Open Letter to CUPE Local 5430 Members

RE:  Information Technology and the Saskatchewan Health Authority

In conjunction with the release of the Saskatchewan Government’s budget on Tuesday, April 10, CUPE Local 5430 learned of significant changes coming to members who work in information technology (IT).

CUPE was invited to attend a conference call with Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) leaders at 10:00 am on April 10. On that call, we were told a decision has been made to transfer the responsibility of IT services from the SHA to e-Health.  As a result, $39 million will be transferred from the SHA budget to the eHealth budget.  Members can expect this change to happen as early as summer 2018. We were also told a call was planned for 1:00 pm that same day to advise members, prior to the release of the budget at 2:00 pm. CUPE asked questions relating to the representation of members and we were not given answers but told that there would be further discussion with the Unions.

Later the same day, the SHA convened a call with the affected employees. On that call the employer said that there had been conversations with the Unions. This was not true. In fact, CUPE asked SAHO on April 4th if IT employees would be moved to e-Health. We were told the employer was not aware of anything. This lack of transparency has plagued this entire process.

On October 18, 2017, CUPE was first alerted of possible changes when SAHO organized and participated in a meeting with CUPE, our coalition partners, and eHealth representatives.  At that time, there was no clear message from the Employer or eHealth on the status of IT services in the health region. The Unions did raise concerns at this time about a number of issues with any potential reorganization or change to the way that IT services were provided and the lack of consultation that had taken place on this matter.

On November 30, 2017, CUPE once again took part in a call with the Employer’s Transition Team. We were told that the 34 out of scope managers would be getting direction from eHealth but remain employees of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. CUPE IT employees would not report to eHealth or be transferred at this time. In scope employees (CUPE members) would remain employees of the Regional Heath Authorities, and now the SHA (this was just days before the December 4 start up of the SHA). CUPE stressed that it would be important for us to be part of further reviews.

CUPE has been actively asking questions about the rumours circulating throughout the facilities and departments.  Questions were raised at the bargaining table, in meetings with the employer, and in grievance proceedings.  In fact, on April 4, 2018 CUPE asked SAHO if there were changes coming for our members in IT.  SAHO’s answer was they had no information. 

CUPE has not received any clear information about which classifications will be affected, how many jobs are moving to eHealth, who will be impacted or if there is potential for job loss or any other important details. The SHA had no answers to the multitude of questions posed by employees or unions on the telephone calls April 10.

What we do know:

  • eHealth employees are represented by SGEU;
  • The CUPE/SAHO collective agreement contains provisions for workplace re-organization and technological change; and
  • The Provincial Health Authority Act in Section 9 says the provincial health authority may transfer any employee or class of employees of the provincial health authority to the cancer agency or prescribed health care organization. Any such transfer will cause those employees to become employees of the health care organization.

CUPE 5430 members who work in IT have been contacted directly to discuss these matters.