Information about Bill 148 and what it means to you.

Information about Bill 148 and what it means to you:

We have launched our challenge to Bill 148 on behalf of our Civil Service members

On August 22, Stephen McNeil brought into effect Bill 148 – Public Services Sustainability (2015) Act. This Bill does two things:

  1. Imposes a non negotiated wage settlement
  • Restricts collective bargaining on wages and salaries by imposing maximum increases.Freezing wage rates for a two year period from the expiry of the current collective agreement
  • Restrains increases in wage rates for the remaining two years following the freeze at 1% in the third year, and 1.5% in the fourth year, with an additional 0.5% on the last day of the fourth year
  • Imposes a four year term on renewal of expired collective agreements except the collective agreements of municipalities and universities
  • Prohibits interest arbitrators from awarding rates of pay inconsistent with the four year restraint scheme
  1. Uses Legislation to unilaterally remove longstanding articles from collective agreements.
  • There will be no further accrual of retirement allowances after  April 1, 2015and ends the benefit altogether for new hires after April 1, 2015.
  • It prohibits the crediting of any service after April 1, 2015 in calculating the payment of a payment on resignation or retirement which is based on service
  • It requires the amount of the payment based on service before April 1, 2015 to be paid at the wage rates in effect immediately before April 1, 2015
  • No employee hired on or after April 1, 2015 will be eligible for a payment on resignation or retirement based on service
  • Unions may not negotiate any new service award on retirement or resignation which is inconsistent with Bill 148

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the government of British Columbia acted unconstitutionally when it stripped away previously negotiated sections of the BC Teacher’s Agreement. What the McNeil government is trying to do here with Bill 148 is the same thing.

On August 30,  NSGEU, through its legal counsel, served Notice of Intended Action in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in which we claim that Bill 148 contravenes s. 2(d) (Freedom of Association) of the Charter of Rights in regards to Civil Service bargaining. Attached are the NSGEU’s documents, prepared and filed by Pink Larkin.

You can view the filing here.

On Wed. Sept. 6, the NSGEU along with seven other unions led by the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL) announced at a press conference that we were seeking party status in the review of Bill 148 by the Court of Appeal. Click here for press release

The Premier and his Minister said numerous time, they had sent Bill 148 to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal for a legal opinion on its constitutionality.  An opinion they said with confidence would come back in their favour.

However, less than 48 hours later we found out this is not the whole truth. The McNeil Government only sent sections 7 through 19 of the Bill to the court. They did not submit the section that strips us of our retirement allowances. We do not think this Bill is constitutional and we are asking members to contact your local MLA and encourage them to pressure McNeil to submit the entire Bill 148 to the court for review.

We asked you to help and write letters to your MLAs to press McNeil to bring the entire Bill for review. We also launched an ad campaign in all the major and community papers. Unions from across the province joined together for a rally at the opening of the legislature on September 21 to demand this as well as the full repeal of the Bill.

On October 4, government announced they were amending their judicial review of Bill 148 to include the articles that strips working people of benefits they earned in previous collective agreements. You told the government and it seems, they had to listen.

We will be adding information here. Check back for the latest about what we are doing to challenge this Bill.

Links to Media:

NSGEU Press releases:





Messages from NSGEU President Jason MacLean to members:



Jason MacLean Interviewed on CTV by Steve Murphy about Local 148 –

MacLean vs McNeil – Halifax Examiner –

Union turns up heat over lost retirement bonus for Nova Scotia’s public sector – Canadian Press –

Union cries foul over limited constitutional review of wage package deal – CBC –

NS Liberals leave out contentious portion of Bill 148 in request for constitutional review – Global News –

NS Premier under fire for MLA’s transition allowances – CTV News –

Unions condemn Grits for proclaiming bill imposing wage package – CBC –

Unions request party status at review of Bill 148 at Court of Appeal – CBC –


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