Canada: Atlantic Canada Legislative Update

It has been another busy year for legislatures in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for creation of new, and changes to, labour and employment legislation. The following is an update of legislation from 2012 that employers will want to ensure they are aware of as we move into 2013.



Apprenticeship and OccupationalCertification Act, SNB 2012, c. 19

This Act replaced the former Act of the same name and is now in effect. It abolishes the local apprenticeship advisory committees established under the former Act , and establishes an apprenticeship and occupational certification board that has decision-making authority over voluntary occupations. The board sets general program requirements; designates, rescinds and makes changes to voluntary occupations; makes exemptions to compulsory trades in conjunction with the minister; and determines such things as pass marks and hours required for certification. The provincial government continues to be responsible for administering the Act, including setting budgets, fees and fair wages for apprentices.

Human Rights Act (amendments), SNB 2012, c. 12

Previously, when mediation was unsuccessful in settling a human rights complaint that the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission believed should proceed, the commission would recommend to the minister of post-secondary education, training and labour to appoint a board of inquiry. The minister had discretion as to whether and when to appoint a board, and whether to appoint an adjudicator to hear the complaint or to refer it to the Labour and Employment Board. The Human Rights Act was amended to allow the commission to refer complaints directly to the Labour and Employment Board, so as to avoid the appearance of political interference. This amendment came into effect on June 13, 2012.

Pension Benefits Act (amendments), SNB 2012, c. 38

These amendments (Bill 63) came into force on July 1, 2012, and set out the framework for the Shared Risk Pension Plan (SRPP), which will be available to New Brunswick members of new and existing private and public sector pension plans. The SRPP is essentially a type of contributory, career average defined benefit pension plan that provides base benefits (including ancillary benefits), based on fund returns. The amendments also permit phased retirement in defined benefit plans. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and the federal jurisdictions all currently permit phased retirement. Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island have recently proposed legislation to permit phased retirement.

Further amendments to the Pension Benefits Act (Bill 20) received Royal Assent in December and are mostly deemed in effect retroactively to July 1, 2012, to coincide with the coming into force of the SRPP amendments noted above. Among other things, the amendments clarify that conversion to a SRPP may occur, and vested benefits may be affected, despite the terms of any contract or trust. The amendments extend existing immunity provisions to parties involved in the conversion of pension plans to SRPPs, including employers, trade unions that represent members and employee organizations that are bargaining agents of members.

Section 5 of Bill 20, that deals with the City of Saint John and the power to amend a memorandum of understanding with city unions, will come into effect on a future date by proclamation.


Right to Information andProtection of Privacy Act, SNB 2009, c. R-10.6

Definitions under this Act became effective April 1, 2012.

Educational and local government bodies came under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in September and October. The Act now applies to universities, community colleges, schools, school districts, district education councils, municipalities, local service districts and rural communities. In April 2013, local boards, including water and waste water commissions and regional service commissions will come under the Act.

Essential Services in Nursing Homes Act, SNB 2011, c. 29

Amendments, outlined in the 2012 update were proclaimed in force effective August 30, 2012.



Access to Information and Privacy Act (amendments), SNL 2012, c. 25

For those employers who are covered by the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA), there are new provisions in effect as of June 2012 relating to the release of employee relations information. ATIPPA applies to "public bodies" and public sector employers should take note of the following changes.

  • A workplace investigation is one relating to an employee's conduct in the workplace, harassment or the interaction between a public body employee with a member of the public or another employee, where that conduct may give rise to discipline by the public body employer;
  • Disclosure of information relating to a workplace investigation should be limited to the parties to that investigation, e.g., the complainant and employee involved;
  • Where a person is a witness involved in a workplace investigation, the witness has access only to the records that relate to him or her;
  • ATIPPA mandates that the head of a public body shall not disclose any information that would reveal the substance of workplace investigation records to anyone who is not a party to the investigation;
  • The head of a public body has discretion to refuse to disclose confidential labour relations information, or that which could harm the public body's competitive position, negotiation position or create significant financial loss or gain; and
  • The head of a public body may refuse to disclose the underlying information provided to, or the report of, a person or body appointed to inquire into or resolve a labour relations dispute.

Labour Relations Act (amendments), SNL 2012, c. 30
The Labour Relations Act (LRA) was amended as of June 27, 2012 and is now in effect. A discussion of those changes was addressed in our June 22, 2012 client update. Highlights of the amendments include:

  • A new card-based certification system, requiring automatic certification in instances where 65 per cent of the employees in the bargaining unit sign a union membership card. If between 40 and 64 per cent of the employees sign cards, a certification vote is required;
  • The requirement to secure "special project" designation under the legislation is reduced to two years, from the previously required three years;
  • A "special project" may be defined either by its geographic site or its scope of work, and more than one special project may overlap in duration and location;
  • Recognizing the right of an employer to communicate with employees so long as the employer does not do so in a manner that is intimidating, coercive, threatening or attempts unduly to exert influence;
  • New provisions relating to mediation of a first collective agreement and imposing time frames for the Labour Relations Board where a first collective agreement is imposed;
  • Where it is requested, the Act now requires that the parties to a collective agreement establish a labour management committee;
  • The Labour Relations Board has additional powers to address a failure to bargain in good faith; and
  • During negotiations, to allow either party to request that a vote of the employees in the bargaining unit be conducted to accept or reject either party's most recent offer.

Public Service Collective Bargaining Act (amendments), SNL 2012, c. 31

The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act (PSCBA) was amended as of June 27, 2012, but has not yet come into force. Highlights of the amendments include:

  • During collective bargaining, the employer may request that a vote of the employees in the bargaining unit be conducted, to measure employee acceptance or rejection of the employer's most recent offer.

