MEDIA RELEASE: Government Regulation on Nursing Unit Unconstitutional

Government has passed a regulation that is unconstitutional and gives a minority union the right to represent the nursing bargaining unit at the newly established Provincial Health Authority.

The government has done this just two weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that freedom of association under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of workers to decide which union they want to represent them.

“Yet again, this government is showing they are prepared to trample on workers’ rights to achieve their own political goals,” says NSGEU President Joan Jessome.

Arbitrator James Dorsey’s decision clearly requires a “double majority” in each of the four bargaining units (Nursing, Health Care, Support Services and Clerical). This means that if any union wanted to represent a bargaining unit, they had to represent a majority of the members under each of the new employers: the new Provincial Health Authority and the IWK.

None of the four unions hold this “double majority” in the Nursing unit.

So, government has changed the rules on the fly, by writing a regulation which only applies within the Nursing bargaining unit, stating that now, only a “simple majority” is required by any one union across both employers.

“Shockingly, this regulation goes so far as to expressly tell arbitrator James Dorsey to select a union that does not represent a majority of workers at the Provincial Health Authority,” says Jessome.

It is important to note that there is nothing within this regulation, or within the Act itself, which prevents the unions from working cooperatively to create an amalgamated nursing union, as outlined by Mr. Dorsey’s decision.

The NSGEU plans to work with the other three unions with the goal of forming amalgamated bargaining unions, as outlined in Mr. Dorsey’s report. We look forward to returning to the arbitration process with Mr. Dorsey and the other unions on Monday.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotian’s count on every day.
For more information, please contact:
Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer
424.4063 (office)
471.1781 (cell)

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