On March 10th, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal held that a government statement made to the province’s teachers union in the course of collective agreement bargaining was not subject to settlement or case-by-case privilege.
The union has brought an application that alleges breach of the duty to bargain in good faith and a Charter infringement. The statement it wishes to use in this application is hardly a secret. The Deputy Minister of Finance and the Treasury Board apparently told the Union’s lead negotiator that, if the teachers did not accept an offer, the Government would introduce legislation to impose lower compensation. The negotiator then conveyed the statement to the union’s 9,300 person membership by way of letter in advance of a ratification vote.
In this context the Court held that the a privilege claim could not be rightly made. In addressing the settlement privilege claim, the Court also held that the inevitability of litigation could not be presumed.