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Wednesday, May 06, 2020 @ 9:13 AM  

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Appeal by Doctors Nova Scotia from a decision finding that the respondent Province was entitled to enter into agreements directly with physicians even though the appellant was the sole bargaining agent for doctors in the Province pursuant to s. 7(1) of the Doctors Nova Scotia Act. The appellant argued that because of its designation as sole bargaining agent for its members, the Province had no authority to negotiate agreements with individual physicians not in the employ of the Province. The application judge found that, other than the requirement to negotiate physician compensation with the appellant, there was nothing that mandated the Province to contract with the appellant or restricted the Province from entering into agreements directly with physicians. She found the purpose of the appellant’s appointment as sole bargaining agent was to ensure that its members were bound by any agreements entered by the appellant with the Province.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The appellant was not permitted to adduce several Agreements as fresh evidence. The fresh evidence was irrelevant to the statutory interpretation issue raised by the application and did not affect a potentially decisive issue nor could it be expected to have impacted the result. The appellant’s legislated designation as sole bargaining agent for all physicians in Nova Scotia did not mean that only the appellant could negotiate and enter into agreements for the delivery of physician services, exclusive of the individual physicians themselves. The physicians’ individual right to contract and negotiate directly with the Minister had not been removed by s. 7(1) of the Act. The inclusion of the words “sole bargaining agent” in s. 7(1) was for the purpose of confirming that any agreements reached with the Province with respect to the subjects listed in that section would be binding on all medical practitioners except for those employed by the Department of Health.

Doctors Nova Scotia v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General), [2020] N.S.J. No. 111, Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, M.J. Wood C.J.N.S., L.L. Oland and E. Van den Eynden JJ.A., March 11, 2020. Digest No. TLD-May42020005