Stats Can shows continued health care and social services job cuts

There are 4,300 fewer health care and social services workers employed in Saskatchewan compared to one year earlier, while health care facilities have been growing increasingly crowded, dirty and backlogged.

The continued cuts to jobs in the health care and social services sector, including another 500 jobs lost last month, were revealed Friday in the Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada. The update shows Saskatchewan’s natural resources and hard-working people are delivering very strong employment results, but the government is going in the wrong direction when it comes to health care.

“The hours-long emergency room waits, filthy dirty conditions and people lying in a seniors care bed or hospital bed with painfully long stretches before a health care worker comes in to deliver basic care – these are all symptoms of understaffing, and it has to stop,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon.  “This government is obsessed with consultants and managers, including its $40 million American Lean consultant. It’s completely ignoring the basics in health care.”

Wotherspoon pointed to expenditures like $3,500 per day Japanese senseis, $17 million each and every year on the Kaizen Promotion Offices, and nearly $40 million for an American Lean consultant as this government’s backwards and dangerous priorities in health care.

Wotherspoon also said the job losses affect social services, responsible for properly protecting the province's most vulnerable children. The NDP and the province’s Advocate for Children and Youth have repeatedly called on the government to reduce the caseload for social services workers.

“It just does make sense to cut health care and social services jobs when our population is growing,” said Wotherspoon.

Off-reserve First Nations employment is down by 1,300 jobs. 1,800 off-reserve First Nations people have just dropped out of the labour force, no longer looking for work.

Sectors that lost jobs since last year: health care and social services (-4,300 jobs); information, culture and recreation (-3,200 jobs); transportation and warehousing (-1,500 jobs); utilities (-400 jobs); manufacturing (-200 jobs); and educational services (-100 jobs).