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Saskatchewan is one year closer to the Federal Conservative Government’s planned take away of $1.1 billion from health care funding with the anniversary of Canada’s Health Accord expiry, warns CUPE Saskatchewan.

“Today is a reminder that the Federal Conservative Government has made a political decision to undermine our health care system and put it at further risk of privatization,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The Premier of Saskatchewan should stand up for Saskatchewan and urge the renegotiation of the Health Accord before these massive cuts take effect.”

Signed among federal, provincial and territorial governments in 2003 and 2004, the Health Accord set out a common vision for health care in Canada and guaranteed stable federal health funding, escalating at 6 per cent a year. The expiry of the Health Accord one year ago on March 31, 2014, means that provinces and territories stand to lose a total of $36 billion over 10 years through cuts to the Canada Health Transfer beginning in 2017. In Saskatchewan, the cuts would amount to $1.1 billion between 2017 and 2027– the equivalent amount required to fund 3,349 hospital beds, 17,565 long-term care beds or over 73,000 joint replacement surgeries.

“Saskatchewan people deserve better than cuts to health care funding,” said Graham. “Today we join in the call for a renewed Health Accord to save public health care.”

CUPE locals across Saskatchewan will be hosting a number of events today as part of a national day of action.

CUPE represents over 13,000 health care providers in Saskatchewan working in hospitals, long-term care, home care, community rehabilitation services and mental health services.