Tag Archives: Health and Safety

Stand Together for Healthy Workplaces!

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) asks that we stand together for healthy workplaces on March 19, 2015.

There are two events planned in Saskatchewan, click on the links below for a downloadable PDF of the event information:


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Article: Elder care cost nightmare looms

√The provincial government clearly deserves praise for its frank report on nursing home care, but the document omitted some information vital to this debate. Certainly, the warts-andall report that emerged from notes compiled by health district chief executive officers who toured all the province’s nursing homes was honest and compelling. Stories of seniors having to wait three or four hours for breakfast after being awoken at 5:30 a.m., or left to soil themselves in adult diapers because of staffing shortages, were both gripping and disheartening. Those who built Saskatchewan deserve better. But if meeting seniors’ needs is a herculean challenge today, it will be many times larger with the inflationary costs of health care in aging nursing homes that are about to get even more overcrowded with geriatric baby boomers. Today’s stopgap measures won’t do the trick…

To read this story on-line, click on the link below:
Elder care cost nightmare looms

To download a printable PDF of this story, click on the link below:
Elder care cost nightmare looms

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Editorial: System needs better staffing

The good news is that Health Minister Dustin Duncan has gone far beyond most of his predecessors in trying to get a handle on the problems that confront Saskatchewan’s longterm care facilities at a time when the demand for their services has never been higher and is growing.

What’s not as good is the government’s response…

To read this story on-line, click on the link below:
System needs better staffing

To download a printable PDF of this story, click on the link below:
System needs better staffing

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News Article: Care homes in crisis

Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan says details in a report on conditions in the province’s long-term care facilities are “dismaying” and “heartbreaking” and left him “angry.”…

To read this story on-line, click on the link below:
Care homes in crisis – link to Star Phoenix

To download a printable PDF of this story, click on the link below:
Care homes in crisis
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News Article: ‘We need to do better for Seniors in need of our care’

Facing complaints that include residents soiling themselves and receiving tub baths only once a week, the Saskatchewan government is injecting $10 million into an urgent issues action fund for long-term care facilities in the province…

To read this story on-line, click on the link below:
‘We need to do better for seniors in need of our care’ – link to Star Phoenix

To download a printable PDF of this story, click on the link below:
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UPDATE: Workload Tracking Forms

In our newsletters and this website post, we explained how Workload Tracking Forms are used to identify areas in workplaces where more staffing is required.

Want to know how your workload tracking forms assist in the prioritization of safe staffing in Long-Term Care? 

SEIU-West has sent a number of letters identifying staffing shortages in facilities within Heartland Health Region, Cypress Health Region, Five Hills Health Region, Heartland Health Region, Saskatoon Health Region and Extendicare. An investigation is currently underway within the Saskatoon Health Region. With your workload tracking forms, we are able to provide concrete examples and statistics of health care staff working short.

These letters have and will continue to be sent to the Employer. In these letters we have requested copies of priority tasks for staff to focus on when working with fewer than a full complement. It is vital that the Employer provide a modified work plan for all departments if working short.

To view these letters, click on the links below:

Cypress Health Region:

Cypress Health Region – Oct 2015

Cypress Health Region – Jan 2014

Cypress Health Region – May 2013


Extendicare – Feb 2014

Extendicare – May 2013

Five Hills Health Region:

Five Hills Health Region – August 2015

Five Hills Health Region – Feb 2014

Five Hills Health Region – Oct 2013

Heartland Health Region: 

Heartland Health Region – July 2013

Heartland Health Region – May 2013

Saskatoon Health Region:

Saskatoon Health Region – April 2013 -2

Saskatoon Health Region – April 2013

Minister of Health: 

Minister of Health – May 2013

Minister of Health – Sept 2013

In addition to these letters, SEIU-West has sent letters regarding specific situations. In 2015, SEIU-West submitted a full report on staffing levels in Long-Term Care to the Saskatchewan Ombudsman. We have also sent detailed emails to Barry Barss with the Saskatoon Health Region on July 9, 2013 and November 4, 2013; Saskatoon City Hospital (SPD) received emails on May 10, 2013 and June 10, 2013; St. Paul’s Hospital was sent letters on April 24, 2013 and July 25, 2013; Saskatoon City Hospital received a letter July 15, 2013; Sherbrooke Community Centre was sent a letter on December 3, 2014; Saskatoon Health Region Surgical Services (SCH, RUH & SPH) received a letter dated September 9, 2014; Providence Place received letters on January 30, 2015 and May 1, 2015; and letters were sent to the Ombudsman on December 11, 2014 and a presentation was made on February 10, 2015.