The Labour Relations Board is called upon to administer this process, with the result that proclamation will occur once the board has developed appropriate processes and procedures to carry out the legislation. Keep an eye out for a further client update in 2013 when this new provision comes into effect.

Pension Benefits Act SNL1996, cP-4.01

The provincial government has approved a series of changes to provincial pension legislation to allow the minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, to enter into an agreement governing multi-jurisdictional pension plans where the agreement contains provisions that are not in the Act or the legislation of another jurisdiction. The Newfoundland and Labrador government session ended in late December. We will update on the progress of this legislation from the 2012 session once information is publicly available.

Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act (amendments), RSNL 1990, c W-11

This bill amends the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act to enable the creation of regulations to provide workplace health, safety and compensation coverage to volunteers engaged in search and rescue activities and auxiliary policing services. The Newfoundland and Labrador government session ended in late December. We will update on the progress of this legislation from the 2012 session once information is publicly available.


Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2012, NLR 5/12

The main changes relate to the mining industry and to blasting operations and came into effect as of March 20, 2012. The Mines Safety of Workers Regulations have now been repealed, and replaced with provisions found in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2012. The new regulations are intended to be comprehensive, simplifying the process of locating applicable rules for employers and minimizing duplication.

Key elements of the new regulations include changes relating to:

  • A requirement for increased signage when blasting operations are being carried out;
  • Transportation of explosives, including a requirement to identify a vehicle carrying explosives; and
  • Modernization of safety requirements for mining operations, relating to ventilation, mine design, and emergency procedures for mine rescue.



Transgendered Persons Protection Act, SNS 2012, c. 51

This legislation amends the Human Rights Act to include "gender identity" and "gender expression" as prohibited grounds of discrimination. It was proclaimed and the amendment came into force on December 6, 2012.

Workers' Compensation Act (amendments), SNS 2012, c. 65

Amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act gives the board the ability to adjust an amount of compensation as a permanent impairment benefit to a coal miner if an increase in the coal miner's loss of lung function was not taken account at the most recent determination of the coal miner's permanent impairment rating. This legislation came into force on December 6, 2012 and is retroactively in effect as to June 23, 2011.


As we reported in our 2011 update, an Act Respecting Pension Benefits (Bill No. 96) received Royal Assent and becomes effective on proclamation. Proclamation has not yet occurred because, before becoming law, regulations must be in place to give full effect to the new legislation. The province has recently posted draft regulations and is seeking public comment on those regulations by January 7, 2013.


Trade Union Act (amendments), SNS 2011, c. 72

Bill No. 102, an Act to prevent unnecessary labour disruptions and protect the economy by amending chapter 475 of the revised statutes, 1989, the Trade Union Act introduced first contract arbitration and was proclaimed and came into force on January 24, 2012. For a more detailed update on this legislation see our 2011 Atlantic Canada Legislative update here.


There have been a number of changes that affect particular industries in P.E.I. including: mobility issues for registered nurses; significant updates to legislation surrounding apprenticeship plans for the trades; and a new requirement that employers educate their employees on the use of fall protection mechanisms. We have also seen the third introduction of a proposed Pension Benefits Act for Prince Edward Island.


Registered Nurses Act, RSPEI 1988, c R-8.1

Bill 17, makes changes into the Registered Nurses Act which are intended to address labour mobility concerns, and meet requirements as set forth in the Labour Mobility Act. The changes to the legislation make modifications to the registration and licensing requirements which affect registered nurses with credentials from other Canadian jurisdictions. The bill received royal assent on December 7, 2012 and comes into force on a future date by proclamation.

Apprenticeship and Trades Qualification Act, RSPEI 1988, c. A-15.2

Bill No. 8 replaces the previous legislation with the same name. The new legislation is significantly more comprehensive than the old Act The new legislation clarifies the powers and duties of the Provincial Apprenticeship Board. Additionally, it allows the board to establish trade advisory committees, and to grant those committees the ability to perform any of the duties of the board.

The new Act also provides further guidance on the development of apprenticeship plans. It clarifies what is required in those agreements, and establishes the matters which the board believes are essential to becoming a successful apprentice within a specific trade.

The new Act came into effect on May 30, 2012.

Human Rights Act (amendments) SPEI 2012, c. 19

Bill No. 23 resulted in minor changes to the definition of "disability". The amendment does not substantively change the law, but the new language clarifies the meaning of "disability".

A new section was added to the Act to address the situation where the Human Rights Commission encounters a complaint made by someone other than the person affected. The executive director now has the discretion to refuse to hear a complaint brought by someone other than the affected person, unless there is written consent by the affected person.

The amendments to the Human Rights Act became effective May 30, 2012.

Bill No. 12 - Pension Benefits Act – first reading only

Bill No. 12 is the third introduction of the Pension Benefits Act in P.E.I.. It is very similar to a Bill No. 41, from the spring session (64th Gen. Ass., 2nd Sess.). For a more comprehensive review of Bill No. 41, visit our HR Law blog Bill No. 12 is also reviewed on our HR Law blog. The two bills are substantively the same. One notable difference between the two bills was made to address the elimination of partial windups. Bill No. 12 did not make it past first reading and we expect that there will be further discussion on the Pension Benefits Act after the Spring Sitting of the legislature commences on March 26, 2013.


Occupational Health and Safety – Fall Protection Regulations, P.E.I. Reg EC633/04

The fall protection regulations made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were amended this year to require employers to train employees on the use of fall protection. Previously, the employer was required to provide a means of fall protection in specified circumstances, but there was no specific requirement to train the employees on how to use that protective means. The employer is also required to make records regarding this training, and retain those records until two years after the employment relationship ends. These regulations came into effect on June 9, 2012.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.