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69.6 per cent worry the shortage of health care providers will get even worse unless contract improvements are made – poll

Saskatchewan: A new poll shows strong public support for health care providers in their contract dispute with the Saskatchewan government and health employers.

The Viewpoints Research Survey commissioned by CUPE, SEIU and SGEU, shows 61.2 per cent of Saskatchewan residents support health care providers, while only 21.8 per cent support the government and health employers.

These results confirm our belief the public strongly supports a fair agreement for health care providers,” says Gordon Campbell, President of the CUPE Health Care Council.

Saskatchewan’s 25,000 health care providers have been without new collective agreements for more than two years. In December, the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) broke off negotiations. A month later, SAHO produced a final offer and cancelled conciliation talks.

The telephone survey of 402 Saskatchewan residents shows most people (51.2 per cent) blame the government for the lengthy delay in achieving contract settlements. Only 17.5 per cent hold health care providers responsible.

Bonnie Erickson of SGEU says she is pleased the public holds the government and employers responsible for stalled contract talks, adding public pressure might help to break the impasse.

The poll also shows 70 per cent are concerned the shortages of health care providers will get worse unless contract improvements are negotiated. 
Barb Cape, President of SEIUWEST, says the poll demonstrates the need for SAHO and the government to get back to the table and negotiate an equitable settlement, one that addresses staff recruitment and retention concerns.

The survey carried out April 15 – 21 is accurate ± 4.9%, 19 times out of 20.

The province’s health care providers include special care aides, licensed practical nurses, food services workers, laundry, housekeeping and activity personnel, maintenance, administrative, clerical, therapeutic and recreational workers, and medical technologists and technicians.


Contact: Gordon Campbell 539-0661, Barbara Cape 631-4713 or Bonnie Erickson 541-3549.