MEDIA RELEASE: The Future of Essential Services

For Immediate Release, October 15, 2015

Saskatoon – The members and leaders of SEIU-West are analyzing the details of Bill 183, the new Essential Services legislation that was introduced in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly today.

“Though there appears to be some improvement, the devil is in the details,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “We had hoped for a more robust consultation process, however, the government did not begin to seek our input as a labour stakeholder until late August. SEIU-West members believe that taking the time to actually read the proposed legislation and consider its ‘real world’ implications is an important step in this process.”

In January of this year, the Supreme Court struck down the Wall government’s previous essential services law. They gave the government one year to come up with a version that respected the constitutional rights of working people.

“Overall, we’re pleased that there is a binding arbitration process included in the law now,” continued Cape. “We continue to have concerns about accessibility and timeliness of this and other resolution processes and will have to see how these work in practice.”

The new bill does not define what an essential service is unlike previous versions. SEIU-West expects that, in accordance with the interpretations provided by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the new law will be applied only to those tasks that are truly essential to the preservation of public health and safety.

“I think the timing of the introduction of this legislation is interesting,” added Cape. “Given the fact that we are headed to the polls on Monday for a federal election, there may be a limited focus on this very important piece of legislation. I hope others afford it the scrutiny it really deserves.”

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

Fora printable PDF of this media release, click on the link below:

MEDIA RELEASE: The Future of Essential Services

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