Labour Board - Members

The Chair, Vice-Chairs, and members of the Labour Board are appointed by the Governor in Council. The Chair is a full time position and the Vice-Chairs and members serve on a part-time basis. While members have generally gained their knowledge and experience from backgrounds in either labour or management, they swear to deal with the matters before them with utmost impartiality as part of their oath of office.

Chair/Vice-Chairs

Karen Hollett – Chair

Karen Hollett is the chair of the Nova Scotia Labour Board. Karen graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1991. She has a Master of Laws (2011) from Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to her appointment as Chair, Karen practised as a dispute resolution neutral with a practice including arbitration, mediations, workplace investigations and professional disciplinary matters. She also has extensive in-house labour relations experience on both the union and management sides. Karen is a member of the Canadian Bar Association's National Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) section executive. Ms. Hollett's present appointment runs until January 2022.

Susan Ashley – Vice-Chair

Susan Ashley has practiced alternative dispute resolution, specializing in labour and employment arbitration and mediation, since 1993. Ms. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University. Her extensive arbitration experience has included acting as a Selector in the Final Offer Selection Process which ended the 2001 Nova Scotia healthcare professionals strike, and acting as a federal arbitrator imposing the final package for workers affected by the closure of the Cape Breton Development Corporation. Her extensive arbitration experience includes labour relations, occupational health and safety, human rights and employment matters.

Ms. Ashley has been a Vice-Chair (1993-1995) and Chair (1995-2003) of the former Labour Standards Tribunal, and a Vice-Chair (1996-1999 & 2006-2011) of the former Labour Relations Board/Construction Industry Panel. She was the Chair of the former Highway Workers Employee Relations Board and a former Associate Dean of the Dalhousie Law School. Ms. Ashley’s present appointment runs until February 2024.

Nelson Blackburn, Q.C. – Vice-Chair

Nelson Blackburn holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of laws from Dalhousie Law School. He has been a member of the Nova Scotia Bar since 1971 and was appointed to the Queens Counsel in 1987. Mr. Blackburn is a senior partner at Blackburn Law, Barristers and Solicitors. His preferred areas of practice have been in labour arbitration, mediation, administrative law and regulatory practice.

Mr. Blackburn is the former Chair for the Nova Scotia Insurance Review Board and of the Labour Standards Tribunal, and is the past Chairman of the Psychiatric Facility Review Board. Currently, he is a member of the Pipeline Arbitration Committee; the Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry Panel; the Small Business Advocate for the UaRB; and a labour arbitrator, mediator and civil mediator. Mr. Blackburn’s present appointment runs until July 2022.

Frank DeMont, QC – Vice-Chair

Frank E. DeMont graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1989, was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in August of 1990. He is a sole practitioner living in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Operating under the business name DeMont Law, Mr. DeMont focuses on municipal law and corporate law. Operating under the business name of Resolve Arbitration and Mediation Services, his focus is arbitration and mediation of labour, employment and commercial law disputes.

Mr. DeMont holds the Qualified Mediator (Q. Med.) designation from the ADR Institute of Canada and is a Board Member of the ADR Atlantic Institute. He also holds an appointment to the Nova Scotia Minister of Labour’s List of Arbitrators and is a Vice-President of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and Chair of its Code of Professional Conduct Committee. Mr. DeMont’s present appointment runs until July 2022.

Demetrius Kachafanas, Vice-Chair

Mr. Kachafanas holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University (1990); a Bachelor of Arts from the University College of Cape Breton (1992); and a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University (1995). He completed his Master of Laws degree with a specialization in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2009. He is a member of the Nova Scotia Bar and was awarded the Queen’s Counsel designation in 2020.

Mr. Kachafanas is Regional Solicitor at Cape Breton Regional Municipality. He also has a private Dispute Resolution practice and regularly participates in labour arbitration grievances as a Mediator and Arbitrator. He was awarded the designation of Qualified Arbitrator by the ADR Atlantic Institute in 2013. Mr. Kachafanas has a private Dispute Resolution practice and regularly participates in labour arbitration grievances as a Mediator and Arbitrator. Mr. Kachafanas’s present appointment runs until July 2022.

