Canadian Industrial Relations


The terms industrial relations and employment relations are increasingly being used interchangeably in defining the relationships in the context of employment. Industrial relations are also viewed as part of the broader trend of the human resource management. Human resource management defines the prevailing relationships between the employees and employers in the industrial settings. This term is used in describing the relationship that the employer has with his workers and this can indirectly or directly come from the union-organizational relationship (Caroline, 1997).

Connection between workers who the industrial unions represent and their employers is defined by this concept. Labor relations perceive workers as relating to employers in a narrow scope of the unionized entity. However, industrial relations perceive the employer-employee relationship as originating from the broader context that revolves on labor policy and laws, labor unionism, employee management and collective bargaining relations (Arensberg, 2012).

The Role of Unions and Unionized Workers in Nova Scotia Economy

Richard (2005) notes that, labor relations in Canada have become vital but complex phenomena because in the economy of Nova Scotia that is increasingly industrialized, achieving development without harmonious and corporation labor relationships is impossible. Although unionized workers and unions can play a vital role of perpetuating the employer-employee relationship among the economies of Nova Scotia, their importance in the industrial society of Canada has raised mixed reactions.

This has posed good and bad news to those who are fighting to survive. Unionized workers and unions play a crucial role in perpetuating the prosperity of a society in entirety. Consequently, this has led to their significant approval by a majority of the Canadians who see the concepts as a platform that provides a successful industrial economy in Canada.

Robert (2013) observes that, unionized workers and unions promote fairness and safety at the workplace. Unlike the employees who lack unions, unionized workers get better salaries because their employers offer them better benefits which make balancing domestic life and work life possible.

While employers realize the essence of promoting the wellness of their employees to improve their performance at work, they also use fair treatment in enforcing their rights. Unions on the other hand can play a significant role in the promotion of social programs whose goal is to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare in the larger society in the entire Canada regardless of the income level or place of residence of the workers. Unions’ integration in the economy of Nova Scotia would ensure the improvement of quality of life which would promote the society’s wellbeing.

Productivity in the economy of Nova Scotia can also be enhanced by the unions. Richard (2005) notes that, unionized workers play a vital role in the fight against the employers who depend on cheap labor to maximize the time spent by employees as a way of enhancing the profitability advantage.

Unionized employees in various organizations pressure employers so that they can invest in the latest technologies that enhance their skills and consequently improving their general productivity. Unions on the other hand have improved their agreements and connections in enhancing technological change in the entire economy of Nova Scotia. This has enhanced productivity in the organizations. Throughout the region, unions have inclined their efforts towards new technologies’ promotion in various organizations so that they can facilitate employment safety, security, and productivity in the organizations.

These developments have been supported by most citizens in Canada and the Labor Congress. Nevertheless, the Canadian government has greatly challenged the efforts that unionized workers and unions have portrayed. This has affected the success of the economy of Nova Scotia. Judy (2006) notes that, the offices of the government at the provincial level have always advocated for the Labor Legislation style of the U.S.

This style undermines the negotiation ability of the unions. The Anti-Union Initiatives introduced by the governments undermines the efforts of the unions in promoting the entire economy of Nova Scotia. Consequently, the ability of the economy to develop is suppressed continually. From the point of view of Judy, the voices of the suppressed unionized workers and the unions have continually been taken advantage of by the employers who continue to maximize profitable edge.

Regardless of the challenges that the unions face however, they are still the only hope that the economy of Nova Scotia has and the unionized workers as the unions have to challenge the corporate legislative and government systems so that they can instill change that will lead to enhanced innovative development.

The Right to Strike

Nova Scotia has a conservative government that continues to intensify anti-strike legislation. This denies the health workers their right to go on a strike. Despite not having been voted in, the new legislation is being protested by many protestors who include the labor unions. The unions have been accorded protesting right by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provided that their actions maintain certain limits.

However, the government of Nova Scotia has come up with new arrangements for violating these rights even they observe the limits. Gregor (2001) view the new development that the government is advocating for as a form of political maneuvering.  The hope of the conservative government is to use this anti-strike legislation in winning support from the electorates during elections.

