Indecision on Bill 148 leaves opportunity for Houston to repeal anti-worker legislation

The following joint statement was issued by the NS Federation of Labour in response to a judgement issued today by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. 

Unions representing more than 70,000 public sector workers in Nova Scotia are issuing a joint response after the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal declined to make a decision regarding the constitutionality of the public service wage suppression legislation, known as Bill 148.

The unions are disappointed there was no conclusive decision, following nearly six years of legal proceedings, which were substantially delayed by the Nova Scotia government.

Over that time, the legislation has seriously impaired the process of free and fair collective bargaining, having a real and detrimental economic impact on a substantial portion of Nova Scotian workers, retirees, and their families.

While the legislation is a legacy of former Premier Stephen McNeil, the responsibility to right this wrong now lays with Premier Tim Houston, who committed during his 2021 election campaign to repeal the legislation.

On behalf of their joint membership, the unions and the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour (NSFL) call on Premier Houston to repeal Bill 148, return to free and fair collective bargaining and begin the process of repairing the relationship between the province and its public sector workers.

Eight unions with members affected by Bill 148 – CUPE, NSGEU, NSNU, SEIU, NSTU, CUPW, IUOE, and Unifor – as well as the NSFL, have been fighting this anti-worker legislation since it was introduced in 2015 and will continue to fight for a fair resolve.