For Immediate Release
April 5, 2023
Saskatchewan—In what seems to be an attempt to ignore the legitimate concerns of the largest classification of union members in the health care sector, Minister Everett Hindley declared in a legislative committee that Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) don’t deserve any retention initiatives because they are paid to do the job they do, and that’s retention enough.
“Clearly the Minister has no idea what a Continuing Care Assistant does for the salary they earn every day, and why their current wage is not a retention strategy,” says Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “I’m publicly inviting him, and any other politicians who care to participate, to walk a day in the shoes of our CCAs, in each area of the healthcare system—Long-term Care, Home Care, and Acute Care.”
Previous health ministers have been invited to participate in workplace activities. They had tentatively agreed and then, mysteriously, suddenly had fully booked calendars for any of the dates proposed for the workplace walk. This means no one from the government has any practical experience about what exactly SEIU-West members face on a day-to-day basis in their workplace.
“I’d like to see how incentivized he feels to keep on running all day every day to meet the needs of the people of Saskatchewan our members care for,” adds Cape. “His remarks are callous and insulting to our members. The minister is completely out of touch with how hard our members work.”
The minister’s remarks are also inaccurate. Statistics show a steady decline in CCA employees as the hard work, over work and short staffing crises in most workplaces drive more staff out of healthcare. More than COVID, systemic neglect and indifference for years to the workplace issues health care workers have struggled with for years has created the staffing crisis we all face today. No one feels motivated to remain in healthcare when you are treated like a disposable professional every day.
“For example, this government made it difficult for healthcare staff to access the COVID monies sent by the federal government by putting up restrictions on who could access it and then stowed away money intended for frontline works in their general funds. No one feels like this government understands, or cares, about the healthcare workforce,” Cape remarks.
What is needed is serious and meaningful consultations between the government and healthcare workers along with their representatives, to identify the issues that drive workers away and develop solutions to turn them around, keep them in the workplace, and promote healthcare work as healthy, satisfying and seen as a good job where your efforts are recognized.
“SEIU-West has called for a Health Human Resource Roundtable for years that would work with government, employers, education institutions, and unions to tackle the crisis in healthcare staffing. We issue that call again today,” said Cape
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