MEDIA RELEASE: Residents of Providence Place Deserve Safe Care

For Immediate Release – April 8, 2015

Moose Jaw – The leaders and members of SEIU-West were distressed by the recent news story centred upon a tragedy at Providence Place where a resident died after eating detergent pods.

“SEIU-West represents the hard working, dedicated health care staff who work on the front line at this facility, and the issue of understaffing has been an ongoing problem which has been brought to the attention of Providence Place and its health region time and time again,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “It is especially upsetting to hear the response from the CEO of Providence Place. By saying he’s seen ‘no sign of unresolved issues’ from residents or staff, he admits that he has ignored the communications and letters we have shared with him, the Providence Place Board of Directors and senior leadership of Five Hills Health Region.”

In January of 2015, just two months before this tragic incident, SEIU-West sent a letter to each Board member of Providence Place outlining our concerns, and copied Mr. Nyhof. “We explained about the hazards presented to residents and workers when unsafe staffing levels are chronic,” continued Cape. “Unfortunately, our invitation to come together ‘to begin to work together to make improvements in a system that is under siege for marquee catastrophes, rather than letting this become the next big media story’ received no meaningful reply from anyone associated with Providence Place.

On April 2, 2015, the provincial government stated that funding to Providence Place has increased by 46 per cent since 2007 and that staffing has increased by 9 per cent. Evidently, this increase has not alleviated understaffing and moreover, that increase spans a time period from 8 years ago and doesn’t appear to include the much needed front-line staff. Of concern to the staff is that when the Five Hills Health Region was given an opportunity to receive more funding with the 2013 ‘Urgent Action Fund’, there is no mention of Providence Place in the Five Hills Health Region’s application. Furthermore, the ‘funded priority areas’ for Five Hills involved (1) purchasing new tubs and track lifts, (2) purchasing equipment for priority facilities, and (3) using Lean initiatives to help improve residents’ personal routines and schedules. These initiatives require enough staff to be able to actually use the new equipment.

“It is especially disconcerting to learn that the Five Hills Health Region was one of few regions in Saskatchewan that did not ask for funding towards its staffing levels in 2013. At the same time, SEIU-West was ringing alarms about unsafe staffing levels within the health region,” said Cape. “This tragedy was a heartbreaking event for the family and our members at Providence Place. We must ensure adequate resources and attention are brought to bear on the ongoing crisis in unsafe staffing.”

SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They 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 and they want you to know that purple works in our community! Visit to find out more about the members of SEIU-West who work for the people of Saskatchewan.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 8733


For a printable PDF of this release, please click on the link below:


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