For Immediate Release
March 23, 2023
Regina—In release of the 2023-2024 provincial budget, it was made abundantly clear that the SaskParty doesn’t care about the struggles faced by regular working people and the most vulnerable populations in our province.
“Listen, we get the notion of making choices,” says SEIU-West President, Barbara Cape, “but the choices the SaskParty have made are the wrong ones.”
In terms of healthcare, the proposed investment only keeps the system treading water; it does nothing to retain staff who have the knowledge and experience and have kept the system afloat through the devastation of the pandemic. In the education sector, children and members of the education team must continue fundraising to get the necessary items for class. And the Community-Based Organization sector—the very definition of the province’s safety net—continues to be forgotten, receiving less than the cost of inflation but is expected to continue operating.
“The people who work in care and support careers throughout our public services are completely depleted. They are working short staffed every day in a time when the demand for their work has increased exponentially. Not only are they experiencing this, but our patients, clients, residents, and students are suffering from the lack of investment in public services,” continues Cape.
The numbers do not lie: ‘saving’ a billion dollars at a time when there is incredible pressure on kitchen table issues is the wrong choice. The government has already set aside 2 billion dollars in two consecutive budget years but have invested little to nothing in the people who are the economic drivers of this province.
From a purely financial perspective, the lack of investment in public services unbalances our province. If the government’s budget shows us anything, it’s that they are doubling down on the privatization of surgical services. Not only are we paying for public healthcare with our taxes, but we are also on the hook to pay additional money for private healthcare. This is the wrong choice.
Within the healthcare system, there is no retention plan or strategy. The government celebrates offering jobs to overseas healthcare workers but is so out of touch with the crisis that they think that 300 Continuing Care Aids or 75 nursing staff will make any difference in the collapsing system. Simply put, it won’t. We will continue to see current staff leaving professions they love and reinforce our province’s last place standing in support and provision for the healthcare system.
The provincial government is foolish to believe that this budget will leave a positive impact for the healthcare system. This administration will be remembered as the architect of the deskilling and dismantling of the healthcare system. And the people of Saskatchewan will be left holding nothing as a result.
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. They are joined by one colour—purple—and one union, SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.
For more information, contact:
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
306-652-1011 ext. 2244