virtual sessions, individual one-on-one consultations, and an email survey, and heard from more than 200 stakeholders about their concerns, recommendations, and visions for our sector as the province begins to plan its post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.The report below provides valuable insights into what they heard directly from stakeholders with the hope that it will be used as a roadmap for revitalizing and revisioning the future of the culture sector.
Conflict of Interest
Arts Nova Scotia recognizes the importance of addressing issues of conflict of interest, both real and perceived, that may arise in all aspects of the agency’s operations at the level of the board, staff, and through the peer assessment processes.
The board and staff of Arts Nova Scotia adhere to the Nova Scotia Government Conflict of Interest Policy.
Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Peer Assessors
Conflict of interest occurs when a member of a peer assessment committee reviews a grant application from an employer, a client, or an organization where they are a board member; where they have a direct financial interest in the success or failure of an application or nomination; where the applicant or nominee is their spouse/partner, or immediate family member. Conflict of interest may exist whether or not an individual has received personal or material gain. It includes both actual and perceived conflicts.
If a peer assessor is associated with an application in any way as described above he/she shall disclose his/her interest, refrain from attempting to influence the decision, and not participate in the discussion or scoring.
All efforts are made to avoid assessors who may have a conflict of interest in the selection process. All assessors are required to declare a conflict of interest at the beginning of any peer assessment committee meeting.
Arts Nova Scotia staff and assessors adhere to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act . Assessors are asked to consider who is telling whose story and who is developing and sharing cultural expressions and knowledge from any community, particularly historically underrepresented and racialized groups or individuals. Assessors may consider the impact of the artistic work in the context of historic or continuing barriers faced by the applicant and the communities engaged by or reflected in the work, when accessing opportunities for producing and participating in the arts.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
In accordance with the Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Arts Nova Scotia operates with a policy of accountability, openness and transparency while ensuring the protection of personal privacy.
The names of peer jurors are kept confidential for three months after each program deadline. Arts Nova Scotia makes public the names of all peer jurors once a year in its annual report.
For more information about the Freedom of Information process please visit:
Indigenous Arts Protocols
In 2016, Canada formally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration affirms that Indigenous cultural knowledge is the intellectual property of Indigenous peoples, and its use is controlled by Indigenous peoples. When considering applications from Indigenous peoples and/or incorporating Indigenous cultural knowledge, assessors are asked to consider whether appropriate protocols regarding that material and its use are being observed as part of the proposed project. Since each community will have different approaches to protocols and use of materials, assessors should look for evidence that the applicant has meaningfully engaged with appropriate elders, community leaders or knowledge keepers.
Nationally and internationally, peer review is a well-established standard for assessing achievement and merit in the creative and scientific worlds. It is a decision making process used in medical and scientific research, in law, and in education.
Arts Nova Scotia, like all other arts councils in Canada, uses peer review in the assessment of applications it receives in all its granting programs. The peer assessment committee members are selected from a list of qualified artists or arts organizations provided through community consultation. These lists are reviewed annually to ensure broad community representation. Committee composition is sensitive to regional, gender, equity and cultural differences. A different peer assessment committee is appointed for each competition.
Peer assessors are subject to conflict of interest and confidentiality policies. The names of peer assessors are kept confidential until three months after a given grant deadline.
A professional artist is an artist who has received compensation from artistic activity that may reasonably be considered to be income and who meets at least four of the following criteria:
(a) the artist has received public or peer recognition
(b) the artist's artistic activity has been presented to the public by means of exhibitions, publications, performances, readings, screenings or other means;
(c) the artist promotes or markets the artist's artistic work
(d) the artist has received training or acquired knowledge related to the artist's artistic activity
(e) the artist holds copyright in his or her artistic work and has received royalty or residual payments based on that copyright;
(f) the artist has a business licence issued by the municipality in which the artist is carrying on business related to the artist's artistic activity;
(g) the artist has membership in an artists association.
The extended definition is listed in the Status of the Artist Legislation as recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia. We encourage all artists to review the legislation.
Arts Nova Scotia believes there is no place for harassment, sexual misconduct or abuse of power in any workplace. All successful grant recipients must sign an agreement that sets out general terms and conditions of the grant. This agreement includes a declaration section that confirms that the grant recipient will abide by all applicable municipal and provincial legislation, including but not limited to that relating to employment standards, occupational health and safety, and human rights. The declaration also includes a commitment to provide safe working conditions and to foster a workplace free from discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the grant may lead to a review and reversal of a grant decision.
Organizations that receive Operating Assistance may be placed on Concerned Status where there are concerns about their organizational health. These concerns may include a failure to provide a working environment free from discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct.
Reviewing and Reversing Grant Decisions
Funding decisions of Arts Nova Scotia are final. Decisions cannot be appealed unless evidence suggests that significant procedural flaw occurred during the assessment process. Arts Nova Scotia retains the right to cancel any grant previously awarded. Arts Nova Scotia may initiate a process to review and potentially reverse a grant decision where there are serious concerns about the recipient or the funded activities. Examples of serious concerns include failure to meet the terms and conditions of the grant, failure to comply with legal obligations, and misrepresentation and risk of insolvency.