MEDIA RELEASE: Statement on Mediator/Arbitrator Dorsey’s Ruling

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Statement on Mediator/Arbitrator Dorsey’s Ruling

Arbitrator James Dorsey ruled today that he will hear arguments asking him to interpret Bill 1 (The Health Authorities Act) in a manner that respects the constitutional rights of health care workers in Nova Scotia.

However, Mr. Dorsey also ruled that the specific remedies sought in NSGEU’s application challenging the constitutionality of the legislation were beyond his jurisdiction.

NSGEU’s application had included several potential remedies to address the constitutional breaches within Bill 1: one was to strike out the unconstitutional portions of Bill 1 altogether during the arbitration process. Mr. Dorsey disagreed with this remedy.

CUPE made a separate application asking the arbitrator to hear arguments which propose ways that the arbitrator may interpret the legislation to ensure it is constitutionally compliant. Mr. Dorsey has not yet ruled on their application, but has indicated he will hear written submissions concerning their application.

“We had outlined several options for Mr. Dorsey to consider. Any of those options would ensure constitutional rights were protected,” says NSGEU President Joan Jessome, “While we are disappointed he did not accept our potential remedy, his ruling leaves open the opportunity that constitutional rights will be respected in his final arbitration decision.”

Jessome added: “The most important thing to consider is: in the end, will the constitutional rights of health care workers be protected or not? If not, it will only make health shortages worse in this province.”

It’s important to note that Mr. Dorsey’s decision does not affect the jurisdiction of the Courts. The NSGEU still intends to request other remedies from the mediator/arbitrator during the arbitration hearings, as Mr. Dorsey’s decision did not make any rulings concerning the constitutionality of Bill 1.


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 or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact:

Holly Fraughton, NSGEU Communications Officer

424.4063 (office)

471.1781 (cell)

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