Legislation introduced today, Nov. 2, will help create a stable labour relations climate for mega-industrial construction projects in Nova Scotia.
The amendments to the Construction Projects Labour-Management Relations Act give developers of multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas projects in Richmond and Guysborough Counties the option to enter into a project-specific agreement to ensure no work stoppages during the life of the project.
“Our government is committed to improving Nova Scotia’s competitiveness and positioning our province for growth,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “This legislation helps create a stable labour relations climate that will encourage further investment and growth and bring economic benefits to our province and our people.”
The department was asked by Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association and Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades to update the 40-year old legislation with a modernized version.
“The stability a project agreement brings is good for everyone, including workers, who will benefit by having settled work conditions over the life of a project,” said Brad Smith, executive director of Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades.
Specifically, the amendments will:
— repeal the current act and rename the new legislation as the Construction Projects Labour Relations Act
— give a developer of a $2 billion plus industrial construction project the option to seek a project-specific agreement for the life of the project
— amend the definition of construction project to include projects over $2 billion dollars, specifically liquefied natural gas projects in Guysborough and Richmond counties
— allow other economically significant industrial construction projects to be designated as construction projects by regulation following public consultation
— outline a process to notify multiple parties of a developer’s desire to negotiate a project agreement
— when a developer wants a project agreement, ensure construction does not start until there is
one in place that covers the life of the project
— provide a mechanism, through the Labour Board, to resolve issues that may arise under the act
“Companies looking to invest a significant amount of money and resources in our province would like the reassurance that a settled agreement for the life of project can bring,” said Al Stapleton, president of the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association.
The act does not prevent a developer from working with a non-unionized contractor even when there is a project agreement in place. The amendments will take effect immediately after they are passed.