Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

June 09, 2006 08:00 ET

REMINDER/PIPSC : Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys Considering Human Rights Complaint Against Provincial Government

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - June 9, 2006) - The Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys' Association is calling Premier Rodney MacDonald's provincial government to account for what the Association says is discriminatory treatment of Crown Attorneys returning from maternity and parental leave.

Crown Attorneys across the province and their supporters will be holding an information picket on Friday June 9 outside the legislature from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to raise public awareness of the issue.

Rick Woodburn, Association President, says one of the provinces Crown Attorneys, Shauna MacDonald, came forward to bring to light the discriminatory actions of the Government.

"When Ms. Macdonald took maternity leave she lost a year of service on the governments pay scale. Moreover, her performance rating was automatically downgraded to the lowest salary level when she returned to work. This happened on each of the two occasions that she had children."

Mr. Woodburn says the case of Shauna MacDonald is not an isolated one. "Every Crown Attorney in Nova Scotia who decides to take maternity or parental leave in order to have a family takes a financial hit."

Provincial civil servants, on the other hand, are subject to different rules and continue to earn service and seniority credits while on maternity and parental leave.

Arbitrator Bruce Outhouse decided in 2004 that he did not have the power to order the government to change its maternity and parental leave practices. He warned, however, that he doubted that the government's treatment of Crown Attorneys could withstand a legal challenge.

Mr. Woodburn says the Crown Attorneys' Association intends to pursue legal avenues if the government continues to refuse to negotiate a resolution of the problem.

"If our information picket fails to get the attention of our political leaders, we will certainly be considering a human rights complaint." Mr. Woodburn stressed, however, that the Association is willing to resolve the issue through negotiations provided, he said, that there is a will to do so on the government side.

The Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys' Association is represented at the bargaining table by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, a national union of 50,000 professionals and scientists.

Contact Information

  • Rick Woodburn
    (902) 233-6624