MEDIA RELEASE: Too Many Unknowns in our Saskatchewan Budget

For Immediate Release – June 2, 2016

Regina – Members and leaders of the Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) attended the Legislature yesterday for the release of our provincial budget. Given the timing of the budget and the expected shortfall in revenues, there was a sense of caution about the forecast for the upcoming year.

“The budget presented will inevitably lead to disruptions within the health sector,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “The announcement of a special commission to recommend options for fewer health regions will not have a stabilizing effect.”

Research and experience in other jurisdictions confirms such processes do not lend to efficiencies.

“We truly hope that lessons have been learned by our government regarding the need for meaningful consultation prior to any restructuring decisions being made,” Cape added. “While added funding for long-term care staffing levels is welcome, we are curious about where regions will cut these dollars in administration – particularly after last year’s budget shortfalls – health care funding is at a critical level.”

SEIU-West, is an advocate for safe staffing levels in long term care and shares the growing public concern around seniors’ care. However, there is concern that the health regions will not able to address unsafe staffing levels when their annual budgets are increased by a mere 2.3%.

“We are equally perplexed by the funding projected for education sector, as the total spending represents very little increase over last year,” Cape continued. “We do not know whether the $2.2 billion targeted for the Ministry of Education will result in classroom investments such as added Education Assistants who are urgently needed, given our increase in population.”

SEIU-West agrees with comments made by the Saskatchewan School Board Association earlier this week; before our government undertakes transformation in this sector, there needs to be real and significant consultation with all stakeholders.

“Though we are encouraged by the province’s funding toward disability-focused Community-Based organizations, we continue to have too many unanswered questions as to whether the funds will be directed to address the critical retention and recruitment challenges in this sector,” said Cape. “Our past experience has been hit and miss.”

SEIU-West represents more than 13,000 Saskatchewan workers. Our members work in health care, hospitals, home care, long-term care facilities, schools, group homes, day cares, crisis services, municipalities, retirement homes and private businesses. Joined by one union – SEIU-West – and one colour – purple – SEIU-West members work in our communities. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about the issues that matter to the members of SEIU-West and their communities.

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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306-652-1011 ext. 8733

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MEDIA RELEASE: Too Many Unknowns in our Saskatchewan Budget

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