News Release Archive

  The Nova Scotia government announced today it has committed
  $20.3 million to fund a province-wide labour adjustment
  strategy to ease the transition for workers affected by
  reduction in jobs at Nova Scotia's hospitals.
  The strategy was developed by a Joint Labour Management
  Council on health care transition after months of meetings
  and negotiations. The provincial government has officially
  endorsed the program and will provide the necessary funding.
  The strategy provides options to employees in the health
  care sector, and union members across the province will have
  the opportunity to decide, in a ratification process,
  whether they want to participate in the plan.
  Among its innovative features is an early departure
  incentive for unionized employees. The incentive provides
  eligible employees, who choose to resign, with a minimum of
  eight weeks and a maximum of 52 weeks severance pay based on
  their years of service. A retraining and relocation
  allowance to a maximum of $5,000 will help those employees
  retrain for other jobs or find work in other communities.
  The strategy expands the Nova Scotia Association of Health
  Organization's early retirement incentive program, opening a
  new window of opportunity for employees who have previously
  turned down early retirement. In addition, employees 60
  years of age with 10 years experience will receive up to two
  years pension credit to retire early. The qualifying age for
  early retirement without penalty has been reduced by five
  years to 50 for workers whose age and years of service
  equals 80.
  The strategy will help hospitals and health care workers
  make the transition to a new health care system, Health
  Minister Ron Stewart said today at a news conference
  announcing the program.
  "This strategy itself was developed by the health care
  community and reflects their knowledge and understanding of
  the changes taking place in the health care system," says
  Dr. Stewart.
  Human Resources Minister Jay Abbass praised the work and the
  good will of the joint council in developing this innovative
  "This plan was built by people who know the health care
  system, they know the hospitals and they know health
  workers' concerns. It builds in options and choices.  That's
  why as a government, we accept it, we endorse it and we're
  putting money behind it," said Mr. Abbass.
  Mr. Abbass said that the strategy also provides independent
  financial counselling to help employees make the choices
  that are right for them.
  Employees who remain in the workplace will also be affected
  by the changes in the health care system and to help deal
  with the transition, an employee assistance program will be
  established with 24-hours-a-day access.
  "Most of the changes in the health care institutions will
  not be immediate. The strategy gives the facilities the
  ability to plan these changes and phase them in over a
  number of years," said Mr. Abbass.
  With today's announcement the next step in the process
  begins. Labour and management representatives will explain
  the program to health care administrators and workers across
  the province. Unions have committed to bringing this issue
  to their membership as soon as possible. If approved, some
  elements of the plan will be retroactive to Sept. 1, 1995.
  The plan will be in effect until March 31, 1998. Labour and
  management representatives will continue to work together on
  implementation committees.
  The Joint Labour Management Council on Transition was
  comprised of senior hospital management along with
  representatives of the Canadian Auto Workers, the Canadian
  Union of Public Employees, the International Union of
  Operating Engineers, the Nova Scotia Government Employees
  Union and the Nova Scotia Nurses Union; and representatives
  from the departments of Health and Human Resources.  The
  Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations helped
  facilitate the council's work and provided administrative
  Contact:  Chris Hansen    902-424-5925
            Norma MacIsaac  902-424-5427
  NOTE TO EDITORS: A backgrounder can be obtained by calling
  trp                  Nov. 20, 1995