Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union found in violation of Elections Act

Newspaper ad was non-partisan, union says
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/08/2013

A newspaper ad running in a Halifax newspaper was determined to be election advertising, Elections Nova Scotia says, and is in violation of the Elections Act.

The Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union (NSTU) ran the ad in the Chronicle Herald without registering as a third party, stating that the ad was authorized by the union or identifying itself in any way. After receiving a complaint about the ad Elections Nova Scotia launched an investigation and determined the ad was election advertising. It told NSTU it must register as a third party to meet legislation requirements.

NSTU president Shelley Morse said the union will work with Elections Nova Scotia to address the issue, but denied the union violated the Elections Act. Morse cited the Teaching Profession Act, which gives the NSTU the authority to promote public education throughout the province.

“We take our obligation under this act very seriously,” Morse said. “And because of this we do not believe that NSTU engaged in election advertising under the Elections Act.”

The ad showed a teacher in her classroom and explained she spent $600 of her own money to buy supplies for her students. The ad directed members of the public to the Stand for Education website, a joint project between education partners in the province including NSTU, the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations and La Fédération des parents de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

The website posed five questions concerning education that it encouraged members of the public to ask election candidates. The Stand for Education campaign encourages the public to demand its elected officials make public education a priority.

“The NSTU continues to maintain its historical position of not attaching itself to any political party,” Morse said. “We encourage our members, parents and other members of the public to ask candidates about their priorities or public education to best meet the needs of all students in Nova Scotia.”

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