The health, safety and well-being of the public will be better protected and workers’ rights safeguarded by preserving the collective bargaining with legislation introduced today, Nov. 23. “Nova Scotians deserve to know that when they go into a hospital, or when they’re in a long-term care facility, or when they’re waiting for a paramedic, that their safety is not going to be put in jeopardy by a lockout or the threat of a strike or a strike,” said Environment and Labour Minister Mark Parent. “We also believe strongly in workers’ rights. That’s why we have introduced legislation that preserves free, fair and impartial collective bargaining.” The processes for collective bargaining in legislation will not change. It is only when the parties reach an impasse that they move to a binding mediation or interest-arbitration process to resolve outstanding issues. The dispute-resolution options will help the parties reach a resolution without a work stoppage. “It is important that unions and employers be able to continue collective bargaining, independent of government,” said Mr. Parent. Mediators and arbitrators, who will oversee the dispute-resolution options, are neutral third parties selected by the union and employer to help reach a settlement, if they are unable to agree. Mediators and arbitrators are independent of government. “These dispute-resolution options are fair and impartial. They will settle disputes and ensure uninterrupted access in the health care and community services sectors for Nova Scotians,” said Mr. Parent. The legislation is being introduced after a consultation process and examination of best practices from across Canada. “Now is the time to develop fair and balanced labour legislation, when there is not a lockout or strike or the threat of a strike,” said Mr. Parent. “We have done our research, we have consulted with Nova Scotians, and today we are introducing the fairest labour legislation in the country.” For more information on the proposed amendments to the Trade Union Act, visit www.gov.ns.ca .