Lynne J. Poirier: Vice-Chair

Fluently bilingual, Lynne J. Poirier graduated from L’Université de Moncton Law School in 1997. Living in Hammonds Plains, NS, she has been practicing as a dispute resolution neutral since 2015, operating under the business name of Poirier ADR Inc. Her focus is the mediation and arbitration of labour and employment disputes, and the investigation of workplace misconduct. Before launching Poirier ADR Inc., Ms. Poirier practiced law in-house in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto. She also has extensive labour and employment law experience practicing in national and boutique firms in Ottawa and Toronto.

Ms. Poirier is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada (1999), the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (2011), the Canadian Bar Association, as well as the ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) Institute of Canada. She is a Member of the Board of ADR Atlantic Institute, and holds the professional designations of Qualified Mediator (Q.Med) and Qualified Arbitrator (Q. Arb) from the ADR Institute of Canada. She also is a roster adjudicator for the Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada’s disciplinary appeal panels under its Dispute Resolution and Discipline Policy. Ms. Poirier’s appointment runs until April 2023.

Augustus Richardson, Q.C. – Vice-Chair

Gus Richardson was a Vice-Chair of the former Labour Relations Board since 2006. Mr. Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts from Essex University. He has conducted an active arbitration and mediation practice since 2003, and has served as an Adjudicator of the Nova Scotia Small Claims Court since 2001. His extensive arbitration experience includes labour relations, occupational health and safety and employment law matters. He is a member of both the Ontario (1984) and Nova Scotia bars (1990).

Mr. Richardson has taught business law at Saint Mary’s University, and has been a guest lecturer on costs at the Dalhousie Law School. He is consulted frequently on motor vehicle, professional liability and product liability issues. He has published a number of papers on a variety of legal issues. Mr. Richardson’s present appointment runs until February 2024.


Employee Members

Tom Griffiths

Tom Griffiths was first appointed to the Labour Board in November 2017. Mr. Griffiths is an Assistant Business Manager with IBEW, Local 625. Prior to this position, he was responsible for union recruitment and community relations as the Membership Development Officer. Mr. Griffiths has been a delegate of the Building Trades for over 10 years. Mr. Griffiths has significant knowledge and experience in Labour Relations. Mr. Griffith’s present appointment runs until November 2023.

Jean Candy

Ms. Candy was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2019. Ms. Candy was employed by the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union for 20 + years. She served as a Labour Relations representative for the Union from 1996 to 2006, and the Executive Director from 2006 until 2019. She has significant knowledge and experience with grievances, arbitrations, occupational health and safety issues, and matters before the Labour Board. Ms. Candy’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Cordell Cole

Cordell Cole was a member of the former Labour Relations Board (Construction Industry Panel) since November 2007. Mr. Cole is an interprovincial journeyman electrician with over 20 years’ experience in the electrical industry. He is the President of the Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades Council, and has been the Business Manager/Financial Secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 625 since 2002. Mr. Cole’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Kenneth Estabrooks

Kenneth Estabrooks was a member of the former Labour Relations Board (Construction Industry Panel) since April 2002. Mr. Estabrooks is the Director of the Operating Engineers Trade School and a former President/Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 721 from 1989 to 2011. He has significant knowledge and experience with labour law and collective agreements and is recognized for his labour relations experience. He has served on building trades and labour councils. Mr. Estabrooks’ present appointment runs until November 2022.

