Nova Scotia premier must heed Supreme Court ruling and bargain in good faith with teachers

February 12, 2017

Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff is urging Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil to heed a Supreme Court ruling and go back to the bargaining table with the province’s public school teachers instead of arbitrarily imposing contract terms.

The premier has threatened to impose a contract on Nova Scotia’s 9,300 public school teachers in an emergency legislative session on Monday. The threat comes after last week’s overwhelming rejection by Nova Scotia Teachers Union members of the third attempt at a collective agreement since negotiations began in 2015.

“I’m urging Premier McNeil to heed the very strong message sent by Canada’s Supreme Court last year that governments must negotiate in good faith and respect the collective bargaining process instead of trying to unilaterally strip collective agreement protections,” said Yussuff.

In November last year, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled from the bench that the BC government violated the guarantee of freedom of association under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it passed legislation stripping class size protections from BC teachers’ collective agreements.

“In Nova Scotia, this is about the need for good faith bargaining that will result in better quality education for children. Across the country, as the Supreme Court has ruled, this is about safeguarding a basic right that levels the playing field for workers by placing checks on the power of governments, as employers, to legislate unfair agreements that tip the scales in management’s favour,” said Yussuff.