In the spring of 1993, a group of concerned contractors and employees met in Halifax, Nova Scotia to discuss a Supreme Court decision called the Steen Decision and the effect this decision could potentially have on the construction industry in Nova Scotia.
The Steen Decision had ruled that any general contractor with a bargaining relationship with even one union would be only permitted to hire union subcontractors. As a result of this meeting, an organization was formed to represent open shop contractors and workers in the province who felt they would lose their right to work on construction sites in Nova Scotia and remain union free.
The organization was originally called The Right to Work and then later became known as Merit Contractors Association of Nova Scotia – and was successful in having the John Savage government pass a bill in legislature which reversed the Steen Decision. This allowed unionized general contractors to hire and partner with open shop contractors (and their employees) to work alongside each other on the same construction sites.