Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal of controversial N.S. public sector wage package

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The Supreme Court of Canada is seen in Ottawa on Thursday, June 17, 2021. The highest court has declined to hear an appeal of a bill that places limits on wage increases for public sector workers in Nova Scotia. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The Supreme Court of Canada is seen in Ottawa on Thursday, June 17, 2021. The highest court has declined to hear an appeal of a bill that places limits on wage increases for public sector workers in Nova Scotia. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal in a long-running case over wages between public sector unions and the Nova Scotia government.

Unions representing thousands of public sector employees have been fighting Bill 148 for several years, arguing the legislation passed in 2015 is unconstitutional.

The bill placed limits on wage increases and froze long-service awards. The awards were generally lump-sum payments for retiring workers with at least 10 years of service.

The introduction of the bill led to a demonstration outside Province House in 2016.

Catharine Tunney/CBC
Catharine Tunney/CBC

The province said from the beginning it was confident in the legislation, known as the Public Services Sustainability Act, which then Premier Stephen McNeil said was in the best interests of Nova Scotians.

The top court did not give a reason for its dismissal of the appeal Thursday.

Nine unions were involved in the court action.

There are 75,000 public sector workers in Nova Scotia.

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