McNeil Government to Blame for Shortage of Deputy Sheriffs in Courts

NSGEU President Jason MacLean says that Judge Hoskins called out the wrong person when he threatened to put an acting supervisor in contempt.

“The lack of Deputy Sheriffs in courtrooms is the responsibility of Stephen McNeil and any blame should be placed squarely on his shoulders and those of his government,” says Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU). “It’s Premier McNeil and Justice Minister Mark Furey who should be held in contempt, not the individual who is doing the best they can with the insufficient resources they have been given.”

Adequate staffing of Deputy Sheriffs has been an issue that the union has been raising for years – one that the government has failed to address. Proper staffing of Deputy Sheriffs is necessary to protect people in the courtroom, like Judge Hoskins, where issues and violence can and do arise.

“The Barrington Report, a staffing analysis, was completed last fall but the McNeil Government refused to release the details. Eventually obtained through FOIPOP, the report included numerous staffing recommendations,” says MacLean. “Nothing has been done to implement them.”

“The number of Deputy Sheriffs continue to decline in courtrooms across the province. Government’s assertion that they’ve hired 23 casual Deputy Sheriffs does not address the real gaps that are having a negative impact on our justice system. Especially when you consider the Barrington Report recommended hiring 67 full time frontline staff.”

The NSGEU is glad to see that Judges are speaking up. However, blaming Deputy Sheriffs is not the answer. Nova Scotians concerned about what is happening in our courtrooms need to look to those who are starving the Courtrooms of the staff they need to keep them running properly and keep them safe.

The safety of Deputy Sheriffs and the safety of all those in the courtroom must be the priority for the Minister of Justice, the Premier and this Government.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information, please contact:

Deedee Slye, Communications Officer


Lucas Wide, Communications Officer


NSGEU Communications Office

902-424-4063 (office) 877-556.7438 (toll free)

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