Conciliator could start next week in Nova Scotia health contract talks: minister

Nova Scotia's labour minister says he will appoint a conciliator in stalled contract talks with four health care unions.

Labi Kousoulis says the request was made by the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre.

Kousoulis says under the negotiating process a government conciliator must be appointed within 14 days, but he says one could be in place as early as next week.

The contract negotiation is the first since the government merged district health authorities in 2014 and reduced the number of health care bargaining units from 50 to four.

Kousoulis says if conciliation talks fail he would need to discuss sticking points with his department and contemplate next steps, but he didn't elaborate.

He says the talks with the unions representing nurses and other health care workers won't have any effect on the service patients can expect at hospitals.