According to the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, 36 out of 71 government employees asked to relocate from Halifax to New Waterford, Shelburne or Truro will not follow their jobs.
According to the union, only 39 of the 71 employees have made their intentions clear.
“To turn 71 peoples’ lives up in turmoil and to jeopardize the level of service because they want to have jobs in rural Nova Scotia, I don’t think that was a good trade-off,” union president Joan Jessome said.
Darrell Dexter’s NDP government announced earlier this year that employees from the departments of justice, agriculture, and fisheries and aquaculture would have their jobs moved from Halifax to rural areas.
According to government documents, the move was expected to cost between $1.5 million and $2.4 million. The government repeatedly stressed the move was not to save money, but to more effectively deliver services.
Of 23 justice department employees, 22 refused to move from Halifax to New Waterford, according to the union.
Justice Minister Ross Landry said he understands the request may be “traumatic” for some.
“We know that for some people to move it’s a very traumatic situation,” Landry told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s very demanding (on) family structures.”
The deadline for decisions has been extended to July 4. Jessome said she’s “optimistic” the affected employees will be able to find other jobs.