CCPA: Saskatchewan government seems doomed to repeat the P3 mistakes of other provinces

As the Saskatchewan government embarks on a major public-private-partnership (P3) school build, it regularly assures the public that it has learned from the P3 mistakes of other jurisdictions. Despite these assurances, the recent Saskatchewan Auditor-General report and the hiring of Partnerships BC as a P3 advisor to the government demonstrates that rather than learning from the P3 mistakes of the past, the government seems poised to repeat them.

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CUPE calls for more transparency around P3 schools

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – With the announcement of a selected contractor team to build nine joint-use schools as a public-private partnership (P3), CUPE is calling for greater transparency surrounding the costly P3 process.

“We have significant concerns about accountability and transparency when it comes to P3s and other forms of privatization,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The government has said they will not share the contracts and the full price tag of P3 schools with the public until negotiations are complete, but the public deserves to know the costs upfront.”

Earlier this month, the calculations used by SaskBuilds to justify proceeding with P3s came under fire from the provincial auditor. Furthermore, briefing notes obtained through Access to Information requests revealed that the Ministry of Education previously determined: “P3s are an expensive public procurement approach because they involve higher interest rates, a more expensive bidding process, third party advisors and a profit margin”.

“Across the country, we have seen many examples of the problems associated with P3s,” said Graham. “Nova Scotia’s provincial auditor found that its 39 P3 schools cost $32 million more than if they had been built publicly. In Alberta, the Calgary School Board opted out of the P3 process because the conventional way would be built faster.”

CUPE is calling on the government to demonstrate transparency and accountability by disclosing all contracts and costs related to public-private partnerships.


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Pride in our union and communities

PRIDE 2014Pride festivities across Canada and around the world held annually in June offer an opportunity to celebrate diversity, to promote inclusiveness and to highlight the human rights issues that affect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, and Intersex (LGBTTI) members of our union and our communities.

In the workplace and in our communities, unions are at the forefront in protecting LGBTTI workers from discrimination and harassment, and supporting human rights, dignity and equality for all workers.

As Saskatchewan’s community union, CUPE proudly celebrates Pride and the role unions play in making our country a more fair and inclusive place for everyone.

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Reliance on out-of-province consultant points to more problems with P3 privatization push

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

REGINA – CUPE applauds the Provincial Auditor’s report for highlighting concerns about SaskBuilds’ use of unsubstantiated numbers, but is raising red flags about their reliance on an out-of-province consultant with a biased approach to P3s.

“If the government claims Saskatchewan is going to have a different approach to costly P3s, then why is it adopting faulty advice from a BC crown corporation criticized by its own government?,” questioned Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan.

SaskBuilds is spending $5.6 million for advice from Partnerships BC, which has faced tough criticism from British Columbia’s Ministry of Finance for being biased in favour of P3s. Partnerships BC, established in 2002 to advise the government of British Columbia, receives all of its revenue from consulting fees. SaskBuilds has a comprehensive contract with Partnerships BC to develop four P3s: the Swift Current long term care centre, the North Battleford Integrated Hospital and Correctional Project, nine joint-use schools, and the Regina Bypass Project.

“We are beginning to see that the provincial government, through SaskBuilds, is exaggerating the costs of public sector procurement so it can push its expensive P3 model,” said Graham. “The track record of costly P3 mistakes across Canada should be enough evidence to show that P3 privatization is the worst way to finance the building of new infrastructure.”

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Graham: User-pay MRIs bad policy

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

“Passing more costs to patients and draining the public health care system of resources and professionals is not about innovation or choice; it is the return to the days before Medicare,” wrote Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, in a letter to the editor challenging the provincial government’s introduction of two-tier health care with user-pay MRI scan legislation.

Graham noted other jurisdictions that have experimented with private pay-per-use scans witnessed an overall increase in wait times, while investment in the public health care system has reduced Saskatchewan’s wait times.

“This [user-pay MRIs] is completely contrary to the founding principle of Medicare that need, not one’s ability to pay, should determine access to care.”

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The Black Box of Numbers: Voting Blind in the P3 Referendum in Regina – June 1, 2015 Town Hall

water watch June 1 2015 Town HallJoin Dr. Morina Rennie and Dr. Bill Bonner for a presentation about how key data on the costs of the Regina Waste Water Treatment Plant public private partnership (P3) have never been disclosed.

Rennie and Bonner are professors from the University of Regina School of Business who have studied the publicly released documents on Regina’s first P3. They will discuss what was said, what we know and what we don’t know about the P3 costs.

Town Hall
June 1, 2015
7:00 p.m.
The Artesian (2627 13th Ave, REGINA)

Event hosted by: Regina Water Watch

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User-pay MRI legislation will reduce access and only increase wait lists

Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan_background_WEB

Tom Graham, President, CUPE Saskatchewan

The introduction of user-pay MRI scan legislation by the Government of Saskatchewan is the beginning of two-tier health care, says CUPE.

“Allowing those able to pay for private MRI scans to get access to health care more quickly – regardless of need – is the introduction of two-tier health care,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “While those with large wallets can get MRIs quickly, the rest of us will have to wait.”

Graham pointed to provinces that have experimented with the pay-per-use model where studies have shown an increase in overall wait times. In Alberta, the private pay-per-use model resulted in a contravention of the Canada Health Act and the province was forced to repay patients for medically necessary MRI scans.

The union has further concerns with private MRI operators poaching health care professionals from the public system which already experiences staff shortages from private clinics.

“Legislation that allows people to jump the queue and causes the poaching of health care professionals from the public system will lead to reduced access to health care and longer wait lists,” said Graham. “Passing off more costs to patients and draining the public health care system is not innovative, it’s privatization.”

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Go vote for the change you want: Public forum on the state of our democracy May 13, 2015

GoVote-poster-Saskatoon-11x17 (1)_001It’s been nine years of job losses, health care privatization, falling wages, and environmental neglect. It’s time for change. Join a compelling line-up of speakers to learn how you can inspire democratic participation in your community.

Together, we can choose a government that creates good jobs, invests in public health care, addresses climate change, and so much more.

Go vote for the change you want: Public forum on the state of our democracy

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Roxy Theatre
320 20th St W

Click here for a free event ticket.

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Time for Change Tour – Regina and Saskatoon May 19, 2015

Time for Change Tour CLC

Time for Change Tour, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

By working together, we can elect a new federal government that puts jobs, health care, child care and seniors first.

Join us for a time for change event in your community to see how you can get involved. These short and fun events will be a great opportunity to meet fellow labour activists in your community and pick up materials to help reach out to members in your workplace.


Saskatoon – May 19, 2015

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Delta Bessborough
Battleford Ballroom
601 Spadina Crescent

Click here to RSVP.

Regina – May 19, 2015

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Ramada Plaza
Canadian Ballroom
1818 Victoria Avenue

Click here to RSVP.

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April 28, 2015: Day of mourning for workers killed or injured on the job

Day of Mourning

Attend a ceremony on April 28, 2015 in your community.

Unions around the world mark the International Day of Mourning on April 28 to honour workers who tragically lost their lives while at work and recognize those who endured an injury or acquired an illness as a result of their work. We remember those we have lost, and renew our resolve to defend and improve workplace safety standards.

Among the over 35,000 workplace injury claims reported in 2014, 39 people died from workplace injury and disease in Saskatchewan last year according to statistics released by the Workers’ Compensation Board, which does not include agricultural related deaths that occurred in the province.

Attend a ceremony in your community on Tuesday, April 28, 2015:

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