President's Message: Letter to the Premier

Good afternoon Mr. Premier,

I hope you are doing well during the COVID-19 pandemic as we all navigate these new and unprecedented times.

I  would like to identify who the “others”, as you refer to them in previous media events, are who are  working in healthcare beyond the doctors and nurses.   I would respectfully request that you consider their incredible contributions and sacrifices to bending/flattening the curve of the cases of COVID-19 in this pandemic.  There is an incredibly diverse group of people who are keeping health care running and ensuring that we are not overwhelmed by the pandemic.

  • Medical and Diagnostic Technologists and assistants complete tests that identify not only COVID-19 but other diseases and pathogens that are still affecting our population: cancer, HIV, MRI, CT, and seasonal flu are among their tests. 
  • Licensed Practical Nurses provide dressing changes, dispense medications, work in operating rooms and emergency rooms, long-term care and home care to provide compassionate hands-on skilled care to our patients, clients and residents. 
  • Continuing Care Assistants work in acute care, long term care and home care providing hands on services like dressing, bathing, medications, lifting and repositioning with care and compassion. 
  • Security, maintenance and tradespeople continue to keep our facilities running efficiently, to set up COVID units in hospitals across the province and keeping staff and patients safe. 
  • Food services prepare and provide nutritious meals to patients, long-term care residents and homecare recipients. 
  • Environmental services staff perform enhanced cleaning  to ensure that our facilities  do not harbor and are not a vector for transmission of any virus. 
  • Administration staff keep every part of the health system connected and communicating – this includes acute care, long-term care, home care, community care and other primary care ward and department support, payroll, finance, and schedulers who ensure that our facilities are staffed & paid properly to provide the skilled professional care that is key to all health care services.  
  • Of particular note are those working in supply chain, materials management, and sterile processing who ensure that we have the health care materials and resources, such as PPE equipment and supplies, necessary to keep us all safe and to provide quality healthcare  that Saskatchewan residents have come to expect.

This is only a representative sample of the  ‘other’ that you refer to…there are many more particular jobs that cover tens of thousands of health care  provider workers.  We are proud to acknowledge that there are over 35,000 frontline staff who are part of the ‘health care team’…across various unions.

SEIU-West is very proud of the work that members perform every day and I believe we are heroes not only during this pandemic, but every day of the year. 

On behalf of these professionals, I ask that you take a moment to acknowledge the varied work that is being performed under some incredibly tense and stressful circumstances. They go into work every day, not sure if they will come into contact with COVID-19 or if they will take it home with them to their families. They are the people your government asked to take a 3.5% cut in compensation, and a large number of them are working without a collective agreement. 

Yes, their last pay increase was April 1, 2016, yet, they continue to show up and lead our health care system. They do this for their patients, clients and residents. We should all appreciate their efforts and do our best to keep them safe.   I think their efforts are worthy of our praise and acknowledgement, don’t you?



Barbara Cape
#200-747 46th St. W
Saskatoon, Sask
S7L 6A1
MRC Toll Free: 1.888.999.SEIU (7348) ext. 2298 | URL:

President's Message: LOU on Redeployment

Click here for a printable PDF file of this President's Message (LOU on Redeployment).

Over the course of the last 10 days, representatives from SEIU-West, CUPE, SGEU, HSAS and SUN have met with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) reps via Webex to negotiate a Letter of Understanding (LOU) regarding the development of a Labour Pool and redeployment strategies from the Labour Pool – this is only in relation to COVID-19 health care needs.

Op-Ed: Public Health Care System Needs More Staff

For Immediate Release - February 7, 2020

Saskatchewan people take pride in our role as the pioneers of Medicare. But the public health care system we take for granted has reached a critical point.

Our population is growing and aging, with increasingly complex care needs. Our governments have not made the necessary investments to serve these growing needs. Federal health transfers have not kept pace, and provincial funding remains driven by the ongoing narrative of a tight fiscal budget. 

This growing imbalance between needs and funding has become critically apparent on the front lines, in the form of understaffing.

As a quick fix for budget pressures, health managers are routinely leaving positions vacant when staff quit or retire, or not replacing staff who are on leave. They also refuse to add baseline staff to units whose numbers and needs have increased. The result: crushing workloads that put the health and safety of patients, clients, residents and health care workers at risk.

Urgent action is needed to fix this crisis. And the opportunity and responsibility to act belongs to all of us.

Cape’s Corner

We recently held our kick off for the renewal of SEIU-West committees. Each committee had discussions about improvements to worker safety and how this goal might fit into their future work. Worker safety has been a regular theme this year for the work done within SEIU-West.


When you think about it, so much of our work flows to and from worker safety: educating and mobilizing around the three rights (the Right to Know; the Right to Participate; the Right to Refuse); building knowledge and skills with young workers, new Canadians, and more seasoned staff; providing awareness about avenues to become involved and active within the scope of workplace safety; and combating racism, discrimination and stereotypes that affect the emotional and mental wellbeing of all of our members.


The committees have been tasked with how they will incorporate worker safety into their work over the next two years. And I’m excited to see the innovative ways that they reach out to build our membership with that goal in mind. Our committees are:  


  • Aboriginal
  • Education
  • Member Organizing
  • Nursing Care
  • Political Action & Awareness
  • Retirees
  • Worker Safety
  • Workers of Colour
  • Young Workers


These committees are comprised of members from every sector we represent: industrial and allied, education, community-based organizations, retirement homes, and health care. We want to ensure that our members have opportunities to engage with and help lead our union. We should also be looking at how we build a wider movement to encompass people whose principles and beliefs align with ours.

  This is the work of our union beyond bargaining, grievances and arbitration…it builds on our vision of a more just and humane society. Each       one of our committees has brought forward something unique: great opportunities, radical ideas, strong advocacy, and solid history…I look   forward to seeing what they accomplish over the next two years.

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