Saskatchewan health regions misleading public on under-staffing

Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan calls for public disclosure of health region spending in light of misleading information being released to citizens.

Saskatoon (15 Oct. 2014) – Saskatoon Health Region is the latest region to be caught trying to mislead the public about its understaffing of specialized health care professionals and to hide the impact this is having on needed health care services, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS/CHPS) President Karen Wasylenko said.

Falsely claimed no vacancies for speech language pathologists

“In a Market Supplement Report filed earlier this year, Saskatoon Health Region claimed it had no vacancies among its Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). This claim was clearly false, since throughout much of the past year there has been a 46% vacancy rate among Speech Language Pathologists in the region’s Alvin Buckwold Child Development Program (ABCDP).

"Clearly, health regions cannot be trusted to provide accurate staffing and service information to the public and their specialized health care staff,” Wasylenko charged.

Covering up lack of health care services available to children and families

“This misleading staffing information covers up the lack of needed health care services available to children and their families. For example, there are currently 113 preschool children waiting for assessments for treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the Alvin Buckwold Child Development Program, with the wait times for those assessments running from twelve to eighteen months. Following the assessment, the wait times for actual treatment run an additional four to six months. Due to understaffing, treatment consists of only one session per week for ten weeks, then the child is dropped to the bottom of the wait list once again, where they sit for months before being able to resume their treatment,” Wasylenko noted.

“Research has shown this is a totally inadequate level of treatment for young children with autism, but the health regions have done nothing to increase staffing or improve treatment levels,” Wasylenko said.

Union calling for full public disclosure rules

“This is just one more reason why Health Sciences continues to push for full public disclosure from Saskatchewan health regions about how they are spending our health care dollars. All health regions should be required to make public their full staffing levels for each health care profession; to report on what level of health care service they expect this staffing to deliver; and to report publicly on the wait times for patients or clients receiving each health care service," said Wasylenko.

"At the bargaining table, health regions have said they don’t think this kind of information is any of the public’s business! That is rubbish. The public has a right to know how its health care dollars are being spent, and to pass judgement on the inefficient, short-term thinking that the health regions employ these days,” Wasylenko concluded.

Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan represents more than thirty-six hundred specialized health care professionals from more than thirty health care professions. Health Sciences members include: Emergency care workers like Paramedics; acute care workers like Hospital Pharmacists, Perfusionists, and Respiratory Therapists; rehab professionals like Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists; and community-based professionals like Public Health Inspectors, Psychologists and Social Workers.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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