Martin MacPhee

Mr. MacPhee was appointed to the Labour Board November 2019. Mr. MacPhee was employed by Nova Scotia Power as a Chemical Engineering Technologist (1974-2015) and a Safety Specialist (2017). During this period, he served on the employer negotiation committee, Labour and Management Relations and was co-chair of the JOHS Committee. He also served as the facilitator for the annual Labour Pool Safety Training. Mr. MacPhee was Shop Stewart with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1928 for 40 years. During this period, he served as Unit Chairman and was a member of the Executive Board of Local 1928. Mr. MacPhee was also a member of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Council for 7 years. As a member of the Council, he sat on various sub-committees including Administrative Penalties legislation, Violence in the Workplace regulations and Phase 1 & 2 of the new Workplace Health and Safety regulations under the Occupational Safety General Regulations. Mr. MacPhee’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Catherine Murphy

Ms. Murphy was appointed to the Labour Board November 2019. She has a strong practical understanding of labour relations in Nova Scotia. Ms. Murphy has significant knowledge and experience in working with the Public Service Staff Relations Act, Public Service Employment Act, CLC Code 1 and 2, Trade Union Act, CHRC, Human Rights Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. She is trained and certified as a Workers' Compensation Representative by the NL Federation of Labour. Ms. Murphy is trained in mediation, her knowledge includes feminist analysis and working as an Ally in Diversity. She participated in the development, rollout and evaluation of employment equity plans and diversity policy. Ms. Murphy’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Thomas Patterson

Tom Patterson was a member of the former Labour Relations Board since August 2004. Mr. Patterson’s labour relations career spans over 30 years. For much of his career, he served as the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union. Mr. Patterson has significant knowledge and experience in occupational health and safety, employment and labour relations matters, including administering and negotiating collective agreements and conducting labour relations educational programs. Mr. Patterson’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Deborah Ryan

Deborah Ryan was a member of the former Occupational Health and Safety Appeal Panel since February 1997. Ms. Ryan is a director on the Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia and a former Employee Relations Officer for Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union. She has extensive knowledge of labour relations including contract interpretation and negotiation; and has experience with labour standards matters. She is a member of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Council and was an Occupational Health and Safety instructor for provincial employees. Ms. Ryan’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Betty Jean Sutherland

Betty Jean Sutherland was a member of the former Occupational Health and Safety Appeal Panel since February 1997. She completed several terms on the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Council. Ms. Sutherland now serves the Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors. She has 25 years’ experience as a personal care worker. She is a former President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (“CUPE”) and Vice-President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. She is presently employed as a National Servicing Representative for CUPE. Ms. Sutherland’s present appointment runs until November 2022

Jameal Wall

Mr. Wall was appointed to the Labour Board November 2019. Mr. Wall is the President of the Cape Breton Island Building & Construction Trades Council. He has over 25 years of experience in the construction industry, He has been the Business Manager/Financial Secretary of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 56 since 2005. Mr. Wall has served on numerous negotiation committees and settled many contracts with different trades during his career. He is Vice President of the Canadian Sheet Metal Workers & Roofers; and past President and Vice President of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council. He is a member representing the Construction Sector of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Board until May 28, 2021. Mr. Wall’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Larry Wark

Larry Wark was a member of the former Labour Relations Board since November 2010. Mr. Wark is a former Area Director of the Canadian Auto Workers’ Union (CAW Canada). He has over 40 years representing unionized employees where he gained experience and knowledge in occupational health and safety matters. Mr. Wark has extensive labour relations experience including union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, and representation at arbitration proceedings. Mr. Wark is on the Advisory Committee to the Non-Binding Arbitration Program (formerly known as the Labour Management Forum) and is a member of the Arbitration Advisory Committee. Mr. Wark’s present appointment runs until November 2022.


Employer Members

Robin Clark

Robin D. Clark was appointed to the Labour Board in March 2014 as an Employee Member and as an Employer Member in 2020. Mr. Clark has over forty years of experience in public safety and occupational health and safety. He is trained in labour relations, negotiation and conflict resolution, and public and police sector management. He holds several occupational health and safety designations and works as an occupational health and safety consultant. Mr. Clark’s appointment runs until May 2023.

