N.S. government retains right to negotiate individual deals with doctors
Doctors Nova Scotia sought a court order to have exclusive jurisdiction to negotiate with the province
Doctors Nova Scotia has failed in its bid to block any direct negotiations between individual doctors and the provincial government.
The organization, which is recognized as the sole bargaining agent for doctors in the province, went before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to seek an order giving it exclusive jurisdiction.
But in a ruling released Wednesday, Justice Robin Gogan found that legislation does not prevent the province from negotiating alternative payment plans (APPs) with doctors who wish to work on a salaried or part-time basis.
"The Province sees its ability to negotiate APPs with individual physicians as important to attraction and retention of doctors in the province," the judge noted in her decision, "especially in under-serviced areas."
Doctors Nova Scotia said in an email on Friday it has appealed the decision. The appeal date is set for November. In the meantime, the status quo will be maintained.
What Doctors Nova Scotia argued
Doctors Nova Scotia argued that giving it exclusive jurisdiction would prevent different parts of the province from competing with one another to attract doctors.
Gogan said she takes a more narrow view of what the legislation allows.
"I conclude that the words 'sole bargaining agent' were chosen only to underscore the notion that any agreements entered into by [Doctors Nova Scotia] would be binding on members. Nothing more," she wrote.