SEIU-West has also launched its Long Term Cares: We Need Safe Staffing Levels campaign, where you can send a letter to the Minister of Health! It’s important for the Minister to understand that unsafe staffing levels is a chronic situation that must be addressed immediately.

We will keep you posted on any new developments.

Click on the links below to download the Workload Tracking Form and a poster for your Unit bulletin board:

Workload Tracking Form

Poster: FAQ – Workload Tracking Forms

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Letter to Don Morgan Re: Summary Offence Ticketing

SEIU-West shares a mutual interest with government in the improvement of workplace safety. In our opinion, all parties will achieve maximum effectiveness (improved safety; reduced injury or occupational illness), if the program initiated is anchored in the principle of…

Read the full letter by clicking on the PDF link below:

May 9, 2013: Letter to Minister Morgan re: Summary Offence Ticketing

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2013 Labour Community Advocate Training Regina

The Labour Community Advocate Training Program is a ten week educational program that trains union members to refer union brothers & sisters and co-workers experiencing personal, family, health, or financial difficulties to local community and government programs and services.

 The Labour Community Advocate Training Program, an educational program of the Canadian Labour Congress, is delivered by labour staff of local United Ways across the country through a partnership agreement with United Way/Centraide Canada.

 The program is open to union members from any recognized local, national or international trades, public, or private sector union.

 The course is facilitated by United Way Labour Staff, Kirk Brown, who is employed by the Regina United Way. Kirk is a member of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE) Local #397 and has been involved in the trade union movement since the early 1980’s. Kirk has experience as a shop steward and has worked as a community organizer on many provincial and national campaigns.

 The Labour Community Advocate Training Program will provide you with:

¨       An opportunity to meet other union members in Regina;

¨       Up-to-date information about Regina’s community services;

¨       Information on government programs and services;

¨       An opportunity to get to know helping professionals in your community;

¨       A graduation certificate; and

¨       A lapel pin designating you as a trained Union Advocate.

Schedule:     March 26th  – June 4 th, 2013

Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 10:00 pm

Cost:  $125.00 per person.  Class limited to 20.


Regina United Way Main Office – 1440 Scarth Street

The United Way of Regina office building is wheelchair accessible.

Parking is free.

Graduation:  Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Graduation celebration location to be announced.


Session 1 – Tuesday, March 26th  

Unions & Communities Working Together

Session 2 – Tuesday, April 2rd  

Union Counselling & Equity

Session 3 – Tuesday, April 9th  

Your Community Services / Principles of Communication

Session 4 – Tuesday, April 23rd  

Interviewing and Referral skills

Break for SFL Spring School April 14th  To April 19th

Session 5 – Tuesday, May 7st 

Implementing / Strengthening a UC Program

Session 6 – Tuesday, May 14th    

Workplace Stress:  Effects on the worker and Workplace Solutions

Session 7 – Tuesday, May 21st    

Understanding Violence / Harassment and Bullying

Session 8 – Tuesday, May 28th  

Helping Those in Financial Crisis

Session 9 – Tuesday, June 4th

Addiction and Dependency



Anyone interested in attending this training opportunity is asked to:

– fill out the Expression of Interest – Conferences Events Form

– fill out the Labour Community Advocate Training Registration Form

Then send your completed forms to:

Kelly Harrington, Deputy Director, Political Action & Education, SEIU-West

Mail: 314 Duchess Street, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 0R1.

Fax: (306) 652-1392

Please note that delegates attending schools will be asked to submit a brief report to the SEIU-West Executive Board and the Education Committee following the completion of the event.

Please submit your application and form for your interest by March 20th, 2013 to allow us to complete the registration and selection process.

For a complete printable version of this article including the accompanying letter and registration form click the link below.

Labour Community Advocate Training

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Just the Facts: Safety Management Systems


The   Ministry of Health has directed all Health Regions to
implement a Safety Management System (SMS) in health care facilities where   they have the greatest amount of injuries. This system is intended to reduce   workplace injuries in the Health Care sector.

Health care worker injuries are the highest number of Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims; therefore, the Government is now requiring that health care facilities/services with the highest time loss claims, implement this system. The Saskatchewan Association for Safe Workplaces in Health (SASWH) is the safety association with equal union/employer representatives for the health sector.

SASWH has developed a tool to assist health care Employers in this regard. However, it is not mandatory that Employers use their system; yet the Health Care Unions (SEIU-West, SUN, CUPE, HSAS, and SGEU) are urging them to do so. Either way, for the targeted facilities a program must be implemented within a defined timeline.

