President’s Statement on Mediator/Arbitrator Dorsey’s Ruling

Good afternoon,

Today, James Dorsey, the mediator/arbitrator responsible for overseeing the implementation of Bill 1 (The Health Authorities Act), ruled that he will hear arguments asking him to interpret Bill 1 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 the NSGEU’s application challenging the constitutionality of the legislation were beyond his jurisdiction.

Our 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.

There was a separate application made, 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. While we are disappointed he did not accept the NSGEU’s potential remedy, his ruling does leave open the opportunity that constitutional rights will be respected in his final arbitration decision.

In addition, 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.

This isn’t over yet!

In Solidarity,

Joan Jessome

President, NSGEU

If you have questions or concerns about Bill 1, please contact your Site Leader or contact us by calling 902-424-4063 (toll-free 1-877-556-7438) or emailing

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