On May 19 the province of Saskatchewan will be reopening a variety of health care services that were closed due to the public health emergency and the public health order. CUPE 5430 is concerned that there will not be enough staff to properly respond to needs.

“Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, and new outbreaks are emerging,” said Sandra Seitz, CUPE 5430 president. “Now is not the time to be resuming services and taking staff away from the areas in which they are needed during this pandemic.”

Many of the staff at provincial testing and assessment centres were redeployed from services that were closed or slowed down. If these services open, CUPE is very concerned that the resources to address the needs of COVID-19 will be significantly reduced. 

“If members return to their previous work, will there be enough staff to do the testing and assessments?” asked Seitz. “The resumption of services plan for health care says that there must be adequate human resources for current operations, growing number of outbreaks, and management of COVID-19 across the continuum of care. How is that possible when the people doing this work will be returning to their previous work”?

“We have members who have been cohorted to work in long-term care, the area which is most vulnerable to COVID,” said Seitz. “CUPE is concerned with how the employer will address restrictions and requirements of the COVID-19 health orders, such as social distancing measures in place in both acute and long-term care, if members return to their previous service areas.”

“CUPE will remain vigilant and work with the Ministry of Health to address our concerns and to ensure that our members and the people we provide service to remain safe,” added Seitz. “We all need to work together to ensure that transmission rates are reduced.”

CUPE 5430 is the largest health care union in the province and represents over 14,000 members. These health care providers each contribute to the well-being of hospital patients, long-term care residents, and home care clients.