Nurses Protest Essential Service Legislation

Press Release

April 1, 2014

Halifax – Nurses at Capital Health are off the job to protest legislation introduced by the McNeil Liberal government—legislation that is the worst in the country and takes away rights for thousands of workers who care for Nova Scotians.

“This bill is by far the most regressive of its kind in the country,” says Joan Jessome, NSGEU President. “It forces 85-90% of nurses to stay on the job during a strike, giving employers the power to claw back benefits, and offers a form of arbitration that’s heavily tilted towards the province and the employer. Make no mistake, this bill takes away the rights of 32,000 workers in Nova Scotia.”

The bill also includes a form of arbitration based on “the Province’s ability to pay.”

“Essential services legislation creates conflict and chaos,” says Jessome. “Mr. McNeil had the power to get a deal and avert job action. Instead, he has chosen to sweep away the rights of nearly all health and community services workers in one far-reaching piece of legislation—legislation that, in other provinces, is already subject to constitutional challenge.”

Nurses are keeping their commitment to fully staff the ER, ICU, Cancer Care, Veterans and Hemodialisys units and to maintain a basic level of staffing in other units during this job action.

“Stephen McNeil and Capital Health may have chosen to play political games with patient safety by refusing to negotiate an emergency services agreement, but nurses will live up to their promise,” says Jessome.


The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians 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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5 Responses to Nurses Protest Essential Service Legislation

  1. Stan Squires April 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    I am from vancouver and i supports the nurses on strike at Capital Health.With regard to illegal strikes the canadian gov. considers all strikes illegal.Many workers have been legislated back to work here in canada.
    These nurses deserve the support of all people in canada.The essential services law is an insult to the nurses.This law should be condemned by everyone.The gov. is trying to turn the clock back to 19th century europe when all workers were treated like slaves.
    The health system in canada is in shambles and has been like that for a long time.It is the nurses and their union(NSGEU) that will improve the health system not the gov.The gov. is part of the problem.Labour and Capital got nothing in common. This has been proved many times over the years. Workers always had to fight for their rights.I hope other unions support these nurses also.This is an import fight for all people in canada.

  2. Deedee Slye April 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Thank you Stan. We appreciate the support!

  3. Christina Hindle April 2, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    What is the difference between an essential service legislation and a nurse to patient ratio?

    I think we should be able to use the essential service legislation as an opportunity to prove our point about a nurse to patient ratio.
    If 85-90% of nurses are needed to provide essential services for patients in the event of a strike the same should apply for our patients EVERY DAY.

    • Holly Fraughton April 4, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      Christina, you’re right: this legislation absolutely contradicts itself. If you are a Local 97 member, please come to our meetings next week (Tuesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 10) to find out more about next steps!


  1. Concerned by patient safety, faced with government legislation, nurses walk off the job - April 1, 2014

    […] prepare to go on strike – here NSGEU – Nurses Protest Essential Service Legislation – here CBC News – Heart surgeries cancelled over Halifax nurses strike – here NSGEU – Nurses […]

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