Partnership's Response to Bill 102

Partnership's response to Bill 102

Letter from Paul Kent, President and CEO
December 1, 2011

Last evening, Fred Morley and I presented the Partnership’s position on Bill 102 (An Act to Prevent Unnecessary Labour Disruptions and Protect the Economy) to the Nova Scotia Legislature’s Law and Amendments Committee.

Bill 102 modifies the incentive structures at play in the unionization process and introduces new risks to Nova Scotia’s economy. There is no current breakdown in the labour relations environment and no evidence that the current labour relations legislation or tools are inadequate. Furthermore, what makes Bill 102 stand out from other FCA legislation in Canada (other than in Manitoba) is its “no fault” approach, which does not penalize “bad faith” negotiation.

In light of Halifax Shipyard’s $25 billion combat vessel contract, businesses must be encouraged to make key investments in order to take full advantage of this unique opportunity. Bill 102 threatens future and existing investment in Nova Scotia at a time when it is most needed. Nova Scotia is hamstrung by some of the lowest productivity rates in Canada, which are directly affected by the willingness of business to invest in new technology, machinery, equipment, and other capital. Without the productivity gains driven by new and renewing investment, we can’t improve the standard of living in Halifax or Nova Scotia.

We conclude that the full impacts of Bill 102 have not been fully researched and risk mitigation is not in place.  Nova Scotia’s economy is fragile and Bill 102 has the potential to damage it further by muting the benefit flow to Nova Scotia of major projects like the $25 billion combat vessel contract. Given our current economic environment, we believe this is not the right time to implement measures that have an uncertain or negative impact on our business climate and confidence. We believe that Bill 102 should be set aside until circumstances improve.  

I invite you to read our position paper which details our opposition to Bill 102.