Clarification re: Status of Bill 148 Legal Challenge

Last week, we circulated the various political parties’ responses to our Political Action Committee’s questionnaire. The Liberal response contained a response that is actually factually incorrect. In response to Question #2: “Bill 148, the “Public Services Sustainability (2015) Act” Imposed a non negotiated wage settlement and used legislation to unilaterally remove longstanding articles from collective agreements. The history of Bill 148 will cast a long shadow over public sector bargaining for years to come. If elected Premier, will you repeal Bill 148? Will you accept the findings of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal?”

They responded:

“The Supreme Court of Canada is the final court of appeal and has the ultimate authority. Bill 148 was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.”

This is wrong.

As we explained in an email sent to members in late July, the Supreme Court of Canada simply chose not to hear our appeal of a lower court decision which had denied the unions the ability to bring evidence in the constitutional reference case regarding Bill 148. To be clear, the Supreme Court of Canada decision has nothing to do with the validity or constitutionality of Bill 148. The decision is solely in reference to the Unions’ request to file evidence such as affidavits from the union negotiators about the impact of Bill 148 on collective bargaining, expert evidence on the effect that taking wages and important monetary benefits off the table has on a union’s bargaining power, expert evidence on the protection of collective bargaining in international law, expert evidence on the Province’s finances during the relevant time, and the Cabinet documents that show that the Province had a legislative plan in place before bargaining began.

The legal challenge regarding the constitutionality of Bill 148 is still ongoing, and was NOT upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

We felt it was very important that members were aware of this fact, and that this misinformation was corrected.

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