Health care and social services jobs continue to slide

August's labour statistics reveal concerning details about the government’s continued cuts to jobs in health care and social services.

On Friday, Statistics Canada released the results of its August Labour Force Survey, which showed there are 5,200 fewer jobs in the category of health care and social services, compared to one year earlier. Statistics Canada has now reported significant year-over-year losses in the health care and social services sector for the past three months.

“This government has been busy spending untold millions on American contracts and flying in Japanese senseis for its costly Lean pet project instead of investing in common-sense front-line care, as problems with short-staffing, inadequate conditions and long waiting times persist in hospitals, health centres and seniors care homes throughout the province,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Families with sick or hurt loved ones are continuing to suffer because they can’t get the treatment and care they need and deserve, so this trend we're seeing of cuts to health care jobs is a very concerning one.”

Cuts to front-line social services jobs are also a major concern for the NDP. Wotherspoon noted the government has been failing to ensure enough staff are on-hand to properly protect our province's most vulnerable children – a concern that has been shared by the Children’s Advocate.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable for this government to overlook understaffing issues that exist in social services, especially when it’s a detriment to vulnerable and at-risk children," said Wotherspoon.

The Labour Force Survey also showed off-reserve First Nations employment is down 600 jobs and Metis employment is down 1,200 jobs.

Other sectors that lost jobs over the last year include: manufacturing (-1,000); transportation and warehousing (-1,700); business, building and other support services (-3,900); information, culture and recreation (-2,200); and other services (-1,700). The private sector as a whole has lost 5,900 jobs over the last year.

“The people of Saskatchewan are doing their part to drive the economy, but we're hearing more and more that the government isn’t holding up its end of the bargain," said Wotherspoon. “The rising cost of living is hitting the bottom line of many families, and they are finding it harder to access the basics in important services like health care. It’s time for this government to ditch its costly and misguided pet projects and finally start focusing on the things that really matter.”