The Government of Saskatchewan has introduced amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act to include essential services. The amendments are the result of consultations that occurred in 2012, during the development of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, and most recently the summer of 2013.
“Our government is committed to protecting essential public services like highway safety and health care in the event of a labour disruption,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “The amendments we are introducing today came from working collaboratively with our stakeholders and we believe they provide the right balance between protecting the public and ensuring that alternative methods to settle a labour dispute are available if the ability to strike is removed.”
The key changes to the legislation are:
•Requiring an essential services agreement to be negotiated at impasse in bargaining a collective agreement.
•Expanding the definition of “public employer” to include all employers that provide an essential public service.
•Enabling disputes on the content of an employer’s essential services notice to be heard by an arbitrator or arbitration board.
•Enabling the union to challenge all aspects of the employer’s essential services notice.
•Providing a process to resolve a collective bargaining agreement where the level of essential services required results in a strike or lockout being ineffective.
For more information on these changes and how they affect Saskatchewan workers and employers, visit www.lrws.gov.sk.ca/modernizing-legislation.