CUPE Saskatchewan joins with the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour in warning attempts to trade away workplace safety laws through the New West Partnership will not be without a fight.
On December 1, 2014, select corporate special interests and government officials from Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia began closed-door meetings to discuss “health and safety regulations that act as impediments to trade,” according to government documents, as part of the negotiations surrounding the New West Partnership.
“Governments should be focused on protecting people, not the profits of a few,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “CUPE Saskatchewan joins with the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour in cautioning the provincial government to prepare for a fight if they begin to erode our workplace safety laws under the guise of supposed impediments to trade.”
With 35 workplace deaths last year, not including agricultural fatalities, and an injury rate that is second-worst in the country, now is no time to contemplate reducing workplace safety laws in Saskatchewan, added Graham.
Signed in April 2010, the New West Partnership is a controversial far-reaching trade, investment and labour mobility deal among the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia which locks Saskatchewan into a policy framework that favours de-regulation and privatization.
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