It is the right of healthcare workers regardless of whether they are in the unions or not to exercise their constitutionally provided democratic rights and freedoms through strikes. In paving way for this legislation, the opposition government is using supposed protection of the larger society’s wellbeing as a scapegoat. However, this is a violation of the democratic rights of the healthcare workers both in and outside the unions. The legislation restricts the unions from holding protests and this can pose challenges which might cause problems and long term impact on their lives.

The Right to Strike can be denied under certain Circumstances

Arensberg (2010) notes that, denying the healthcare experts their rights and freedom to assemble is a way of perpetuating a crisis that is inflicted on the entire economy of Canada. This is due to the fact that the supposed intention of protecting the larger population of Nova Scotia’s wellbeing is not the genuine cause of the efforts. External monopolies have triggered these efforts and they actively aim at scooping the wealth of the nation that would be used otherwise in enhancing the Canadian social economy. Just like the other public workers, it is the right of the healthcare workers to express their issues and concerns freely in regards to matters that will impact on their lives.

Nevertheless, limitation of such rights can only occur if their protests are violent since this violates the public’s wellbeing. The role of the unions in the promotion of collective bargaining should also be respected by the protestors. This is because it should be the major determinant of whether they should take to the streets more so when the employers decline honoring the agreements reached between the union workers and them.

The First Contract Negotiation

The proposal of the initial contract negotiation that is also called the new anti-strike legislation is that healthcare workers in Nova Scotia can use other alternatives in settling employment issues apart from striking. Boutilier (2008) notes that, the opposition government in Nova Scotia defines strikes as illegal approaches in settling labor issues because healthcare workers offer crucial services that promotes the public’s wellbeing.

However, the new legislative is not only oppressive but also a violation of the right of the healthcare workers to protect their future. The intention of the legislation is to isolate the healthcare workers from other workers in the public sector so that it can create a path for political gain. Restricting the healthcare workers from striking wins support from the public because this is seen as a way of protecting the public health. For a long while, the opposition government did not appear in parliament for several successive elections. As such, its aim is to employ this legislation in winning support from most people and get more parliamentary seats.

How to Improve Workers Rights

For healthcare workers’ rights to be improved, the new legislation ought to pass. However, this would violate all the democratic rights that include the right to assemble and expression freedom via which workers can protect their future.  The opposition government of Nova Scotia defines the healthcare workers protests as oppressive and selfish to the public interests.

Those in support of the legislation advocate for the instilment of high amounts in fines as well as other penalties to the unions whose aim is supposedly to protect the sick. Thus, the best means of promoting workers rights can be achieved via the elimination of this new legislation because it is oppressive and it can lead to a disastrous future.


Unionized workers and unions have a crucial role to play in the promotion of the Canadian economy’s success more so by perpetuating better salary packages and technological change. Therefore, this new legislation that the opposition government in Nova Scotia is advocating for should be opposed because it will suppress the democratic rights of the workers that include their expression freedom and the right to assemble.


Arensberg, C.M. (2012). Research in Industrial Human Relations: A Critical Appraisal, New York: Harper.

Boutilier, E. (2008). Nova Scotia’s Proposed Anti-Strike Legislation and the Rights of all, retrieved on 3rd August, 2013 Retrieved from

Caroline, W.L. (1997). Union Management Relations in Canada. Journal of Canadian Industrial Science, 14 (2), 96-126.

Gregor, M. (2001). Presentation of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association’s Gerard Dion Award to Professor Shirley Goldenberg. Journal of Labor, 22 (1), 112-124.

Judy, H. (2006). Zero-Tolerance: Can it Work in a Unionized Environment. Journal of Labor, 58 (2), 71-90.

Richard, R. (2005). The Historical Origins of an Industrial Disaster: Occupational Health and Labor Relations at the Fluorspar Mines, St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, 1933-1945. Journal of Labor, 55 (3), 61-90.

Robert, B. (2013). Is Industrial Unrest Reviving in Canada? Strike Duration in the Early Twenty-Century. Canadian Review of Sociology, 50 (2), 68-89.

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