New Nova Scotia Labour Board will eventually combine the activities of six existing boards and agencies performing labour relations functions.
Halifax (26 Nov. 2010) - The NDP government of Premier Darrell Dexter has introduced Bill 100 – An Act to Establish a Unified Labour Board. The bill is also known as the Labour Board Act.
When passed, the bill will merge a total of six separate boards into a new Nova Scotia Labour Board (NSLB).
If the Bill is passed as drafted, it would combine the existing Labour Relations Board, the Civil Service Employee Relations Board, the Highway Workers’ Employee Relations Board and the Correctional Facilities Employee Relations Board into the NSLB sometime in 2011.
After that, the Occupational Health and Safety Appeal Panel and the Labour Standards Tribunal would also join the NSLB.
A full-time NSLB chair will be appointed for a five-year term to head the new board. Existing board members would sit on the new board until their current terms expire, when they could apply for re-appointment.
Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE), met with the deputy minister of labour and workforce development on June 30 to be advised of this proposed merger. The union also responded on Sept. 30 to a discussion paper released by the department in July.
Bill 100 also outlines important legislative changes that NSGEU has been seeking for many years.
Following through on commitments made during the recent civil service negotiations, the government is moving to eliminate the list of "arbitral" items in the Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act and the Corrections Act as well as in the Highway Workers Collective Bargaining Act.
This will mean that all terms and conditions can be resolved through arbitration, if necessary, with no issues restricted or off-limits.
The bill would also ensure successor rights for NSGEU members and all broader public sector workers directly affected by a transfer of ownership from a government or public sector body to a private company or private sector entity.
This will require that existing collective agreements and the current bargaining agents must be maintained when such transfers take place.
Bill 100 makes provision for a Labour Management Review Committee which will have equal representation from labour and management and will be able to review all existing labour relations legislation and recommend possible future changes. It will also advise the government on labour relations issues.
In general, NSGEU is pleased to see this Bill come forward and looks forward to seeing other long-overdue labour legislative amendments being introduced as soon as possible.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE