By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
Amendments to essential services legislation (Part VII of The Saskatchewan Employment Act) came into effect January 1, 2016. Key changes to the legislation include:
- Removing the definition of “essential services”. The parties will determine what services are essential for their respective organizations.
- Establishing an independent third-party dispute resolution body that will render decisions on what services are essential. An Essential Services Tribunal can also rule whether an essential services agreement substantially interferes with the exercise of a strike or lockout.
- Providing for binding mediation-arbitration when an essential services agreement is found to substantially interfere with the exercise of a strike or lockout.
- Requiring the parties to include in the Notice of Impasse whether there are essential services to be maintained in the event of a strike or lockout.
- Changing the cooling-off period from 14 days to seven days in cases where essential services are identified.
- Establishing a maximum of 60 days for binding mandatory mediation/conciliation, except where the parties mutually agree to a longer time period.
For more information, please see the Government of Saskatchewan news page.