Q55. What is in Bill 75?

It’s complicated, but essentially it legislates the second tentative agreement with teachers

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A55. Bill 75, the Teachers’ Professional Agreement and Classroom Improvements (2017) Act, received first reading in the legislature on February 14, 2017. It received third reading and Royal Assent on February 21, 2017.

Bill 75 is too long to reproduce here. The official version of the bill is available via the legislature’s website. The key features of the bill are:

  1. The bill imposes a four-year professional agreement that expires July 31, 2019. Because a professional agreement is being imposed, any strike action will be illegal as soon as the bill passes.
  2. The bill incorporates the wage and long-service award provisions from the second tentative agreement. Over a four-year contract, that’s 0-0-1-1.5 and a final 0.5% on the last day of the fourth year. Long-service awards are calculated by multiplying (i) years of service on July 31, 2015, and (ii) salary at retirement.
  3. There will be a Commission on Inclusive Education (sections 4-11). There will also be a Council to Improve Classroom Conditions.
  4. The bill does not apply to other unionized public-sector workers, except for one small detail concerning long-service awards.
  5. Class-size guidelines in Schedule B (page 24) are in force for 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  6. Work-to-rule cannot include any of the teachers’ duties listed in sections 26 or 31 of the Education Act (section 13). Enforcement of these duties is not specified in the Act, and would presumably fall to normal performance management and discipline procedures.

There is also a provision stating that the constitutionality of Bill 75 cannot be decided by an arbitrator.  That does not oust the jurisdiction of the courts.

 

Author: Graham Steele

A former MLA in Nova Scotia, currently Professor of Business Law in the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University