Region Contacts

Region 1 Office (Former Local 5111)

1291-100th Street
North Battleford, SK S9A 0W4
Phone: 445-6433 
Fax: 446-2405


Region 2 Office (former Local 4777)

215-16th Street West
Prince Albert, SK S6V 3V4
Phone: 922-0600 
Fax: 763-8915 


Region 3 Office (former Local 3967)

1651 Park Street 
Regina, SK S4N 5A2 
Phone: 757-7925 
Fax: 757-6959


Region 4 Office (former Local 5999)

46 – 3rd Street
Weyburn, SK
S4H 0V9
Phone: (306) 842-1559
Fax: (306) 842-1560


Region 5 Office (former Local 4980)

180 A Broadway West
Yorkton, Saskatchewan S3N 1E2
Phone: (306) 783-1396
Fax: (306) 783-1398

1651 Park Street, Regina, SK S4N 5A2 306-546-2185




Media Release: CUPE Local 5430 challenges claims by Deputy Labour Minister regarding workers’ rights and workplace safety

REGINA: CUPE Local 5430 is deeply troubled by misleading claims made by Deputy Labour Minister Donna Johnson regarding workers’ rights and workplace safety.

Minister Johnson claimed that COVID-19 doesn’t pose an unusual danger and that, “If there’s no reason to say that the workplace is unsafe, then the employee essentially does not have any ability to refuse work…” These claims were made in an article which appeared on the 650 CKOM website on May 15, 2020.

Troy Winters, CUPE’s Health and Safety Senior Officer, says that by making these claims Ms. Johnson demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of how the law works. In fact, when an employee believes their workplace or the task they’ve been asked to perform is unusually dangerous they then have the right to refuse. “Every situation is unique, and a blanket statement about what is dangerous, is in itself very dangerous,”

“When our members hear these statements made by someone in a position as the Deputy Minister of Labour, they believe them. When they believe them, they become more likely to walk into dangerous situations. By making these claims Ms. Johnson is endangering the safety and possibly the lives of all workers in this province,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430.

The Saskatchewan Employment Act is clear. It says that a worker has the right to refuse work “…if the worker has reasonable grounds to believe that the act or series of acts is unusually dangerous to the worker’s health or safety…”

“The Deputy Minister does not have the right to pre-declare that a workplace is safe,” added Winters. The right to refuse is just the start of a process that allows workers to step back from a situation that could lead them to injury or illness if their health and safety complaints have not been addressed before they are required to do a job.”

Seitz says that while the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority have repeatedly told the unions there is no shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) the stories the local is hearing from its members is quite different.

Seitz says that members have told the local they get four surgical masks per day and they have to make them last which does not always allow for safe practices and may lead to dangerous situations. Whether it’s because of a misunderstanding on the part of

the managers or because of PPE conservation practices doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that it poses dangers which the worker must have some control over.

“COVID-19 is deadly. To make a blanket statement saying it doesn’t present an unusual danger is irresponsible. The Deputy Minister should be more concerned about making sure all the workers in the province have proper PPE and that all employers are properly training their employees how to use them. This is not the time to deny rights to the workers of this province,” added Seitz.


For more information, please contact:
Tria Donaldson, CUPE communications representative at 306.531.6247.


About CUPE Local 5430

CUPE Local 5430 is the largest health care union in Saskatchewan, representing over 13,600 members. We represent a wide range of health care providers in five major classification areas: clerical, technical, nursing, support and plant operations. Together, we each contribute to the well-being of hospital patients, long-term care residents and home care clients.

Read more