A mediator has been appointed in an effort to prevent a possible strike by paramedics in Nova Scotia.

Labour Minister Frank Corbett has named John Clarke to help in contract negotiations between the union that represents the paramedics and their employer, Emergency Medical Care Inc.

Corbett said no one wants to see a strike by paramedics.

"I know both sides care deeply about patients and I am confident they are working hard toward avoiding a work disruption," Corbett said in a statement.

"We believe in the principles of collective bargaining and we are optimistic a solution can be reached."

The paramedics, represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 727, will be in a legal strike position Saturday. The air and ground paramedics in the province have been without a contract for more than two years.

Clarke is a veteran arbitrator and lawyer from St. John's who has successfully mediated numerous labour disputes.