J. Harris McNamara

J. Harris McNamara was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2017.  Mr. McNamara is the Health and Safety and Security Director on the Maritime Link project for Emera.  His responsibilities include liaising with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for health and safety issues, and working with unions to improve health and safety standards on construction sites both provincially and nationally.  Mr. McNamara held various positions of increasing health, safety and security responsibilities with Emera over his 32-year career, including Director – Emera Safety, and NSP Safety Manager and Safety Specialist.  He has significant knowledge and experience in the construction industry.  Mr. McNamara is Co-Chair of the OHS Advisory Council; is member of the Board of Directors for the Construction Association of Nova Scotia; and, Chairperson for the Canadian Electricity Association.   Mr. McNamara’s present appointment runs until February 2024.

Rick Anderson

Rick Anderson was appointed to the Labour Board in September 2015. Mr. Anderson has over 40 years of broad Human Resources and Labour Relations experience gained in the Municipal and Provincial sectors. During his career, he has worked as a negotiator, mediator, Senior Administrator, presented at Interest arbitration and on occasion sat as an arbitration board member. Immediately prior to retirement in 2013 he served 12 years as Senior Director, Health Sector Labour Relations for the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. His present appointment runs until November 2022.

Clayton Bartlett

Clayton Bartlett was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2017. Mr. Bartlett is Manager Special Projects with ROCLAN Construction (a div. of DORA Construction). As one of the co-founders of ROCLAN, he has built up a wealth of construction knowledge and experience. Mr. Bartlett has been a member of the NSCLRA negotiations committee for the past 30 years. He is a member of the Board of Directors with the Horizon Achievement Centre, providing gainful employment and education for adults with physical and learning disabilities. He sits on the Board of Trustees for the Cape Breton Island Building Trades Stabilization Fund. Mr. Bartlett’s present appointment funs until November 2022.

Kenneth Chisholm

Kenneth Chisholm was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2017. Mr. Chisholm is an Atlantic Regional Rep with the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction. He represents over 100 members in the Atlantic Canada Steel Industry, focusing on the promotion of steel in the construction industry. Mr. Chisholm has served as Project Manager and Labour Relations Advisor for several major contractors across Canada since 2008. Prior to this, he was a Business Representative with the Carpenters Union for 9 years. Mr. Chisholm was a member of the Board of Directors with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (2015 – 2010); and Past Chairman, Executive, Board of Directors with the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council (1998 – 2015). Mr. Chisholm's present appointment runs until February 2024.

George Fox

George Fox has been an Employer Member of the former Labour Relations Board and current Labour Board since October 2006, with his present appointment running until November 2022. He has held a variety of senior executive positions within the Nova Scotia Provincial Government, including Deputy Minister of the Departments of Labour and Environment; Chair of the Skills NS Task Force and Deputy Ministers Steering Committee on Restructuring; as well as Director of Corporate Services and Staff Relations with the NS Department of Human Resources (now the NS Public Service Commission), including 10 years as the Province’s Chief Negotiator in collective bargaining; Chief Executive Officer, NS Public Sector Compensation Restraint Board; and Chair, Board of Trustees, NS Public Service Long Term Disability Plan Trust Fund. As Deputy Minister of the Department of Labour, he was accountable for ensuring employment and labour relations policy and practice within the Province of Nova Scotia were administered in a fair and consistent manner within the broad legislative framework of Labour Standards Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Trade Union Act, and oversaw the department’s provision of neutral third party conciliation, mediation and dispute resolution between labour and management in unionized private and public sector collective bargaining. During 10 years as the Province’s Chief Negotiator, he led collective bargaining with the NS Government and General Employees Union under the legislative umbrella of the Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act, as well advising during labour negotiations under the Corrections Act, the Highway Workers’ Collective Bargaining Act, and the Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Act.

