Local labour lawyer says inquiry into ongoing Chronicle Herald dispute 'lacks teeth' - NEWS 95.7
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Local labour lawyer says inquiry into ongoing Chronicle Herald dispute 'lacks teeth'

A sign for the Halifax Chronicle Herald is seen as members of the newsroom union picket outside the newspaper's office on Saturday, January 23, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

HALIFAX – A local labour lawyer says while the commissioning of an inquiry into the ongoing Chronicle Herald dispute might sound good, it lacks ‘teeth’.

Leah Kutcher, with McInnes Cooper in Halifax, said nothing about the inquiry is binding and this dispute could continue on after.

According to Kutcher, the most interesting part is the possibility of the commissioner calling a public hearing, during which he’d have the same power as a court of law.

“This means the commission can enforce witnesses, compel evidence and order the production of documents,” she said. “So what that means in some respects, is the public will get a peek into what is happening in the dispute.”

Depending on how far apart the sides are, that may or may not happen, but Kutcher says that could be the only way a deal is reached, since either side may not want details of negotiations to become public.

“The whole process may roll out, and at the end of the day nothing changes where they are still on strike and they don’t reach an agreement.”

A mediation process will begin on August 4.

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