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If you are member of the media and would like to speak to us for an upcoming article or news item, please contact Leanne Hendriks in Communications by email [email protected] or by phone at 306.652.1011 ext. 2244

Media Release: SaskParty Looks to End Public Services, but Saskatchewan Deserves Action

For Immediate Release
October 27, 2022

Saskatchewan – Wednesday’s Throne Speech from the SaskParty lacked new and substantive information regarding the government’s plans for this new session in the Legislature. The Throne Speech outlined monetary allocations and plans the SaskParty has already released to the public, including the Health Human Resources Action Plan. This plan is heavily focused on international recruitment, but lacks in real, actionable steps to retain workers currently in the public healthcare sector.

Media Release: Health Care Workers Rally for More Respect

October 20, 2022

For Immediate Release

Saskatchewan – Three days before the start of Health Care Providers’ Week in Saskatchewan, SEIU-West members from the healthcare sector and their supporters are marching from the Delta Marriott Downtown to the Saskatoon Cabinet Office to send the provincial government a message: healthcare workers need more than empty words of praise—they need more staff and a raise.

Media Release: Clearing Surgical Backlogs a Team Effort

Saskatchewan – A commitment to catch up on surgical backlogs was announced in the Saskatchewan provincial budget leaving SEIU-West members speculating where additional staff will be drawn from given shortages we’re already seeing in health care providers working as part of the surgical team.

Media Release: Gross Mismanagement, Not Just COVID-19, is Killing Saskatchewan’s Health Care System

Saskatchewan – SEIU-West members and leaders were stunned to find out that there will be no more patient transfers happening from Saskatchewan’s collapsed health care system. We are appalled at the complete failure of the provincial government’s management of the COVID19 crisis and demanding the politically-motivated decision-making end immediately.

“Patients in serious need of lifesaving care are waiting in peril because of the never-ending, politically motivated too little/too late actions of Premier Scott Moe and his government,” says SEIU-West President Barb Cape. “This government has abdicated its responsibilities by relying on non-medical experts to run the response to this fourth wave – it’s hard to believe I have to say this, but it’s time Moe and the politicians get out of the way and let medical and public health professionals try to salvage this disaster.”

“Our Premier, even with the benefit of being able to watch management responses in other healthy and safe provinces, has blown every opportunity he’s had to get ahead of each COVID wave by putting his politics ahead of human life,” Cape adds. “We all saw this coming. We’re not the only ones who have been raising alarm bells and this government is simply not listening or taking advice, or help, from anyone, including their blatant contradictions of Saskatchewan’s CMHO, who wept yesterday over the lack of humanity.”

Sask Party mismanagement of the pandemic has been political, deliberate and unapologetic since day one, with Scott Moe and his Health Ministers squandering every opportunity they’ve had to make this better. The constant deflection of responsibility, pointing fingers elsewhere, blaming the feds has to stop.

“The shocking audacity to pursue options in America, as opposed to taking the offered help from the federal government, resulting in delayed relief in Saskatchewan, was bad enough,” continues Cape. “Today, Saskatchewan’s health and long-term care environment is dangerously unsafe for patients and ALL health care workers, including their non-medical teammates.”

SEIU-West members are tired, frustrated and mad. That’s why they will be calling the Premier and the Minister of Health today to tell them to get out of the way and let the experts in the health care system take the lead.

Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) represents over 13,000 people across Saskatchewan. They include people who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors. SEIU-West members, like all health care and essential workers across Saskatchewan, have been providing hands-on care and in-person services since the very start of the pandemic, enduring extraordinary personal mental, physical and financial hurdles including the absence of and/or insufficient personal protective equipment, inconsistent application of protocols, isolation and lack of mental health supports, short-staffing levels and unfair, arbitrary distribution of Donna Harpauer’s temporary wage supplement. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members


For more information, contact:

Tammy Nicklas

Project Coordinator

306-652-1011 ext. 2225

For a downloadable PDF, please click here.

Media Release: Making health care workers scapegoats no way to manage COVID-19 pandemic

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2021

Making health care workers scapegoats no way to manage COVID-19 pandemic

Three unions representing health care providers in Saskatchewan – SGEU, CUPE and SEIU-West – are angry and disappointed by the Sask Party government’s decision to impose an emergency order that will allow it to redeploy thousands of health care workers from their normal jobs.

The government threatened publicly on September 10 that it would issue an emergency order on September 13 if talks with the unions, which commenced on September 9, didn’t result in an agreement to allow for employee redeployment. Instead, government advised it would impose a previously negotiated Letter of Understanding (LOU), which expired in July, between the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and a number of unions representing health care workers. SHA representatives and health care provider unions had just concluded a negotiation session Monday afternoon when the government issued the emergency order.

“For months, health providers and their unions have been calling on the government to take action to stop the rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 that are overwhelming the health care system,” said Sandra Seitz, CUPE 5430 President. “Instead, the government ‘ignored the science’ and passively watched this latest COVID crisis unfold. Now, after progress was made in negotiations with the SHA, we are disappointed and discouraged to see the government take such a heavy-handed approach with health care workers.”

The previous LOU enabled the SHA to move thousands of workers between different jobs to meet the needs of Saskatchewan’s pandemic response. That LOU expired earlier this year when the province lifted the public health order and removed all pandemic restrictions and measures. Since that time, vaccination rates have stalled, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased to record levels, and health care workers of all types have faced unprecedented workloads with many staff suffering burnout and chronic fatigue. Negotiations for a new LOU would have provided labour mobility while proactively addressing the issues health care workers endure in their provision of care.

"It’s unacceptable for the premier to refuse to enact even the most basic, common-sense measures like indoor masking for the general public,” said Tracey Sauer, SGEU President. “Yet he's more than willing to demand additional sacrifices from health care workers who have already gone above and beyond during extreme conditions over the past 18 months."

Last week, the government announced a reduction in non-critical or elective services in order to expand surge capacity in the health system. It also announced plans to further privatize a number of health services by outsourcing contact tracing and testing as well as thousands of MRIs to private, for-profit companies to help alleviate strains on the system.

At a time when the premier claims the health care system is in such deep crisis that he must circumvent health care workers’ basic rights and the foundations of our public health system, Mr. Moe has refused to consider re-introducing a low-cost, easily implemented mask mandate.

This despite the fact that the media has reported that the government’s own research shows a mask mandate could reduce cases by as much as 50 per cent.

“Instead of providing effective leadership to get us through the fourth wave of the pandemic, it’s clear the premier is blaming and threatening health care providers for the pressures in the health care system caused by his government’s inaction,” said Neil Colmin, SEIU-West Vice-President. “The premier and his health minister have expressed gratitude to health care workers in the past and have referred to them as heroes, but these recent actions to force health care workers back into unhealthy and unsafe workplace conditions speak louder than words. This is not how a government should treat its heroes.”

SGEU, CUPE and SEIU-West represent over 30,000 health care providers working in acute care, home care, public health and long-term care across the province.


For more information, please contact:

Carolyn Rebeyka
Communications Officer, SGEU
Phone: 306-519-2903

Christine Miller
Communications, SEIU-West
Phone: 306-477-8733

Tannara Yelland
Communications Representative, CUPE
Phone: 647-459-0729

Click here to download a PDF of this release.

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