Nova Scotia Federation of Labour Applauds Landmark Decision by Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Carleton Case

September 21, 2023

Halifax: The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour expresses its utmost satisfaction with the recent ruling by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in the widely recognized Carleton case. This ground-breaking decision reinforces the rights of unionized workers to bring their issues before the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, providing them with an avenue to seek justice and pursue their fundamental rights.

Federation President Danny Cavanagh hails this ruling as a significant victory for unionized workers, emphasizing that it allows them the opportunity to pursue the violation of their rights through the appropriate channels. Cavanagh highlights that certain employers had previously argued against unions being able to bring grievable matters to the Commission. Essentially, this limited the rights of union members solely to the grievance procedure, curtailing their ability to seek recourse for human rights violations.

In contrast, the unions involved in the Carleton case, including the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, asserted through their legal representation that both the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and labour arbitrators should have concurrent jurisdiction over human rights complaints in unionized workplaces. This argument was made to ensure that unionized workers have equal access to justice and that their human rights are protected.

This landmark ruling by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal represents a significant step towards fostering a fair and equitable working environment for unionized employees across the province. It reinforces the principle that the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and labour arbitrators should work in tandem to address human rights violations in unionized workplaces, ensuring that no worker is left without recourse in the face of discrimination or mistreatment.

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour stands firmly behind this decision, advocating for the rights and well-being of unionized workers. This ruling will have far-reaching implications in Nova Scotia and other jurisdictions, as it sets a precedent for protecting workers’ rights and enforcing human rights legislation.

We look forward to continued progress in creating inclusive and respectful workplaces that uphold the rights and dignity of all workers.

The following organizations were granted Intervenor status in this appeal:

  • Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE)
  • Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union
  • Halifax Regional Police Association
  • Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 508
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 927
  • Halifax Professional Firefighters Association, International Association of Firefighters, Local 268
  • Nova Scotia Federation of Labour

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