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Nova Scotia unified labour board

nsflagI recently read about a Bill coming out of Nova Scotia that proposes to merge a number of official forums involving employment and labour relations into one Labour Board, to simplify how workplace disputes are handled, and to establish a committee to keep employment and labour relations laws relevant. Bill 100, the Labour Board Act, just received second reading in the legislature; I wonder how this will work…

The proposed labour board would replace and assume the powers and duties of the following boards, panels and tribunals:

  • The Labour Relations Board under the Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Act and the Trade Union Act
  • The Civil Service Employee Relations Board under the Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act
  • The Highway Workers’ Employee Relations Board under the Highway Workers Collective Bargaining Act
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Appeal Panel under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Administrative Penalties Regulations
  • The Labour Standards Tribunal under the Labour Standards Code
  • The Construction Industry Panel under the Trade Union Act

Another purpose to the Bill is to bring processes more in line with other provinces.

The bill would also establish a Labour-Management Review Committee to improve labour relations and collective bargaining in the province. This would be accomplished by reviewing, reporting and making recommendations to the Minister of Labour and Workforce Development on labour relations issues on an ongoing basis, and by conducting reviews of labour relations legislation. The committee would have equal representation from management and labour.

Additionally, the Bill would require employers to post a deposit before making an appeal from a decision of the labour board to reduce frivolous appeals of board decisions.

Of interest to labour, the bill would allow government employees to continue to be represented by a union if their work moves to the private sector, and to eliminate lists of terms of employment that may be sent to arbitration if the parties have no right to strike or lock out.

I’m wondering: do you think this will make dispute resolution procedures more efficient, or will it create more complexity and increase backlogs since all boards, panels, and tribunals concerning labour will be merged into one?

Christina Catenacci
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Christina Catenacci

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. Read more
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