Nurses Vote to Accept New Agreement

Nurses represented by four unions in Nova Scotia have voted in favour of a five-year contract that will see historic improvements in wages, premiums, occupational health and safety, and work-life balance.

Voting on the agreement took place from July 21st until noon today. Approximately 87.5 per cent of those who voted cast ballots in favour of the new agreement that was reached during Conciliation.

Aside from a competitive wage package that should help retain nurses and potentially recruit nurses from outside Nova Scotia, this agreement addresses many of the challenges nurses confronted during the pandemic and continue to face today, including working short-staffed.

New contract language and a specified commitment from employers, Nova Scotia Health and the IWK Health Centre, will focus on staffing frameworks to determine the appropriate number of nurses required for each hospital unit across the province. Other highlights include workplace safety, such as access to personal protective equipment, violence on the job, and hours of work. The maximum hours of work will cap the number of consecutive hours of work at 16 hours and reduce the frequency of 24-hour shifts.

For Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who become Registered Nurses (RNs), their LPN experience will be recognized when considering placement on the RN increment scale. Practice and Leadership Premiums are available to all nurses across both employers and all unions, not just NSNU members. The late career retention bonus will increase from per cent to 3 per cent as of October 31st, 2025. And the retiree recruitment incentive will be increased to $750 per 12-month period for 30 ‘shifts’. This represents a 50 per cent increase.

The collective agreement provides for substantial increases to shift and weekend premiums, incentivizing nurses to work shifts that are traditionally harder to fill. A new preceptor premium will compensate nurses for the vital role they play in preparing new nurses entering the workforce or entering new practice areas. Charge nurses, who play a pivotal leadership role on their units, will also see an increase in the associated premium. Additionally, nurses will be paid a premium when they are reassigned to another unit, to partially compensate them for the disruption that this causes in their work-life.

A number of significant language and workload improvements were achieved during this round of negotiations thanks to the advocacy and dedication of the bargaining teams, and the Interest-Based Negotiations (IBN) process the unions participated in for the first time with the employer group.

Face-to-face bargaining with representatives from the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union, Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, CUPE, and Unifor, the IWK Health Centre, Nova Scotia Health, and the Department of Health and Wellness commenced in January 2023. The parties engaged in IBN for 27 days, followed by two days of traditional bargaining.

The Nova Scotia Council of Nursing Unions represents over 10,000 LPNs, RNs and nurse practitioners (NPs) working in acute care and public health roles in the community. These nurses had been without a contract since October 31st, 2020. The new collective agreement will expire October 31st, 2025.


For more information please contact:

Coleen Logan, Communications Officer, NSNU (902-430-6169,

Lucas Wide, NSGEU Communications Officer (902-483-0662 lwide [at]

Taylor Johnston,
Atlantic Communications Representative, CUPE (902-536-4922, tjohnston [at]

Shelley Amyotte, National Communications Representative, Unifor (902-717-7491, Shelley.Amyotte [at]

CFNU Canadian Labour Congress