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Environment and Conservation
December 14, 2011

The following is being distributed at the request of the Labour Relations Agency:

Review of Special Project Order Provisions to Take Place in New Year

A review of current labour legislation in the province with respect to the provisions of special project orders will get underway early in the new year. Labour relations consultant, James Oakley, has been appointed to conduct the review and will consult with those involved in major construction projects that use special project order designation.

“Major construction projects are continuing to grow in this province and are a major contributor to our economy,” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency. “It is prudent for us to take this opportunity to review the legislation to ensure that it supports the needs of stakeholders engaged on major projects, and achieves the intended effect of labour stability.”

Under the Labour Relations Act, a special project is defined as an undertaking of construction work which is designed for the purpose of developing a natural resource, or establishing a primary industry that is planned to require a construction period exceeding three years. Over the past number of years, the province has witnessed an increase in the number of major construction projects and subsequent requests for special project orders. There are two orders in effect today - Bull Arm and Long Harbour.

“I have asked Mr. Oakley to meet with labour, management and other interested parties to discuss their views and suggestions as to how workers and management can work in partnership to continue to build Newfoundland and Labrador’s reputation as a significant player in major construction projects,” said Minister French. “I anticipate the feedback from these consultations will provide us with the information needed to continue to maintain a positive labour relations environment for future major developments.”

Any changes to special project order provisions of the legislation arising from this consultation process will not affect projects currently captured by special order in Newfoundland and Labrador.

While the focus of these consultations is on stakeholders who use special project orders to support major construction projects in the province, anyone wishing to provide input may do so by contacting James Oakley at joakley@nfld.net 

The Terms of Reference for the review can be found at www.gov.nl.ca/lra/ 

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Media contact:
Melony O’Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 689-0928

Biographical Information

Mr. James Oakley is an arbitrator, mediator and lawyer. He has extensive experience in labour relations and labour management dispute resolution in Newfoundland and Labrador and other provinces in Canada.

Mr. Oakley has served as Chairperson (Interim) and Vice Chairperson of the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Board. He chaired a labour standards review board that recommended reform of provincial employment standards legislation.

As an arbitrator, Mr. Oakley serves on panels of arbitrators listed in collective agreements. He hears rights arbitration disputes between unions and employers in various workplace settings, including the construction industry.

A member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, Mr. Oakley is currently the Chairperson of the Canadian region of the academy. He holds the designations of Chartered Arbitrator from the ADR Institute of Canada, and MCIArb from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has a law practice in St. John’s and is a Master of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Oakley holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta, Bachelor of Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario and Master of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School. He is a frequent speaker at labour relations conferences and continuing legal education seminars.

2011 12 14             11:25 a.m.

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