MEDIA RELEASE: Mass Work Refusal at Truro Courthouse Following Flood

DARTMOUTH – More than 20 Sheriffs and Court Administrative workers are refusing work under the Occupational Health & Safety Act as a result of insufficient remediation following a flood at the Truro Justice Centre on January 11.

“Workers should not be expected to work in an environment that is unsafe,” said NSGEU President Sandra Mullen, “Until this situation is fully rectified, they should be relocated to an office that is free of contaminants and environmental hazards.”

Most of the damage occurred in the Sheriffs’ Office area. Testing was conducted a week later, on January 18th, where significant water damage, mould, fungi and spores were detected, and air quality testing found five times the acceptable amount of mould spores. Remediation occurred this past weekend, but it seems little work was actually done. Subsequent testing continues to show very high readings of mould, fungi, spores and significant water damage.

This week, workers continued to refuse unsafe work, additional testing continued, and further inspections were done by members of the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC). At that point, additional areas of concern were identified in several other locations of the facility (basement, hallways, an office, staff bathroom and HVAC system). Over 14 buckets of stagnant water were found concealed in the ceilings

.Photo of buckets in ceiling containing water.

While many recommendations have been made for remediation, an in-depth, thorough inspection of the building must be completed to first determine where the moisture is coming in.

Meanwhile, the NSGEU’s Occupational Health & Safety Officer is concerned about security at the facility, given the high number of staff who have exercised their right to refuse unsafe work. The employer continues to allow courthouse staff to work in the areas that have been identified as hazardous, and persons in custody are still being transported through this facility, with minimal staff available to manage court, cells, escort and security.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents nearly 37,000 workers who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President Sandra Mullen, please contact:

Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer,

902-471-1781 (cell)

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