About Us

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union maintains the original concepts of its  founding members -- to unify and elevate the teaching profession and to  improve the quality of education offered our young people.

NSTU membership includes active, retired, associate, regular and active  reserve and honourary members. There are over 10,000 active members.  Members of the NSTU include Primary to 12 public school teachers and the  Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority teachers.

Between sessions of Council, the NSTU is governed by a 23-member  Provincial Executive which includes a full-time president. The Executive  Director and staff execute the policy and programs of the Union as directed  by Council and the Provincial Executive.

In order to serve the needs of over 10,000 members, the NSTU functions with  the assistance of NSTU Representatives, district Locals, Regional  Representative Councils, provincial committees and professional  associations that represent members with particular areas of professional  interest.

This organizational structure provides two-way communication to and from members in every area of the province. The needs and concerns of  members are conveyed to our education partners: the provincial  Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Nova  Scotia Community College, politicians, the Nova Scotia School Boards  Association (NSSBA), the Association of Nova Scotia Educational  Administrators (ANSEA), the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School  Associations (NSFHSA), La Fédération des parents acadiens de la  Nouvelle-Écosse (FPANE), parents, the media, and the wider community.


Mission Statement

As the unified voice for the advocacy and support of all its  members, the NSTU promotes and advances the teaching  profession and quality public education.

En tant que porte-parole unifié pour la défense et le soutien de tous  ses membres, le NSTU assure la  promotion et la progression de la  profession enseignante et de la qualité de l'enseignement public.

History of the NSTU

Upper Stewiacke was the site of the first teachers' association in Nova Scotia; by 1851 at least 12 were formed in the province. In 1862 the Educational Association of Nova Scotia was formed for the general advancement of education and the elevation of the professional and social status of teachers. In 1895 the Nova Scotia Teachers Union was founded. Margaret Graham, Central Economy, exhorted the group on the need for organization. Robert MacLellan, principal of Pictou Academy, was elected president of the Union, and W. T. Kennedy, a principal in Halifax City was named secretary-treasurer. The next year, an NSTU constitution was adopted to elevate and unify the profession; bring claims of the profession to the public and Legislature; keep abreast of worldwide trends; increase the capabilities, salaries and working conditions of teachers; and provide teacher protection. In 1903 the NSTU was reorganized following seven years without an annual meeting. Later meetings of the Union were recorded for the years 1908, 1910, 1912, 1916, 1918 and 1920. Some names prominent in Union activity in these years were W. A. Creelman, J. A. Smith, David Soloan, A. W. Woodhill and R. W. Ford.

In 1921 the NSTU was reorganized, a new constitution prepared and a special Annual Council held. The first president of the reorganized Union was H. H. Blois; Dr. M. M. Coady was secretary. In January 1922, the first NSTU Bulletin was published, predecessor of The Teacher. In 1942 a minimum provincial salary plan was established, and in 1946 the minimum salary scale was implemented. The first NSTU Handbook was printed in 1949. In 1953 Justice V. J. Pottier was named a one-member Royal Commission on Public School Finance. The Foundation Program, implemented in 1955 as the system of education finance, was described as providing equalization with stimulation. In 1974 the Royal Commission on Education Finance (Graham) was finalized and the Teachers' Collective Bargaining Act passed. The Anti-Inflation Review Board (AIB), in 1976, rolled back negotiated teacher salaries. In 1981 the Commission on Education Finance (Walker) reported to the province. In 1982, school boards were amalgamated into 21 district boards; NSTU locals adopted the district model.

The present NSTU maintains the original concepts of its founding members: to unify and elevate the teaching profession and to improve the quality of education offered our young people.

In its makeup, NSTU is governed by a 23-member provincial executive including a full time president. The executive director and professional staff execute the policy and programs of the Union as directed by its Annual Council and meetings of the executive. To manage the affairs of 10,000 plus members, the NSTU functions through district locals, a provincial committee structure, and more than 20 professional associations. Organizational structure provides communication to members in every area of the province. Through school representatives, Local councils, and the provincial executive and staff, the needs and concerns of teachers are passed to important partners in public school education: the provincial Department of Education, government, Nova Scotia School Boards Association, Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations, parents and publics.

