May 2, 2018

On December 4, 2017, the Provincial Government passed The Provincial Health Authority Act (the Act).  This Act amalgamated 12 former Regional Health Authorities and created one Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). 

Overall, the Act gives the SHA and the Government a lot of power to change the way health care is provided.  CUPE is particularly concerned with section 9-1 of the Act.  This section is very broad and is designed to completely circumvent our collective agreement and any other legal protections that we may have, including the right of employees to choose their own union.  Section 9-1(2) allows the Government or the SHA to move employees from one workplace or employer to another no matter what our collective agreement says:   

9-1 (2) Notwithstanding any other Act or law or any provision of any contract, the provincial health authority may, by agreement with the cancer agency or a prescribed health care organization:

 (a) transfer any employees or class of employees of the provincial health authority to the cancer agency or a health care organization and cause them to become employees of the health care organization or the cancer agency, as the case may be…

Meanwhile, Section 9-1(7) of the Act says that if the SHA moves an employee, that employee’s job is not terminated or abolished and requires no notice.  This is a blatant attempt to get around the layoff provisions in our collective agreement and avoid paying members whose jobs are moved any money:

9-1 (7) Notwithstanding any Act, law or provision of a contract, a transfer of an employee pursuant to clause (1)(b) or (2)(a):

(a) does not constitute the abolition or termination of any position or job;

(b) does not require any advance notice, including any notice that may be required pursuant to any Act, law or provision of a contract; and

(c) does not constitute constructive dismissal of any person or a breach of contract.

CUPE has made repeated attempts to obtain more information from the Government and the SHA about changes in healthcare, including the transfer of IT workers to eHealth.  So far, very little information has been shared.  It appears that the Government is going to do whatever it wants to do.  Legally, it may be possible to challenge the legislation as unconstitutional.  However, legal battles take a long time and there is no guarantee of success.  We need to fight the government and SHA outside of the courtroom too.