Stephen Graves

Mr. Graves is a past member of the Construction Industry Panel, he has significant Mr. Graves has significant knowledge and experience in the construction industry, representing both employees and employers. He has been employed in the construction industry since 1972, holding such positions as a Business Manager for a local union in Nova Scotia from 1996-2007, President of the Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades Council, and starting his own unionized contracting company in 2009. Mr. Graves’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

George Hall

George Hall was a member of the former Labour Relations Board since August 2004. Mr. Hall was involved in the development of the Nova Scotia Civil Services Collective Bargaining Act. Mr. Hall held several senior positions in the Nova Scotia Civil Service during a career that spanned more than 30 years where he gained significant experience in labour relations, employment and occupational health and safety matters. He then spent 7 years in the private sector in a consulting role where he dealt with a wide range of human resources issues. He is a former Board Member of the Institute of Public Affairs of Canada and served as a member of the Dalhousie School of Public Administration Advisory Board. Mr. Hall's present appointment runs until November 2022.

Gordon MacLean

Gordon MacLean has more than 40 years’ experience in human resources management and labour relations. He held various senior positions in the Cape Breton coal industry with Devco including Vice President of Human Resources. He was Director of Human Resources at Cape Breton University for 5 years and was subsequently employed by the Province of Nova Scotia for 13 years where he held the position of Executive Director, Employee Relations & Compensation. He has negotiated many collective agreements and is very familiar with all forms of labour relations activities. Currently retired, he serves on the Board for the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Pension Plan, as well as the Labour Board. Mr. MacLean’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

James McKee

Mr. McKee was appointed to the Labour Board in November of 2019. Mr. McKee has been a member of the Human Resources Association of Nova Scotia since September 1999, having attained the designation of Chartered Professional in Human Resources in May 2001, and a member of the Canadian Electricity Association Human Resources Committee since March 2013. Mr. McKee has over 20 years experience in Human Resources and dealing with unionized and non-unionized labour issues. Mr. McKee’s present appointment runs until November 2020.

Adrian Morrison

Adrian Morrison was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2017. Mr. Morrison is a Regional Vice President of Black & McDonald Limited, responsible for Atlantic Canada and Bermuda. Mr. Morrison has significant knowledge and experience in the construction industry. Mr. Morrison chaired the CANS-IWK Capital Campaign in 2014 – 15 which raised over $1.5M to help renovate and modernize the NICU. He is a champion of Techsploration, an organization providing young women with opportunities to explore science, trades and technology occupations. He served for many years as a Director of the Millwrights Trade Classification with CLRA. Mr. Morrison’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Connie Nolan

Connie Nolan was appointed to the Labour Board in November of 2018. Ms. Nolan is the Chief Administrative Officer with the Municipality of East Hants. In her role, she has developed a thorough knowledge of both the Labour Standards Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Ms. Nolan has, and continues to make contributions to the community in both professional and voluntary capacities. She is a Board Member of the Property Valuation Services Corporation. She is Past President of the Association of Municipal Administrators, and was a Volunteer/Trainer, International Aid Program in Guyana, SA through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Ms. Nolan’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Susan Power

Susan Power was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2019. Ms. Power is Owner and CEO of Power HR Inc., offering leadership to business transformation through leadership development coaching, human resources consulting, organizational change management, HR policy analysis and training and project management. Ms. Power’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Robert Shepherd

Robert Shepherd was appointed to the Labour Board in November 2017. Mr. Shepherd is the President/Owner of a Consulting Services Company providing operational and business management services to companies in the Construction, Marine and Offshore Business Sectors. He was the President and CEO/Owner of the Guildfords Group of Company (2005 – 2017). Mr. Shepherd has 40 years of experience working in the construction sector, and 34 years in the management/ownership positions throughout Atlantic Canada. He has knowledge and experience in collective bargaining, labour relations, the Labour Standards Code, the Trade Union Act and the OHS Act. Mr. Shepherd is a member of the Board of Directors of the NS Construct6ion Labour Relations Association and a Trustee of Local 116 Insulators Skill Fund. Mr. Shepherd’s present appointment runs until November 2022.

Allan Stapleton

Allan Stapleton was a member of the former Labour Relations Board since 2009. Mr. Stapleton is the President of the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association Limited. He serves as a board member on a number of construction-related committees and has over 35 years of experience in the unionized construction sector. Mr. Stapleton's present appointment runs until November 2022.