Press Release: Injunction against NSH “deemed resigned” deadline.

On February 21, 2024 Nova Scotia Health (NSH), a private charity organization, sent out a policy change letter to NSH employees who, for the last 800+ days, had been on involuntary unpaid leave due to the organization’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
The recipients of this letter were given an arbitrary deadline of March 15 to state their intent to return to work or be “deemed resigned”, a function that cannot be performed by an employer (Labour Code section 71). No consideration was given for the harm and trauma many of these “high risk setting” workers had suffered for over two years. The returning workers were essentially being forced into making a decision based on no information of what the return would entail.
They were given 23 days to decide if they wanted to return to an employer who had, hand-in-hand with the Unions, violated their employee and labour rights (Trade Union Act s54(a)(3)) and under whom many of these employees experienced bullying, discriminatory and unequal treatment and actions that continue to defy logic and scientific fact,” says Tara Ibrahim, Citizens’ Alliance NS Board Member. “These actions, by both Unions and NSH, set labour relations back decades if not centuries.
The NSH ultimatum issued to affected employees didn’t allow for any time to have conversations with their Unions or follow proper process for grievances and complaints. “CANS was hearing from many of the employees that after receiving the NSH letter they reached out to their unions and managers but received either no response or responses that said they had no information to share at this time, and that the unions themselves needed to meet with their own legal teams first before they could give any specific information,” says Ibrahim.
On March 12 an ex parte injunction was filed by an affected NSH applicant in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia against NSH to prevent the automatic termination of employees if they had not responded to NSH with their intent by March 15.
The injunction was heard in Halifax on Friday March 15th at 9:30AM with an NSH staff lawyer present. The outcomes: (1) NSH agreed to the elimination of the deadline for the applicant and (2) after engaging in spotty to no communication with all the affected employees for over two years, NSH offered to have dialogue with the applicant in reference to return-to-work conditions and addressing concerns around labour law violations.

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