Agreement with Nova Scotia government restores union rights for school specialists

Nova Scotia Teachers Union building. File/ Global News

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union says it has reached an agreement with the province that restores the union rights of school psychologists, speech language pathologists and social workers.

The union said Thursday that after the deal was reached, the province dropped its judicial review of a 2019 decision by arbitrator Eric Sloan, who said the government breached the union agreement.

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Under the new deal, all specialists in the public school system will again become union members retroactive to their hiring date.

The dispute began in 2018, after the province dropped a requirement for new hires to get a special teacher’s certificate, something Education Minister Zach Churchill said was necessary to provide services through the summer months.

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While the majority of specialists will remain in 10-month positions that coincide with the instructional year, 30 per cent will hold 12-month positions and will be able to provide services in the summer.

Union president Paul Wozney said in a statement that specialists can breathe a sigh of relief now that the two-year fight with the province is behind them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2020.

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