Acts & Regulations

The acts and regulations on this page govern the work of the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission and set the framework for employee relations for the Government of Nova Scotia, the unions it negotiates with, and management and other employees excluded from collective bargaining.

  1. Civil Service Act
  2. Regulations Under the Civil Service Act
  3. Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act
  4. Corrections Act
  5. Highway Workers Collective Bargaining Act
  6. Teachers Collective Bargaining Act
  7. Public Service Act
  8. Trade Union Act
  9. Public Service Superannuation Act
  10. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  11. Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act

This legislation creates the Public Service Commission and defines its responsibilities. It describes broad duties for Deputy Ministers of all departments in relation to civil servants, including the authority to terminate their employment. It gives the Commission broad authority to hire civil servants, to classify jobs and, with the approval of the governor-in-council, to make regulations covering human-resource management issues (for example, employee conduct, benefits, pay, and hours of work). The act also defines the political activity that civil servants may engage in.

The Commission has authority to make regulations in many areas. These regulations set out conditions of employment of civil servants. The government and its unions negotiate the terms of union members’ employment and the conditions under which they work. In practical terms, the regulations set out the terms and conditions of employment for civil servants who are excluded from the bargaining unit (management and confidential exclusions)

This legislation describes how civil service collective bargaining takes place. It describes the bargaining units, defines employees who are subject to collective bargaining, and describes how disputes will be resolved. The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) is the union and the Public Service Commission is the employer. Employees are not allowed to strike and the employer is not allowed to lock employees out as a labour relations strategy. The Civil Service Employee Relations Board has the power to regulate civil service collective bargaining.

The Minister of Justice is the employer of Adult Corrections employees. The Public Service Commission represents the employer in collective bargaining. The act describes how collective bargaining takes place for this group of employees. It allows them to select a union. Third parties may be appointed to hear certain grievances. An interest arbitration board may be appointed to conclude collective agreement provisions if negotiations don’t lead to a settlement. Employees are not allowed to strike, and the employer is not allowed to lock employees out as a labour relations strategy. The Correctional Facilities Employee Relations Board has the power to regulate adult corrections collective bargaining.

The Minister of Transportation and Public Works is the employer of certain employees who construct and maintain highways. The Public Service Commission represents the employer in collective bargaining. The legislation describes how collective bargaining takes place for this group of employees and allows them to select a union. An interest arbitration board may be appointed to conclude collective agreement provisions if negotiations don’t lead to a settlement. Employees are not allowed to strike, and the employer is not allowed to lock employees out as a labour relations strategy. The Highway Workers Employee Relations Board has the power to regulate collective bargaining in this area.

This legislation describes how collective bargaining takes place between public school teachers and community college faculty–represented by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union–and their employers, which include the Minister of Education, a school board, and the Nova Scotia Community College, depending on the circumstances.

The Trade Union Act applies as long as it is not in conflict with the Teacher’s Collective Bargaining Act.

When school boards are the employer, breakdowns in negotiation  are resolved by binding arbitration. Strikes regarding such issues are prohibited.

When the Minister of Education or community college is the employer, matters may be resolved either by compulsory binding arbitration, if both sides agree, or with strike action by teachers and lock-out action by the employer if the requirements set out in this act and the Trade Union Act are met.

This legislation sets out the provincial government organization structure and assigns certain responsibilities to departments and agencies. The legislation provides for a Public Service Commission, a Commissioner, and a Minister who presides over the Commission. It sets out the duties and powers of the Commissioner. The Commissioner’s duties include: 

  • determining human resources management policies, programs, standards and procedures for the public service
  • providing direction on these policies, programs, standards and procedures
  • ensuring that these policies, programs, standards and procedures are implemented appropriately
  • assessing and auditing the implementation of policies, programs, standards and procedures
  • advising on human resource management and collective bargaining
  • providing direction to the public service on collective bargaining
  • maintaining records
  • performing other duties and functions as assigned by the Governor-in-Council

This legislation describes how collective bargaining takes place between most employers, employees, and unions in Nova Scotia. It does not apply to civil servants, corrections workers or highway workers, federal employees or employees subject to federal legislation. It has only partial application to provincial teachers, whose collective bargaining is subject to the Teacher’s Collective Bargaining Act.

Collective bargaining between private employers and unions in the province is governed by this act, as is collective bargaining in a broad range of the public service. For example, all municipal employees’ collective bargaining (including that of police and firefighters) is governed by the Trade Union Act. As well, collective bargaining in the acute health-care and long term-care sectors is covered by this legislation.

The act sets out provisions for union certification, notice to bargain, negotiations, exclusions of certain employees due to managerial or other considerations, conciliation, mediation, strike, and lock-out, as well as other aspects of labour relations. The provisions of the act are administered by a Labour Relations Board. The act prescribes certain responsibilities to employers, unions, and the Minister of Environment and Labour.

The legislation allows unions and employees, subject to appropriate procedural considerations, to take strike action and for employers to lock out. There are no essential service provisions in the legislation. 

This legislation outlines employee entitlement to superannuation allowance and includes information on credit for prior service, death before retirement, payment of allowance to spouse, death or termination before entitlement, payment of commuted value, salary deductions by employee and payments by employer, consequences of surplus, leave of absence, deductions after 35 years' service, insufficient money in Fund, amount of annual superannuation allowance, minimum superannuation allowance, lump sum in lieu of superannuation allowance, retirement age and date, death while receiving superannuation allowance, superannuation allowance under certain circumstances, payment in monthly instalments, powers of Governor in Council, and who is not covered by the act.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act provides access to most records under the control of the provincial government while protecting the privacy of individuals who do not want their personal information made public. The Act strives for balance between the public's right to know and an individual's right to privacy.

The Act supports the belief that every document, record or file held by government, regardless of format, is subject to release to the general public. Exemptions from release are few and narrow in their scope. These exemptions are designed to protect against the unreasonable invasion of personal privacy; to prevent unfair advantages occurring in commercial or government transactions; to protect law enforcement activities; and to safeguard the business conducted by government. Cabinet documents are subject to release under certain conditions. Cabinet discussions, ten years or older, and background information, five years or older, must be released unless other restrictions apply.

The Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act was proclaimed on December 20, 2011. The Act and the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Regulations replace the Civil Service Disclosure of Wrongdoing Regulations and the Disclosure of Wrongdoing Policy.

It is important that we encourage a work environment where employees feel safe to report any wrongdoing they may encounter and that they do so without fear of reprisal. The Act and the regulations strengthen the process and provide greater protection for employees who come forward with a potential wrongdoing.

As public servants we all share a commitment to ensure that Nova Scotians continue to be served by a professional, ethical and accountable civil service.

For further information, or questions about the disclosure process, please visit the Public Service Commission Disclosure of Wrongdoing page, or, email PSC-disclosure-info@gov.ns.ca.