Nova Scotia's labour minister won't say if government will legislate the province's 800 paramedics back to work in the event of a strike next week.
Frank Corbett says he's hopeful both parties will sort out their issues on their own when they meet today with a conciliator.
"Hopefully that's all that's needed to get the parties back to the table and see if we can get a resolve," he said.
The paramedics won't be able to go on strike or be in a legal lockout position until July 5.
Corbett said speculating on back-to-work legislation at this point is presumptive. However, he also said legislation would not take long to write, if necessary.
"Well we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it," he said.
Last week, union members voted 73 per cent against a deal with Emergency Medical Care that would have given the province's 800 paramedics a defined benefits pension plan, a key union demand.
At information pickets this week, union members said they also want better wages, with some saying they are looking for a 15 per cent pay hike over three years rather than the 11.1 per cent over almost five years that was offered in the tentative agreement.
Dave Matheson, a part-time advanced care paramedic, says a paramedic's average hourly wage is about $24 an hour in Nova Scotia.
He said paramedics in cities in Ontario earn about $35 an hour.