05/05/2015 09:22 EDT | Updated 05/05/2016 05:59 EDT

Suspicious packages in Nova Scotia linked with packages in Western Canada

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's Justice Department has confirmed a connection between the delivery of suspicious packages from Asia to five courthouses in the province and similar deliveries in Manitoba in April.

Packages arrived Tuesday at courthouses in Bridgewater, Kentville, Truro and Halifax, said department spokesman Andrew Preeper.

On Monday, four employees of a courthouse in Amherst were released from hospital after complaining of nausea, dizziness and burning to the throat following the delivery of a suspicious package there.

Preeper said the cause of their symptoms remains unclear.

There were no reports of health concerns among courthouse staff related to the latest incidents.

"The safety of our staff and the public is our highest priority," Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab said in a statement.

"Police have been notified and we have also reinforced safety protocols with court staff to ensure any suspicious letter or package is handled appropriately."

Similar packages were received April 8 at Manitoba provincial court buildings in Winnipeg, Brandon, Morden and Minnedosa — all of which tested negative for dangerous substances.

Elizabeth Dahl, a spokeswoman for the Manitoba provincial court system, said she was told the packages contained reams of paper filled with case law. As well, she said packages, believed to be from China, were also sent to court offices in Portage La Prairie and Thompson.

"There was nothing volatile in the packages," she said in an interview. "There wasn't any noxious substance attached to these documents."

Dahl said people who handle mail for the provincial court are being sent to Winnipeg later this month to be trained how to deal with suspicious letters and packages.