NDP says gov’t has broken its promises on hiring more continuing care aides

The Saskatchewan NDP continued its press on the Saskatchewan Party government regarding what they say is a broken promise to hire 300 new care aides in the province.

Seniors Critic Matt Love said on Thursday, following question period at the Saskatchewan legislature, that it’s frustrating to see the government is patting itself on the back for fulfilling all of their campaign promises from the fall election when they have not.

“The Sask. Party platform shows an investment in 300 continuing care aides at $18.4 million this year and every year after it,” started Love. “Now this is a promise they made over and over again in the campaign to win voters and convince people they are willing to staff up, but they are breaking that promise now.”

The 2021-2022 provincial budget shows the government is hiring the first 108 care aides this year at about $6 million, with the remaining positions being filled in future budget years.

NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat said the government’s broken promise stems from recruitment and retention issues.

“It raises a lot of serious concerns about the approach to hiring and it highlights the fact that we need to bring folks in to figure out how to improve recruiting and retention, both significant challenges within health care,” she stated.

She also noted how there’s over 1,150 health care positions currently sitting vacant in the province.

Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said there’s a demand for health care workers across the board during the pandemic, which is a challenge in itself. However he assured the public that the government will accomplish their election promise.

“It’s not something that can happen overnight. The positions have to be posted, and they have to be trained, which can pose some challenges,” explained Hindley.

“We think the 108 is where we need to go this year, but if we are able to do more than that, then we will definitely try to do that.”

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