The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) is taking the Province of Nova Scotia to court.
The NSGEU has now filed a statement of claim with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, as Bill 30 (Essential Home Support Services Act) violates home support workers’ right to bargain collectively, revoking their charter right to “engage in the expressive activities associated with collective bargaining and the right to strike.”
Furthermore, the legislation disproportionately affects women, as approximately 90 per cent of workers affected by this legislation are women. “Bill 30 has a discriminatory, adverse impact on employees on the basis of sex,” the statement reads.
The NSGEU moved to file the statement of claim with the court shortly after Bill 30 was passed in March, but provincial legislation required a 60-day waiting period. That waiting period has now ended, and the NSGEU has filed its statement of claim.
“Bill 30 is a clear abuse of power by the McNeil government: the provisions of this legislation are very clearly designed to undermine our members’ right to strike and their right to full and free collective bargaining,” said NSGEU President Joan Jessome.
“I look forward to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court weighing in on this matter.”
The NSGEU isn’t the only union launching a legal challenge on essential services legislation. Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada began hearing a Charter challenge launched by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, which argues that essential services legislation and changes made to the Trade Union Act in their province are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This Supreme Court case and ruling will have a significant impact on the legal challenge the NSGEU has launched in Nova Scotia.