The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has issued layoff notices to 33 workers at the Grenfell Pioneer home, many of whom are members of CUPE 5340. The Health Authority is relocating 20 residents of Grenfell Pioneer Home due to the serious nature of mould and asbestos found in the facility.

“There is a lot of uncertainty right now for our members and for the community of Grenfell,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430. “The future of the facility in Grenfell is up in the air, as is the job security of many members. This could have been avoided if the Saskatchewan government adequately maintained our health care facilities.”

The union has been told the future of the facility has not been decided. The Saskatchewan Health Authority stated that they hope the relocation will be temporary but are exploring options that could include continued remediation and maintenance at the existing Grenfell Pioneer Home or the construction of a new facility.

The Grenfell Pioneer Home is not the only long-term care facility in the province facing serious health and safety risks from mould. Close to 100 residents at Pioneer Village in Regina had to move due to serious mould issues.

“Our health care infrastructure around the province is aging, and our need for long-term care continues to increase. The Government of Saskatchewan needs to put a plan in place to deal with this issue before more facilities are shut down, and more seniors forced to move,” said Seitz.

The issues at the Grenfell Pioneer Home are not new to the community. In fact, there has been an ongoing, community led, fundraising campaign to raise enough money to update the building, but the Government of Saskatchewan still does not have a plan in place.

“We believe that all Saskatchewan seniors should have long-term care options within, or near to, their own community. It is a shame that residents born and raised in Grenfell are being uprooted from their community in order to access long-term care,” says Seitz. “CUPE Local 5430 will advocate for a safe and publicly funded long term care facility in the community of Grenfell.”

CUPE 5340 represents over 13,000 health care workers across Saskatchewan. CUPE will continue to advocate for our members’ job security, their health and safety and for public health care.