Client Update: First Contract Arbitration

As many of you will now know, the Nova Scotia Government introduced legislation on Friday, December 6, 2013, amending provisions of the Nova Scotia Trade Union Act dealing with First Contract Arbitration. This client update sets out the changes and the impact that they will have on Nova Scotia employers.

 

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE THE LAW IN NOVA SCOTIA

 

If passed, Bill 19, will still allow the Labour Board to impose a first agreement but only after a determination that one of the bargaining parties is not using best efforts to reach a collective agreement. The automatic access to first contract arbitration that exists under the current legislation would be removed by the proposed amendments except in circumstances where the parties agree on an arbitrator. The amendments will also allow the parties more time to negotiate before access to the first contract arbitration process can be triggered.

Additional negotiation time is provided through the removal of provisions setting time limits on how soon a conciliation officer may notify the Board that the parties have reached an impasse and in the Board’s ability to return the parties to conciliation after an application is made. With the proposed amendments, the conciliator must now determine that the parties have reached an impasse before the matter can be placed before the Labour Board. The Board will then decide whether there has been conduct by one of the parties that has led to unsuccessful bargaining and only if such improper conduct is found will there be first contract arbitration. The Labour Board will essentially only be involved in situations where it determines that one of the bargaining parties is impeding the process.

In order to move to first contract arbitration (without agreement) under the current amendments, one of the parties will be required to show that:

• The other has refused to recognize its bargaining authority.
• The other has adopted an unreasonable position.
• The other has failed to make reasonable or timely efforts to reach a contract.
• Another bargaining element that the Labour Board deems relevant.

If the Board finds that the parties are using best efforts to bargain, it has the authority to direct that they return to conciliation or appoint an arbitrator. If the parties do not wish to have an arbitrator appointed, they can request that the Board settle the matter. Such requests must be made within seven days of the direction of the Board. While this avoids the expense of going to arbitration (which is borne equally by the parties), it still leaves employers in the position of having an outside party determine the terms and conditions of employment. If one of the parties requests the Board determine the matter, the hearing must commence within twenty-one days of the request. The Board must release a decision within 45 days of commencement of the hearing.

If the Board orders that the parties return to conciliation, they will have an additional 30 days within which to reach an agreement. If they are not able to reach agreement within this 30 day period, the Board will direct settlement by arbitration and an arbitrator will be appointed.

There can be no strike or lockout after a party applies to the Board or the Board has provided direction to return to conciliation.

There is currently no indication in the proposed legislation as to when the proposed amendments would take effect or from what date they would apply. Presumably, therefore, the legislation would take effect on the date of Royal Assent (formal approval by the Lieutenant Governor) and would apply to any case then before the Board or any new case. It is understood there are no outstanding cases.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

 

While the proposed amendments do not remove first contract arbitration, they are positive for the business community and will bring Nova Scotia’s legislation in line with other Canadian jurisdictions.

 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

 

Bill 19 has passed First Reading, and is scheduled for Second Reading on December 9. After the Bill receives Second Reading, there will be debate on the proposed amendments. We anticipate that the Government will seek input from interested parties and that some employers will wish to make submissions as the Bill moves through the legislative process. We will continue monitoring the process of this Bill and keep you updated of the progress of this legislation.

The foregoing is intended for general information only. If you have any questions, or for a detailed list and background please view our Labour & Employment Group.

SHARE

Archive

Search Archive


Generic filters
Filter by Custom Post Type

 
 

Client Update: Atlantic Canada pension and benefits countdown to 2019

December 28, 2018

Level Chan and Dante Manna As 2018 comes to an end, we countdown some pension and employee benefits developments in the last year that we anticipate may lead to developments in 2019. Discrimination in benefits…

Read More

Client Update: Canada’s Proposed Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals Regulations Revealed

December 21, 2018

Kevin Landry The first look at regulations for cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals has arrived. The Federal Government has opened a 60-day consultation period respecting the strict regulation of additional cannabis products. Notice of the consultation was accompanied…

Read More

Client Update: Recent Supreme Court of Nova Scotia decision drives home the importance of credibility

December 20, 2018

Erin Best and Kara Harrington “This case is about pain, how it was caused, by what accident and the opinions of dueling experts.”¹ “In this case, like so many, the assessment of the evidence depends…

Read More

Client Update: Land use planning in Prince Edward Island: the year in review

December 20, 2018

Jonathan Coady and Michael Fleischmann Overview Once again, the time has come to review the year that was and to chart the course for the year ahead. For municipalities, developers and planning professionals throughout Prince…

Read More

Client Update: Nova Scotia Labour Standard Code changes – domestic violence leave & pregnancy / parental eligibility

December 14, 2018

Following the various Stakeholder Consultations (which Stewart McKelvey participated in on behalf of Nova Scotia Employers), the Government has changed the Labour Standards Code Regulations effective January 1, 2019 to: a) provide for up to…

Read More

Client Update: Coming to Canada? You may need biometrics / Mise à Jour : Vous pensez bientôt venir au Canada? Vous pourriez avoir besoin de fournir vos données biométriques

December 6, 2018

Version française à suivre Sara Espinal Henao Canada has expanded its permanent and temporary immigration requirements to include biometrics – the measurement of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features. The new requirements,…

Read More

Proposed Changes to IP Law: Will they impact your business?

December 3, 2018

Many businesses rely on trade-mark, copyright, and patent law for the protection of their intellectual property (IP). The Federal Government recently proposed changes to IP laws, which may impact your business. Bill C-86, Budget Implementation Act,…

Read More

Client Update: Supreme Court of Canada rules against Canada Revenue Agency in GST/HST deemed trust case

November 27, 2018

Julia Parent and David Wedlake (special thanks to Graham Haynes for his assistance) In a rare decision from the bench, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) allowed the appeal of Callidus Capital Corporation in the matter…

Read More

Client Update: 12 tips for the company holiday party

November 23, 2018

Mark Tector and Killian McParland ‘Tis again the season for the company holiday party. And while the party planners are starting to break out the eggnog, there are some lessons learned from seasons past to…

Read More

Client Update: Who is a constructor?

November 16, 2018

Mark Tector and Richard Jordan The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) provides that “contractors” and “constructors” have similar, but not identical, responsibilities, with a “Constructor” having greater authority and more responsibility for the health and…

Read More

Search Archive


Generic filters
Filter by Custom Post Type