Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia nurses making $100K-plus want names off Sunshine List

Members of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union said they shouldn't be on the so-called Sunshine List — which is legislated under the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act — because much of the money they make is through overtime.

Union says nurses shouldn't be on list because much of their money is made through overtime work

Janet Hazelton, the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, with Health Minister Leo Glavine in Truro Tuesday. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Nova Scotia's nurses want their names removed from a public list that highlights public sector employees who make more than $100,000 a year, Health Minister Leo Glavine was told Tuesday.

Members of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union said they shouldn't be on the so-called Sunshine List — which is legislated under the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act — because much of the money they make is through overtime.

"The act has the unintended effect of publicly shaming nurses whose only offence is to work overtime hours, offering a solution to a problem they did not create," Shannon Sidney, a nurse at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, told Glavine during the union's annual general meeting. 

"Can you commit to removing the names and locations of nurses on the list so that scrutiny is directed where it belongs?"

Law says list must be public

Under the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act, the names of public sector employees who make more than $100,000 a year must be disclosed publicly. The list comes out within six months after the end of the fiscal year.

Last year, before the creation of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, dozens of registered nurses at the nine district health authorities and IWK Health Centre made more than $100,000:

  • Annapolis Valley District Health Authority: 6
  • Cape Breton District Health Authority: 87
  • Capital District Health Authority: 90
  • Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority: 9
  • South Shore District Health Authority: 11
  • South West Nova District Health Authority: 11

The Colchester East Hants, Cumberland and Pictou County health authorities, along with the IWK Health Centre, listed names and salaries but not positions.

Reviewing how numbers are reported

"The spirit of the act was, of course, to provide accountability for public moneys," Glavine said as 260 nurses looked on. "We can certainly look at a standard in terms of publication practices."

Glavine said if nurses were being shamed, that is "truly regrettable" and he committed to reviewing how the numbers are reported.

Janet Hazelton, the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, said now it's up to her to make sure Glavine follows through on his pledge for a review.

Hazelton said nurses in smaller communities shouldn't find themselves in the spotlight simply because they get frequent calls to work overtime.

"Although the concept of exposing public moneys and who's making over $100,000 is good, it should be base salaries and not overtime," she said.

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