The NSTU, with its mandate to both the profession and its publics, will continue to communicate the views of the teaching profession on important educational matters. In 1995, the NSTU observed its 100th anniversary with a continued commitment to quality education for the young people of Nova Scotia.

A history of the NSTU is available in pdf format:   Landmarks and Challenges: A Short History of the NSTU.

Our Beliefs

  • protecting and enhancing economic benefits
  • improving working conditions
  • supporting personal well-being
  • keeping members informed
  • promoting opportunities to participate
  • maintaining and promoting excellence in teaching
  • encouraging life-long learning
  • influencing educational trends through research and evaluation
  • disseminating information
  • supporting a safe and healthy learning environment
  • advancing the profession
  • advocating social justice and unionism
  • working with other organizations
  • communicating our beliefs in order to affect public opinion and policy

Le NSTU sert de principal défenseur à ses membres en :

  • protégeant et augmentant leurs avantages sociaux
  • améliorant leurs conditions de travail
  • favorisant leur bien-être personnel
  • les maintenant bien informés
  • leur donnant la possibilité de participer

Le NSTU est déterminé à orienter l'évolution de l'éducation en :

  • soutenant et favorisant l'excellence dans l'enseignement
  • encourageant l'acquisition continue du savoir
  • influençant les orientations de l'éducation par la recherche et l'évaluation
  • assurant la diffusion des informations

Le NSTU assure la promotion et l'amélioration de la qualité de l'enseignement public pour tous les élèves en :

  • favorisant un environnement d'apprentissage sécuritaire et sain
  • faisant progresser la profession
  • défendant les intérêts de la justice sociale et du syndicalisme
  • travaillant en collaboration avec d'autres organisations
  • faisant connaître ses convictions afin d'influencer l'opinion publique et la politique gouvernementale

Code of Ethics

This Code of Ethics is a guide to Members in maintaining at all times the high integrity of their profession including  professional conduct in relation to all communication whether verbal, written or via social media.

A.     Member and Pupil/Parent/Guardian

I.       The Member regards as confidential, and does not divulge other than through professional channels, any information of a personal or domestic nature, concerning either pupils or home, obtained through the course of professional duties.

II.     The Member should be just, equitable, and fair in all relationships with pupils/parents/guardians.

III.    The Member should assume responsibility for the safety and welfare of pupils, especially under conditions of emergency.

IV.    The Member should avoid giving offence to the moral principles of pupils and/or their parents/guardians.

V.     The Member should be as objective and respectful as possible in dealing with controversial matters.

VI.    The Member should not accept remuneration for tutoring their pupils except under compelling circumstances and with the approval of their supervisor or principal.

B.     Member and Member/Colleague 

I.       The Member should not make defamatory, disparaging, condescending, embarrassing, or offensive comments concerning another Member or colleague.

II.     The Member shall not make derogatory remarks about the professional competence of another Member or colleague.

III.    The Member shall not accept a position arising out of the unsettled dispute between Members, and their employers.

IV.    The Member shall not sexually, physically, or emotionally harass another Member or colleague.

C.     Member and Administration

I.       The Member should maintain a reasonable and professional level of support to internal administration of the school/educational site and regional office.

D.     Member and Professional Organization

I.       The Member who in their professional capacity is a Member of a committee, board, or authority dealing with matters affecting the educational program of Nova Scotia as a whole should be elected, appointed, or approved by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.

II.     The Member, or group of Members, should not take any individual action in matters which should be dealt with by their Local, Regional Representative Council, or by the NSTU.

III.    The Local or Regional Representative Council should not take any individual action in matters where the assistance of the NSTU has been sought, or in matters requiring the authorization of the NSTU.

E.      Member and Profession

I.       The Member’s conduct should advance and promote the teaching profession and the cause of education in the province.

II.     The Member should maintain their professional learning which will keep them abreast of the trends in education.

III.    The Member should engage in no gainful employment, outside of the contract, where the employment affects adversely their professional status, or impairs their standing with pupils, colleagues, and the community.

F.      Member and Community

I.       The Member should so conduct themselves in their private life that no dishonour may befall them or through them to the profession.