The SASWH has recommended that 20% of health care facilities with the highest level of injury claims do self-assessments.

What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?

  • It is a process to reduce the risk of injury in the Heath Care sector. It is a collection of documents, forms, procedures, policies, practices, training and communication required to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace. In short, it is a safety program.
  • Part of the system requires an assessment to occur in the health care facilities were there are the highest level of workplace injuries within each Health Region. The Ministry has determined that each of the Health Regions must have a plan in place by March 31, 2013 towards the implementation of an SMS.

Who should be involved in the SMS?

  • Workers need to be involved directly in program development. Workers are exposed to hazards and have a good idea of the current realities they face each day in the workplace.
  • Specifically, we believe that Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Committee members should be included as part of the Assessment Team.

What will be happening in my workplace?

  • Each Health Region must determine by December 31, 2012 how they will begin their self-assessment process and which tool they will utilize.
  • In targeted facilities within your Health Region, assessors may be using a variety of methods to gather information from those worksites where the highest injury rates exist. They will be observing the workplace, interviewing workers to see if they have been properly trained in Occupational Health and Safety procedures and protocols and they will be requiring documented proof from the Employer that proper policies are in place.
  • Based on the result of the assessments, we expect the Employer will have to make changes to ensure that they are doing everything possible to make the workplace safer.



SEIU-West wants to be very clear. It is our expectation that OH&S Committee members are provided the opportunity to participate in the SMS. We have notified all Health Care Employers of this request and await confirmation from them as to the structure/composition of their Assessment Teams. We have asked the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to direct this as well. It is time for true prevention of injuries in Health Care and it is vital that workers have a say in this.



Please encourage your employer to utilize the Health and Safety Committee members in the development and implementation of an SMS in your workplace.

If you are chosen for an interview with the Assessment Team:

  • Please make sure that you identify all hazards in the workplace.
  • Please indicate if and where training or resources (such as safe staffing levels) are lacking.

For a printable PDF version of this information, click here.

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Just the Facts: Employer Mandating Employees to Work


The   SEIU-West/SAHO Collective Agreement does not contain any specific clause that   authorizes the employer to mandate their employees to come to work.


  • This  occurs when the Employer provides the Employee with a directive that they must report for work on a date/time/place for a shift that is NOT part of their regular rotation. It is, in short, a DEMAND to appear for work.


  • Under The Labour Standards Act, an employer shall not require an employee to work or to be at his disposal for more than 44 hours in any week, except in the case of an emergency.  See Section 12 of the  Act.
  • Similarly, Article 13.09 of the SEIU-West/SAHO Collective Agreement provides that ‘employees will not be required to work overtime or be on standby against their wishes when other qualified employees within their work until are willing to perform the required work or take such standby’. This means that any requirement to work overtime must be done in the order of      reverse seniority, subject to legitimate reasons not to attend work      (unable to arrange childcare, illness, inebriation, etc.)


  • Your EMPLOYER should NOT attempt to mandate you to attend work at regular time EVER.  There is no authority for the Employer to do this within the terms of the Collective Agreement; nor is there provision under the Act.
  • If  you are required to attend work – based upon the ‘work now – grieve later’ rule, we would advise that you MUST be paid overtime rates at 2X your regular rate of pay for all hours so worked.  This is based on Article 13.05 d) of the Collective Agreement – a change within the posted and confirmed work schedule.
  • Based on the common terms (between the Collective Agreement and the Act) you cannot be required to work in excess of forty-four hours in a given week.


SEIU-West   wants to be very clear. Mandating does not exist in the Collective Agreement.   It is unlawful for the Employer, as per The   Labour Standards Act, to require an employee to work more than forty-four   hours in a given week. Article 13.09 sets out the permitted process of   requiring an employee to work overtime (providing your hours of work do not  exceed 44 hours per week).


  • SEIU-West will support any grievance relating to the Employer mandating an Employee to work – where the Employer does not readily pay 2X your regular wage for all hours worked  OR – where the Employer requires an Employee to work in excess of 44 hours per week and no emergency exists.


  • If you have any questions about employer mandating or any other issue use the “Contact Us” form on www.seiuwest.ca or call the MRC (1 888 999 7348), extension 1 and have them assist you and your Unit Chair in the grievance administration process.

Tell your co-workers about this notice.

  • Support each other when the Employer attempts to off-load their shortage of staff issue onto the shoulders of your co-workers.  Understand that you and your co-workers can say, “I have a legitimate reason for declining a shift”.


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