New Brunswick government narrowly passes legislation affecting nursing homes

FREDERICTON—The New Brunswick government has narrowly passed changes to legislation to limit the number of nursing home workers who are able to go on strike.

The changes to the Essential Services in Nursing Homes Act passed by a vote of 24-22 on Friday as the three members of the People’s Alliance party sided with the minority Progressive Conservatives.

Nursing home workers and their supporters chanted and heckled from the legislature’s public gallery during the vote, and were ordered removed by the Speaker.

They went on to voice their discontent outside, with one union leader saying the wording of the act is identical to legislation being challenged in the courts in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

CUPE New Brunswick president Brien Watson says a similar challenge could be launched in New Brunswick.

The nursing home workers have been without a new contract since 2016, and say it will be years before new deals are reached because of the changes in the legislation.

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TORONTO STAR