The province introduced an act today, Nov. 19, to improve labour relations. The Labour Board Act merges six boards into one, simplifies how workplace disputes are handled, and establishes a committee to keep labour relations laws relevant. “We know that employers and unions want to make labour relations work smoother in Nova Scotia, and our staff have suggested ways to bring our legislation and processes in line with other parts of Canada,” said Labour and Workforce Development Minister Marilyn More. “In the past, labour relations has sometimes been adversarial and we think the establishment of a Labour Management Review Committee will re-focus both sides on moving forward. As well, the new Labour Board will make labour relations more consistent, more efficient and more timely. “The committee, the new Labour Board and other changes to several pieces of legislation is a major change in how employers, employees and their unions resolve their issues.” If the bill is passed, the Labour Relations Board, the Civil Service Employee Relations Board, the Highway Workers’ Employee Relations Board and the Correctional Facilities Employee Relations Board would become the Labour Board in early 2011. In the following months, the Occupational Health and Safety Appeal Panel and the Labour Standards Tribunal would join the Labour Board. A full-time Labour Board chair would be appointed for a five-year term through an Order-in-Council. Existing board members would sit on the Labour Board until their current term ends and could apply for reappointment. Among other changes are the elimination of lists that outline the terms of employment that can be sent to arbitration if the parties have no right to strike or lock out, and allowing government workers to continue to be represented by a union if their work moves to a private company. The changes follow a three-and-a-half-month consultation with stakeholders.